The Denver personal injury lawyers at Bowman & Chamberlain, LLC, have long been supporters of cyclists throughout the city. In an effort to promote bike safety, we have consistently drafted blogs regarding Denver bike laws. As the weather continues to improve, we return to the cause. While riding a bike this summer, remember to follow these important rules on the road.
Last year, we authored many blogs related to the legal concepts of bicycle safety, from riding high or under the influence of alcohol to mandatory bike helmet laws in Colorado. In discussing Colorado law and promoting bike safety throughout 2014, we received very positive feedback as well as a lot of specific questions from readers. This year, our attorneys teamed up with the Denver Cruiser Ride for another season to help further educate both motorists and cyclists on the Rules of the Road. Accordingly, we will be publishing even more informational blogs and a handful of amazing videos. We would like to start by providing a short primer geared towards bike safety.
Observe the Rules of the Road
Automobile v. bike collisions can be very serious, often resulting in very serious physical injuries. Unfortunately, cyclists have little to protect them from the force of an impact. The results can be catastrophic or even fatal. Despite efforts by the local government and various non-profit organizations, bike accidents continue to occur.
The most important rule to remember while cycling is to observe all traffic laws. Traffic laws are a common set of rules that apply to those who use roads. When cyclists ride in a manner predictable to others, their chances of being involved in a crash are greatly reduced. In addition, riding in observation of the traffic laws will protect their legal rights in case they are involved in a collision. Riding in violation of the traffic laws usually constitutes negligence if it contributes to a crash.
Keep a Proper Lookout
All motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians have a duty to maintain a proper lookout for their safety and the safety of others. Proper lookout means more than merely spotting an object.In addition to being cognizant of your own movements, it is also important to be watchful of movements of things seen or seeable. Cyclists do not have a legal duty to anticipate a motorist’s illegal maneuvers but they are required to be cognizant of their surroundings. Understanding their environment can help them respond to potential hazards before they turn into collisions.
It is relatively easy to maintain a lookout to the front and sides of the bicycle because this view is unrestricted. The same cannot be said about the rear, yet it is important to keep a lookout to the rear because cyclists generally will be overtaken, often at a high rate of speed, by motor vehicles. Cyclists should employ both sight and sound to become aware of traffic to the rear. While it can be easy to hear a motor or the tires of an overtaking vehicle, newer vehicles are almost inaudible. Thus, cyclists should turn around to look or use a mirror while riding. Mirrors are not required by Colorado law. However, technology has made the use of mirrors relatively easy, mountable on handlebars or even clipped to helmets or glasses.
Vehicles are 20 times the size of bikes and 1,000 times heavier. That being the case, motorists oftentimes do not see cyclists when on the road. When riding at night or in other low light conditions, such as fog or heavy rain, the law requires cyclists to equip their bike with lights and reflectors. Failure to do so could be used as evidence of negligence. Keep in mind, however, cyclists are not legally required to ride with lights on during the day. Doing so, however, could increase the chance of being seen.
In addition, brightly-colored clothing, particularly fluorescent colors, increases the distance at which drivers first perceive a cyclist. Even if a bicycle is equipped with necessary lighting, it is always a great idea for cyclists to increase the possibility a motorist will spot them.
Do not Drink and Ride
Cyclists should control their consumption of alcohol when riding. Alcohol impairs vision, judgment, muscle coordination, and other critical skills necessary to engage in any complex activity. In fact, research has sown that approximately 25% of bike deaths have involved an intoxicated rider. If a cyclist has had too much to drive, they should consider skipping the ride home. Cycling fatalities related to alcohol are common.
Consult a Denver Bike Safety Attorney
We are looking forward to another amazing year of safe cycling in and around Denver. Unfortunately, however, collisions are going to happen. It is important to remember the rules of the road when operating a bicycle. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident, contact the Denver bike accident lawyers at Bowman & Chamberlain, LLC, to learn your legal rights following a collision.
For more information, contact our Denver bike accident attorneys by calling us at 720.863.6904 or feel free to email us to schedule your free consultation. Our lawyers handle a wide range of cases, including Car Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Bike Accidents, Motorcycle Collisions, Pedestrian Accidents, Slip and Fall Accidents, Dog Bite Accidents, and any other form of personal injury in Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Commerce City, Lakewood, Littleton, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, and other parts of metropolitan Denver, Colorado.