If you’ve been outside recently, it’s becoming clear that motorists and bicyclists are increasingly having to share the roads, and in Colorado, bikes are legally considered vehicles. Bicyclists who violate traffic laws are subject to the same penalties as motorists, with the only exception that they don’t receive penalty points on their driver’s license.
If you are a bicyclist, it’s important to never assume you have the right-of-way. Your first responsibility at all times is to avoid a crash. When approaching an uncontrolled intersection at the same time as another vehicle, the vehicle on the left must yield right-of way to the vehicle on the right.
Do not change lanes if another vehicle must slow down for you, and always look behind you and signal before changing lanes.
You must yield for pedestrians under all conditions. They will always have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections, whether they are marked or not.
Here are some bicycle safety tips for Colorado’s busy roads:
- Wear a helmet, glasses and bicycling gloves
- Wear bright colored clothing and dress appropriately for the type of riding you are doing
- Obey all traffic signs and signals
- Ride with traffic, never against it
- Ride as far to the right in the right lane as possible
- Ride on paved shoulders and bike lanes when available
- DO NOT pass on the right
- Use hand signals to indicate what you intend to do: left or right turns, slowing or stopping
- If you are riding early in the morning or late at night, use headlights, taillights and reflectors
- Avoid using cell phones or other personal devices
- Ride single file when biking with others; this provides more space to maneuver and allows other vehicles to pass.
Signals to indicate turns and stops:
For the Official Biking Laws in Colorado go to:
What to do if you are in an accident with a car or truck while on your bike:
It is always scary when bikes get into accidents with cars. If you are the one riding the bike, it is important to try to keep your wits about you. Your actions immediately following the accident may have a big impact on your claim and could affect the outcome of any lawsuits that arise from the accident.
If you get into an accident, you should:
- Wait for the police to arrive. A police report needs to be filed so everything can be documented, even if you do not think you are injured. Sometimes injuries are not realized until several hours after the accident and seemingly minor injuries may develop into serious problems.
- Do not attempt to negotiate with the driver. Often drivers will apologize or initially take blame, only later to deny their negligence.
- Get your version of events into the Accident Report. Some police officers only speak with the motorist and do not bother to talk to the cyclist. Be sure to report any injuries, no matter how minor.
- Obtain driver and witness contact information. Do not assume that the police report will include the witness information.
- Document what happened. Write everything you can remember down as soon as possible. How? Where? When? Road and weather conditions.
- Document your injuries. Even if injuries seem minor, seeking medical attention will serve as proof that you were injured and will document to what extent.
- Preserve evidence. Do not have your bike fixed or wash your clothing. Do not send anything for inspection to anyone other than an attorney.
- Seek advice from a professional. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can advise you on how to proceed, negotiate with insurance companies or represent you in a lawsuit. Do not speak with insurance companies before consulting an attorney.
-Written by Erika Nelson, Paralegal, Fisher & Associates P.C.