Observe Traffic Laws
All cyclists are legally required to adhere to the rules of the road. When cyclists ride in a manner that is predictable to others, the possibility of collision is greatly reduced. When cyclists are not riding in compliance with the law, negligence may fall on them. Riding in violation of the traffic laws will constitute negligence. If a cyclist's negligence contributed to an accident, it will be nearly impossible for you to be compensated.
Automobile vs. bicycle accidents can be very serious, oftentimes resulting in extensive injuries to the cyclist. In the event of a collision, the cyclist has little to no protection from the force of impact with the motor vehicle, which can result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Many people wonder how these accidents happen at all? It goes without saying that all motorists are required to be attentive to other vehicles and cyclists. Drivers must treat cyclists with the same respect as other drivers. Unfortunately, careless and negligent drivers have caused serious personal injuries to bicycle riders.
The city of Denver has grown to recognize the increase in bike traffic. Special bike lanes have been constructed throughout the downtown area. Despite all attempts at educating motorists to treat cyclists as other vehicles, bike versus car accidents continue to take place. In an effort to help reduce the likelihood of accidents taking place, we would like to share the following information cyclists should consider while riding. Taken together, it is our goal to seriously reduce accidents from taking place.
Ride with Awareness
Motorists and cyclists both share a duty to keep a proper lookout and exercise due care. Simply put, cyclists must ride with an awareness of what is happening around them. Cyclists do not have a legal duty to anticipate a motorist's illegal maneuver 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.
Automobiles are at least 20 times the size of bikes and a 1,000 times heavier. It is sometimes the case that motorists do not see cyclists on the road. In fact, "I did not see him" is the number one excuse drivers make when they collide into a cyclist. When a cyclist enhances the conspicuity, they significantly reduce the likelihood of collision with an inattentive driver.
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 negligence. Keep in mind, however, cyclists are not legally required to ride with lights on during daylight hours. That being said, doing so could also increase the chance of being seen during the day.
Understand the Intersection
Although intersections represent a relatively minor portion of a cyclist's travel route, they are where a cyclist is most at risk of getting hit by a motor vehicle or otherwise involved in an accident. As discussed herein, cyclists should maximize their visibility, understand the rules of the road, learn to recognize some of the most dangerous intersection hazards, and take safety precautions whenever approaching and riding through an intersection. Also discussed herein, it pays to learn the legal rules of liability. Cyclists who do not follow the law or do not keep a proper lookout might be deemed responsible for an accident, even if they are seriously injured.
Although cyclists are well within their legal right to ride at night, they can significantly reduce their exposure to risk of collision by restricting riding to daylight hours. If they must ride at night, they can reduce their risk by enhancing their conspicuity.
Drinking and Riding
There is nothing cyclists can do to control a driver's intake of alcohol. However, cyclists can control the times they ride, taking cue from sober drivers by avoiding the roads at times when drunk drivers are more likely to be on the road. While this does not guarantee cyclists will not encounter a drunk driver, the odds can be greatly reduced. A factor all cyclists can control is their own consumption of alcohol. If a cyclist has been drinking, skip the ride home. Cycling fatalities related to alcohol also include collisions in which the cyclist was over the limit.
In addition, brightly-colored clothing, particularly fluorescent colors, increases the distance at which drivers first perceive a cyclist from 400 feet to 2,200 feet in daylight and from 150 feet to 560 feet at night. Even if a bicycle is equipped with necessary lighting, it is always a great idea for cyclists to increase the possibility that a motorist will be able to spot them.
Reflective material also increases the driver's perception distance dramatically, from 150 feet to 2,200 feet. The increased perception distance attained through enhanced conspicuity gives drivers more time to react to the cyclist's presence on the road.
Even when a cyclist does everything possible to reduce the possibility of an incident, the undeniable fact is that accidents happen. When all else fails, a cyclist should execute an emergency maneuver. Cyclists do not have a legal duty to know emergency maneuvers but they should research as much as they can because it could save their life. Becoming familiar with the various types of emergency maneuvers and practicing them until they are second-nature could mean the difference between life and death. Consult with a top personal injury attorney in Denver today for a free consultation if you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision.
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