In Colorado, bicycle accidents are a common cause of injury. Whether you use your bicycle for transportation, exercise, or recreation, you face an increased risk of being involved in an accident each time you ride.
Because bicyclists lack the protection provided by a car or truck, severe injuries and death are ever-present dangers.
What should I do after a bicycle accident?
If you are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle while riding your bike, make safety your first priority. Seek emergency medical attention and call the police to report the incident.
If you are physically able, take photos of the scene, and collect contact information from witnesses. Collect and preserve damaged parts of your bicycle as well as the clothing you were wearing.
Do not admit fault at the scene, even if you think you contributed to the accident. Let the police investigate.
Who is responsible for my accident expenses?
Driver negligence causes many Colorado bike accidents. However, unsafe road conditions, improperly maintained roads, and poorly marked parking lots may also contribute to a crash. In some cases, bicycle equipment manufacturers or repair shops might be to blame.
Some common scenarios that lead to bicycle crashes are drivers who fail to maintain a safe distance from the rider, those who pull out of driveways or parking spaces without checking for cyclists, and those who suddenly or unexpectedly open their car doors in the path of an oncoming rider.
To establish fault and prove negligence, collecting evidence as quickly as possible can make or break your case. A Colorado bicycle accident lawyer can handle collecting evidence, taking witness statements, and investigating the relevant factors that led to your accident and injury.
How can I recover compensation for my Colorado bicycle accident injuries?
The Colorado Revised Statutes, specifically § 42-4-1412, set forth the state’s bicycle laws. These statutes provide that motorists must share the road with bicyclists and allow them the space they need to remain safe.
If you are involved in an accident despite having observed the law and taken reasonable safety precautions, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries as well as lost wages and future disability.
The statute of limitations provides two years to file a claim for damages sustained in a bicycle accident. However, the longer you wait to pursue your claim, the more evidence can be lost.
Can I recover compensation even if I contributed to the accident?
Yes. Per Colorado Statute § 13-21-111, you can recover compensation so long as your percentage of fault was less than the driver’s. However, it is important to note that your percentage of fault will decrease your potential settlement.
Consider the following: you crossed an intersection when you had the right of way. A texting driver turning right hits you as you were crossing. In most cases, that driver would be solely liable. However, if you crossed in front of him as he was turning, you might share 25 percent of the fault. This means you can only recover 75 percent of your settlement, e.g., $7,500 of $10,000.
How can I avoid an accident with a motor vehicle?
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that fatalities for bicyclists are up by more than 12 percent, the highest rate since 1995. More than 96 percent of fatalities involved the bicyclists and a single motor vehicle, most often light-duty trucks and SUVs. Contact is made most often with the front of the vehicle in fatal bike crashes.
Bicyclists have little physical protection as compared to motor vehicle drivers. Consequently, severe injury or death is more common for bicyclists. Traumatic brain injuries are involved in more than half of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles, according to The American Journal of Surgery.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) recommends that bicyclists take certain bike safety measures to protect themselves in the event of a crash, and to reduce their potential for contributing to an accident. These measures include:
- Riding with traffic
- Wearing helmets and other appropriate safety gear
- Following all applicable laws and statutes
- Using headlights, taillights, reflectors and brightly colored clothing
- Riding in marked bike lanes (if available) and avoid sidewalks
- Not wearing headphones or using a cell phone while biking
- Remain alert for moving vehicles, parked cars and other hazards
The Colorado Bicycle Safety Act, adopted in 2009, also provides a wealth of advice for staying safe on the road.
Unfortunately, even the most vigilant cyclists, despite adhering to the law and taking all appropriate safety measures, can be involved in a devastating accident.
Choosing a Colorado Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Selecting a Colorado attorney who specializes in bicycle accident injuries will provide the best chance of obtaining the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and cover any potential lost wages.
With more than 40 years of experience, the personal injury attorneys at Sears & Associates, P.C. in Colorado Springs will stand by your side and fight for the damages you need and deserve after a bicycle accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in Colorado Springs, Woodland Park, or anywhere in Colorado, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sears & Associates, P.C. We will help you to get back outdoors and on the bike: 719-471-1984.