Colorado bicycle riders face a significant risk of sustaining serious injuries on the road. Motorists often do not see riders, due to distracted driving, failure to observe the distance between the vehicle and the bicycle closely, or impairment.
Colorado is more protective of its bike riders than many other states and adopted the Colorado Bicycle Safety Act (CBSA) to improve bicyclists’ interactions with motor vehicles. Even still, accidents happen all too often. In fact, bicycle accidents have increased each year since 2013, reports the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
What are the different types of bicycle accidents in Colorado?
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that bicycle-motor vehicle accidents fall into three basic categories:
- Crossing-path events
- Parallel-path events
- Special circumstances
What are the most common crossing-path bicycle accidents?
Crossing-path accidents occur when the cyclist and motorist are traveling at a 90-degree angle to one another. These crashes occur at intersections or mid-block.
Crossing-path accidents can include:
Mid-Block Drive Out or Back Out
In this type of bike accident, a motorist pulls or backs out of a parking lot, alley, or driveway. The car may pull out suddenly into the path of the cyclist, who strikes the side of the vehicle. Alternatively, the driver might pull out into traffic as the cyclist is passing.
In this example, the driver is typically looking to her left for oncoming traffic and fails to see the rider. In other cases, distracted drivers fail to look both ways for cars, pedestrians, or cyclists.
Drive Out or Drive Through at Intersection
This type of accident occurs when a motorist fails to yield the right-of-way to the bicycle rider. The motorist may fail to slow down when nearing an intersection; fail to notice or heed a traffic control sign (e.g., stop sign, stop light); or fail to notice an oncoming rider.
What are the most common parallel-path bicycle crashes?
Parallel-path crashes occur when a motorist and cyclist travel along parallel paths, either going in the same or opposite directions. These crashes can occur anywhere on the roadway.
Here are some of the most common types of parallel-path accidents.
Motorist Overtaking Bike Rider
This type of bicycle crash occurs when a motorist overtakes a rider traveling in the same direction. If the driver fails to detect the rider or observe the three-foot separation required by the CBSA, the driver might hit the cyclist or cause the cyclist to hit another the vehicle or stationary object, such as a parked car or telephone pole.
Motorist Turning Left in Front of Cyclist
These accidents occur when the motorist and bike rider travel in opposite directions. The driver may fail to see the cyclist, misjudge the time required to complete a left turn, or fail to yield right-of-way and strike the rider.
Motorist Turning Right into Cyclist
This type of bike accident occurs when both motorist and rider are traveling in the same direction. The driver may fail to see the rider to the right and turn either into or directly in front of the cyclist. In other cases, the motorist sees the cyclist but refuses to yield right-of-way and turns into the cyclist’s path.
What are the most common special circumstance bike accidents?
“Special circumstance” bike collisions are generally limited to a few types of accidents. However, this classification may involve any collision not otherwise classified in the previous two categories.
Bicycle Crash into Car Door
This type of accident is one of the most common ways that cyclists sustain serious injuries on the road. In these cases, a distracted or careless motorist fails to notice an oncoming rider and flings the car door open suddenly, causing the rider to crash into the open door.
Other special circumstances events include cargo falling from a moving vehicle and striking the rider and a motorist intentionally pursuing and striking a bicyclist with their vehicle.
Can a Colorado bicycle accident attorney help you obtain compensation?
Regardless of the type of bicycle accident you are involved in, if another party caused or contributed to your accident, you are entitled to compensation. A bicycle accident lawyer can help you understand your rights under the law. After evaluating the details of your case, your Colorado bicycle accident attorney can assist you in pursuing legal action to obtain compensation for your injuries.
Sears & Associates, P.C., offers free consultations and case reviews for victims of bicycle collisions. And remember, we work on a contingency fee basis which means no upfront costs for you. This will allow you to focus on your recovery, rather than how you will pay for our services.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a Colorado bicycle accident attorney: 719-471-1984.