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Written by: J. Todd Tenge

Who Has the Right of Way – Bicycle or Car?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Whether you are driving a car or riding a bicycle, you must follow the rules of the road.

Understandably, one of the most common questions is, Do bicyclists have the right of way?

Motorists and bicyclists have the same responsibilities and rights when using the road in most situations.

Who has the right of way in a car and bike accident will depend on the circumstances.

If you sustained injuries in a bicycle accident due to another party’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a claim for compensation.

However, pursuing a bicycle accident claim can be complicated. It’s best if you contact a top Colorado bicycle accident lawyer.

Understanding Colorado Bicycle Laws

Everyone should familiarize themselves with Colorado bicycle laws. That way, you know how liability works and what happens when an accident occurs.

Examples of some general bicycle laws include:

  • Bicyclists can’t “catch a ride” by hitching their bicycle to a vehicle.
  • Bicyclists are not allowed to ride a bike with more people than it was designed to hold.
  • Riders must use hand signals to indicate when they are stopping, turning, and slowing.
  • Bicyclists must mount a red taillight and white headlight or rear reflectors visible from 600 feet for cycling after dark.
  • Bicyclists have to keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
  • Bicyclists must ride as far to the right of the right-hand lane as possible unless they’re passing another vehicle, turning left, or avoiding a hazard.

Colorado law doesn’t require bicyclists to wear a helmet, but they are strongly encouraged to use helmets, biking gloves, and glasses.

Do Bicycles Have the Right of Way in a Crosswalk?

Bicycles should not travel in a crosswalk or along a sidewalk when the use of bicycles is prohibited by local ordinances or official traffic control devices.

If a bike is not forbidden to be in a crosswalk, it must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

Should a bicycle try to pass a pedestrian, the rider must signal before overtaking and passing the pedestrian.

Car vs. Bike Accident Statistics

do bicyclists have right of way

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation statistics, Colorado saw over 13,000 bicycle crashes between 2010 and 2019.

The statistics indicate the bicycle rider was not at fault in 8,052 collisions.

Of the collisions where the driver was at fault, 4,425 crashes occurred at an intersection or were intersection-related.

Bicyclists died in 32 of these crashes.

What Happens If a Bike Hits My Car?

Sometimes an inattentive cyclist causes an accident by running into your vehicle. Determining fault in this kind of situation is important, especially if the cyclist is injured.

Cyclists must follow the rules, so it is possible for them to be negligent in their cycling behaviors (e.g., not riding in a designated lane, not stopping at a stop sign or traffic light, riding on the wrong side of the road, etc.).

So if a bicyclist violates a traffic law and causes an accident, that cyclist certainly can be held liable for the damage that results.

As with any accident, be sure to call the police so that you can get your version of the event into the police report, get the names of the parties involved and witnesses, document what happened (including any injuries), and take pictures if you can.

In these situations, it’s crucial to seek the help of a Colorado accident attorney who can advise you on how to proceed and represent you in legal proceedings—especially if the bicyclist claims that you were the one at fault.

Remember that cyclists probably will not have insurance, so it is likely that they will try to seek compensation from you and your insurance company—all the more reason to seek the help of an accident lawyer. 

Contact a Colorado Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Determining who has the right of way in an accident can be complicated. Prospective clients often contact us and ask what they should do because a “car hit my bike.”

At Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we understand how best to pursue a personal injury claim in Colorado.

Our attorneys have years of experience assisting injured victims just like you.

We specialize in auto accident claims, including those involving bicycles. If you believe a motorist caused your injuries, let Tenge Law Firm assist you.

Contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.

We will review your case, advise you who had the right of way, and tell you how best to proceed.

Unlike some other personal injury law firms, we don’t take thousands of cases at a time.

Tenge Law Firm is a boutique firm and will give you the personalized attention you desire.

Let us help you fight for the maximum compensation possible in your case.  

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