Bicycling is good exercise, economical, eco-friendly, and an excellent way to travel through Denver. However, cyclists lack the basics protection of an enclosed vehicle and face added risks when riding in traffic. If you are a cyclist, the following tips can help keep you safe while riding in Denver and protect our right to pursue a personal injury claim after an accident.
Safe Riding Tips for Cyclists
Like any major city, biking either leisurely or to work comes with the added risk of being involved in a serious accident. While drivers should always remain focused and look out for cyclists, there are several steps cyclists can take to protect themselves from a negligent driver, including:
- Always wearing a helmet to reduce the risk of suffering a severe head injury.
- Stay alert. Keep your head up and scan the area around you at all times.
- Use hand signals to make your intentions known to others before you change lanes, turn left, turn right, or stop.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. It increases the likelihood that they will see you.
- Perform routine maintenance and any necessary repairs on your bike to help prevent a crash caused by equipment failure. If you’re unsure if your bike is safe to ride, take it to a well-reviewed and experienced repair shop before going into heavy traffic.
- Ride only with yourself on the bike. Carrying an unsecured passenger can significantly increase your risk of injury.
- Ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road, unless you are turning left or passing.
- Use lights and reflective clothing when cycling at night so vehicle drivers can see you.
- Avoid congested roadways and peak traffic times.
- Map out your route beforehand and familiarize yourself with Denver’s more congested areas.
In addition to safe biking practices, you will also want to memorize major Colorado biking laws before heading out on the road.
Bicycle Laws in Colorado
Bikers are expected to obey all traffic laws that drivers are supposed to, in addition to several unique biking laws. If you are involved in a biking accident and you violated one of these laws, you may have difficulty recovering compensation. It will not be impossible for your attorney to advocate for compensation, but the state of Colorado’s comparative negligence laws can lead to your offer being reduced significantly if one of your actions contributed to your injuries. So, to keep yourself safe and ensure you are free of liability, you should abide by all Colorado bicycle laws.
Helmet and Cell Phone Laws
Under state law, you are not required to wear a helmet while cycling nor are you prohibited from talking on a cell phone, but most of us know that these actions can contribute to catastrophic injuries. An insurance company may also argue that the brain damage you suffered in a collision could have been avoided if you had worn a helmet or that you may have avoided an accident if you weren’t on your phone. Put the phone away, strap on your helmet, and protect your right to compensation.
Riding on the Right
When traveling below the posted speed limit, you must ride as close to the right-hand curb or right edge of the road as safely possible. If a paved shoulder is available on the right, you are permitted to ride there. But there are exceptions to the requirement to ride on the right. You are not required to do so when:
- Making a left-hand turn
- There are obstacles or unsafe road conditions in your way
- You are passing other cyclists or vehicles traveling in the same direction
- Using a one-way road with two or more lanes
Use of Hand Signals
In place of turn signals, bicyclists must use hand signals to let other cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers know their intentions. Hand signals should be used 100 feet before a turn or stop and include:
- Left-hand turns: Extend the left arm horizontally
- Right-hand turns: Extend the left hand and arm upward or extend the right arm horizontally
- Stops: Extend the hand and arm downward
If Tragedy Does Strike
Bicyclists are unprotected and vulnerable to suffering serious injuries in a collision with a motor vehicle. Even if a cyclist acted negligently, it does not mean they should be barred from pursuing compensation, especially if the driver also contributed to the accident. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by another driver’s negligent conduct, contact a Denver bicycle accident attorney at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC. We offer free consultations and can fully explain your rights under the law. Call us at (303) 502-5587 to discuss your case.