What matters & what to expect
Bikes are great for transportation and exercise, and they are part of the Colorado lifestyle, but accidents end the fun. While only 30% of bicycle accidents involve a motor vehicle, these often result in significantly more serious injuries. Bicycle fatalities represent just over two percent of all traffic fatalities, and yet bicycle trips account for only one percent of all trips in the United States. And in May 2013, The Denver Post reported that bicyclist deaths have increased by 44%.
Bike-car accidents tend to result in significantly more serious injuries than accidents involving two vehicles. Along with pedestrians, bicyclists are categorized by safety agencies as “vulnerable road users” because, unlike motor vehicle occupants, they have no protective structure around them and are completely dwarfed by the mass of a motor vehicle.
If you’ve been injured while riding a bike on a trail or in open space, read about off-road and recreational accidents. But if your bicycle accident was caused by the driver of a motor vehicle, then there is a basis for a claim for the injuries suffered. If you’ve been affected by a bicycle accident, you’re thinking about what happened and why, how you will pay for medical expenses and loss of income, and whether you may have a potentially successful case.
The attorneys of Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker have handled all types of bicycle accident cases, where broken bones and internal or fatal injuries resulted. We know that deep experience, insight, and compassion are required. As the victim you are likely facing many months of painful physical and emotional recovery; or as the bereaved family, your suffering is already unimaginable. We’d like to be the experienced legal ally on your side, letting you focus on what matters most, starting now.
What makes a bike accident case unique?
Colorado has a statute outlining the legal responsibilities of bicyclists when on public roadways. The relevant portions of the statute are set out below. Under the statute, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. This means that bicyclists must stop at red lights and stop signs, and must obey all other rules of the road. Hand signals must be used, bicyclists must ride single file on the right side, as far to the right as is safely practicable. The statute was amended in 2005, and the pertinent parts provide:
§ 42-4-1412. Operation of bicycles and other human-powered vehicles
(1) Every person riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this article, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Said riders shall comply with the rules set forth in this section and section 42-4-221, and, when using streets and highways within incorporated cities and towns, shall be subject to local ordinances regulating the operation of bicycles as provided in section 42-4-111.
(5) (a) ANY PERSON OPERATING A BICYCLE UPON A ROADWAY AT LESS THAN THE NORMAL SPEED OF TRAFFIC SHALL RIDE IN THE RIGHT-HAND LANE, SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
(I) IF THE RIGHT-HAND LANE THEN AVAILABLE FOR TRAFFIC IS WIDE ENOUGH TO BE SAFELY SHARED WITH OVERTAKING VEHICLES, A BICYCLIST SHALL RIDE FAR ENOUGH TO THE RIGHT AS JUDGED SAFE BY THE BICYCLIST TO FACILITATE THE MOVEMENT OF SUCH OVERTAKING VEHICLES UNLESS OTHER CONDITIONS MAKE IT UNSAFE TO DO SO.
(II) A BICYCLIST MAY USE A LANE OTHER THAN THE RIGHT-HAND LANE WHEN:
(A) PREPARING FOR A LEFT TURN AT AN INTERSECTION OR INTO A PRIVATE ROADWAY OR DRIVEWAY;
(B) OVERTAKING A SLOWER VEHICLE; OR
(C) TAKING REASONABLY NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO AVOID HAZARDS OR ROAD CONDITIONS.
(III) UPON APPROACHING AN INTERSECTION WHERE RIGHT TURNS ARE PERMITTED AND THERE IS A DEDICATED RIGHT-TURN LANE, A BICYCLIST MAY RIDE ON THE LEFT-HAND PORTION OF THE DEDICATED RIGHT-TURN LANE EVEN IF THE BICYCLIST DOES NOT INTEND TO TURN RIGHT.
(b) A BICYCLIST SHALL NOT BE EXPECTED OR REQUIRED TO:
(I) RIDE OVER OR THROUGH HAZARDS AT THE EDGE OF A ROADWAY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO FIXED OR MOVING OBJECTS, PARKED OR MOVING VEHICLES, BICYCLES, PEDESTRIANS, ANIMALS, SURFACE HAZARDS, OR NARROW LANES; OR
(II) RIDE WITHOUT A REASONABLE SAFETY MARGIN ON THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE ROADWAY.
(c) A PERSON OPERATING A BICYCLE UPON A ONE-WAY ROADWAY WITH TWO OR MORE MARKED TRAFFIC LANES MAY RIDE AS NEAR TO THE LEFT-HAND CURB OR EDGE OF SUCH ROADWAY AS JUDGED SAFE BY THE BICYCLIST, SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
(I) IF THE LEFT-HAND LANE THEN AVAILABLE FOR TRAFFIC IS WIDE ENOUGH TO BE SAFELY SHARED WITH OVERTAKING VEHICLES, A BICYCLIST SHALL RIDE FAR ENOUGH TO THE LEFT AS JUDGED SAFE BY THE BICYCLIST TO FACILITATE THE MOVEMENT OF SUCH OVERTAKING VEHICLES UNLESS OTHER CONDITIONS MAKE IT UNSAFE TO DO SO.
(II) A BICYCLIST SHALL NOT BE EXPECTED OR REQUIRED TO:
(A) RIDE OVER OR THROUGH HAZARDS AT THE EDGE OF A ROADWAY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO FIXED OR MOVING OBJECTS, PARKED OR MOVING VEHICLES, BICYCLES, PEDESTRIANS, ANIMALS, SURFACE HAZARDS, OR NARROW LANES; OR
(B) RIDE WITHOUT A REASONABLE SAFETY MARGIN ON THE LEFT-HAND SIDE OF THE ROADWAY.
(6) (a) PERSONS RIDING BICYCLES UPON A ROADWAY SHALL NOT RIDE MORE THAN TWO ABREAST EXCEPT ON PATHS OR PARTS OF ROADWAYS SET ASIDE FOR THE EXCLUSIVE USE OF BICYCLES.
(b) PERSONS RIDING BICYCLES TWO ABREAST SHALL NOT IMPEDE THE NORMAL AND REASONABLE MOVEMENT OF TRAFFIC AND, ON A LANED ROADWAY, SHALL RIDE WITHIN A SINGLE LANE.
What to expect from a bicycle accident lawsuit?
Successful claims for a bicycle accidents usually involve serious damages. Medical expenses for internal injuries and broken bones can easily run into six-figures. The nature of the injuries suffered in many bicycle accidents often means expensive treatment and rehabilitation are needed over a long-term period. These medical expenses are often coupled with a loss of income if the victim was previously employed. The injured victim may seek compensation from the negligent party for all of these expenses. Read more about Damages.
Investigation and research is the starting point for a successful bicycle-car accident claim. Close review of the accident scene will help identify the primary factors contributing to the accident. We have working relationships with well-qualified engineers and traffic accident reconstruction experts whom we retain as is necessary for our clients.
We also have extensive knowledge of insurance coverage which may be available from the at-fault motorist. for an overview of insurance for car accident victims, including bicyclists hit by a car, see Insurance Coverage.
Accidents happen. What’s next?
Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker can help. Let’s talk one-on-one about your case. We’ll answer your questions during a free, no-obligation consultation with a lawyer. Call 303.861.1042 today.
How we helped a client win a Bike Accident Case
Illegal Left Turn into Cyclist
Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC was able to overcome the popular presumption that bicyclists are usually at fault for collisions, prove up the lost income...