While bicycling is a great way to get from one destination to another while also getting some great exercise, it can be a dangerous activity when you have to drive on or near roadways. Far too often, drivers of cars, trucks and other vehicles fail to double-check for bicyclists or expect a bicyclist to yield to the larger vehicle. Sadly, a serious accident can happen in the blink of an eye due to a lack of attention or not understanding the laws.
As a bicyclist, you undoubtedly put safety first every time you get on your bike. You check that your equipment is in proper working order, buckle your helmet, wear highly visible clothing and always avoid distractions. It is also important to understand what the laws say about bicyclists and who has the right of way in certain scenarios.
Recent law changes
Last year, Colorado passed a new statute that changed the yielding responsibilities of drivers and bicyclist. According to the new law, vehicle drivers now have to yield to bicyclists who are in a bike lane. This new law may help reduce the number of accidents that commonly take place at intersections between vehicles and bicycles because of a turning vehicle.
Some specifics of the law include the following:
- Drivers who do not yield the right of way could face a fine of $70 and four points against their driver’s license. It is also worth noting that failure to yield could potentially cause a serious accident.
- The definition of a bike lane included in the law indicates that a bike lane continues through an intersection, even if the lines designating the lane stop on either side of the intersection.
- If a bicyclist is traveling through an intersection and a driver wishes to turn, the driver must give the bicyclist the right of way.
While this new law may seem great on paper, it is important to remember that not everyone stays updated on such important changes. As a result, some drivers may still expect a bicyclist to give their vehicle the right of way, so even though the law gives this right to bicyclists, it still pays to always remain aware of your surroundings when on your bicycle.
What if an accident occurs?
You likely do not trust drivers enough to put your safety in their hands while cycling. Even if you do try to ensure that a driver has seen you and gives you the right of way when in a bike lane, it is still possible for a driver to cause an accident that leaves you injured. In such a case, you may have strong reason to pursue a personal injury claim against a driver who did not follow the law, if applicable to your situation.