Bicycle road safety is crucial for both cyclists and drivers to understand to make the road safer for them both. Unfortunately, many cyclists feel as though their right to the road and their safety are overlooked by drivers and policymakers. These concerns are warranted, and data shows it’s become more dangerous for cyclists in Colorado in recent years.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), just 10 cyclists were killed in 2009, and that number more than doubled to 22 in 2018. That is a scary increase of 120% over 9 years. This has made road safety for cyclists a noticeably big issue for the state that policymakers have been looking for different ways to solve.
Considering cars have become so much more technologically advanced, and many now have features that can watch a driver’s blind spots for them and alert them to a potential collision or when they’re drifting outside of their lane, the statistic might be a little confusing at first. The increased safety features should mean fewer accidents and benefit bicycle road safety, right? It’s theorized that these new technologies are making drivers more complacent and actually pay less attention to the road.
But whatever the reason for the increase in cyclist deaths, there should be no confusion or debate surrounding the importance of road safety for cyclists.
The increasing number of cyclist deaths and accidents has made the government turn its attention toward bicycle road safety, with Colorado state governor Jared Polis recently signing a new bill on road safety into law. The bill, SB19-175, increases the penalties for motorists that injure cyclists, pedestrians, and others. Causing serious bodily injury to a “vulnerable road user” like a cyclist as the result of careless driving is now a class 1 traffic misdemeanor. This is a big victory for improving road safety for cyclists. As a class 1 misdemeanor, penalties can include fines ranging from $500-$5,000, between six to 24 months in prison, restitution, a one-year license suspension, a driver improvement course, and up to 320 hours of useful community service.
This law is helping cyclists become more visible and should influence drivers to pay more attention to their surroundings while driving, generally improving road safety for cyclists. But this bill isn’t the only thing the state has done to keep cyclists safe. Another recent law that was just signed by Governor Polis related to bicycle road safety, coined as the “Colorado Safety Stop,” has given cyclists safer legal options for how to proceed through an intersection. When an intersection is clear, and if a bicyclist over the age of 15 has the right of way, the law permits them to treat stop signs as yields and stop lights as stop signs. The cycling community considers this a huge victory in their efforts to improve bicycle road safety in the state because it helps prevent crashes between cyclists and motorists where they happen the most – at intersections.
Contact Whalen Injury Lawyers
Have you been injured in an accident with a car while biking in Colorado? If so, you should contact an experienced personal injury law firm like Whalen Injury Lawyers right away. We can help you navigate the complications of insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits if you wish to pursue financial recovery so hopefully, you get a bike hit by car settlement that more than makes up for your experience. Contact us today!