Colorado motorists, cyclists must do their part to avoid an accident

Motorists should be aware that cyclists have a right to the road and are expected to obey traffic laws in Colorado.

So far this year, only one cyclist has passed away due to an accident with a motor vehicle. Last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation reports, there were 14 such deaths, which is an increase from 10 in 2014.

These incidents are highly preventable, especially when motorists understand that bike riders have a right to be on the road. People who cycle often should also be aware of some measures they can take to increase their safety while riding.

Share the road laws

Colorado law specifically states that anyone who is on a bicycle can enjoy the same rights as motorists. In other words, cyclists are permitted to be on the road and should be treated accordingly in that regard. Motorists should honor a cyclist's space, taking care when passing.

Just as a cyclist is permitted to be on the road, he or she must also honor the rules of the road. Bicycles should be ridden in the right lane on the right side of the road, moving onto a paved shoulder when it is possible.

Tips for motorists

Motorists should always be aware of their surroundings, especially if there are cyclists or pedestrians on or near the road. Using a rearview mirror and the side mirrors, drivers should be able to see where a cyclist is and avoid any quick movements that could harm the rider.

A motorist who is passing a cyclist should proceed with caution. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least 3 feet of space between the bike and the vehicle.

Tips for cyclists

To avoid a bicycle-vehicle collision, there are also some steps that cyclists can take. Riding with the flow of traffic is not only a good idea, it is also the law. Obeying traffic signals just as a vehicle would do can help a cyclist blend better with traffic.

Colorado law also states that cyclists should ride single file unless there is no threat of impeding traffic. Other tips include the following:

  • Using reflective lights on the front and back of the bike, especially when riding in inclement weather or at night
  • Wearing brightly colored clothing to appear more visible to vehicles
  • Wearing a helmet at all times

Unfortunately, not every incident can be avoided. Distracted drivers who are using their cellphones or otherwise taking their eyes off the road could strike and harm a cyclist. It is the duty of a motorist to prioritize safety at all times.

Anyone who has concerns about issues such as this should consult with a personal injury attorney in Colorado.