With warmer weather right around the corner, many of us will be hitting the trails and roadways by bicycle to enjoy the beautiful vistas and scenery Colorado offers, and staying safe should be a prime concern for everybody. According to the most recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, in just one year, more than 48,000 cyclists were injured and 743 were killed in crashes involving other vehicles. And Colorado sees its fair share of those accidents, with cyclist fatalities climbing 63 percent in the last ten years through 2012, nearly 30 percent above the national average for the same period.To that end, on February 17, 2016, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock officially announced Denver’s commitment to Vision Zero.With his announcement, Denver joins a growing list of U.S. cities that includes Seattle, Portland, Chicago, and New York in an international safety campaign that makes safer streets a priority, for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists. The program is guided by the principle that all traffic-related serious injuries and deaths are preventable. Area bicycle safety groups, like Bike Denver and Bicycle Colorado, are playing their part in implementing the Vision Zero program.
Both groups offer cyclists smart safety tips for avoiding injuries to themselves and others when cycling our state’s roadways and trails.
- Be courteous, share the road and obey all traffic laws, signs and signals, and always yield to pedestrians. People walking have the right of way whether they are in a crosswalk or not. Under Colorado law, people on bikes are required to yield to pedestrians.
- Go with the flow. Ride in the same direction as other vehicles by riding with traffic, not against it. Ride on the shoulder (if one exists) or on the right side of the road, unless you feel that the shoulder or the right side of the road is unsafe.
- When riding next to parked cars, allow enough space between your bike and the cars so that you do not have to make sudden moves if a car door is opened.
- You may ride two abreast when doing so does not impede the flow of traffic, but ride single file to allow vehicles to pass. When riding curving canyon roads without bike lanes or shoulders, play it safe and ride single file. And when passing others, give an audible signal of your intent to pass or ring your bell.
- Signal turns at least 100 feet in advance, unless you need both hands to brake or control your bicycle. Use proper arm signals to alert other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians in advance of turning to keep everybody aware of your movements.
- Wear a properly fitted helmet that stays in place when you move your head from side to side.
- At night, ride with a white front light and a red rear light or reflector. Wearing reflective tape or strap-on lighting on your clothing also goes a long way to protecting you from injury.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle accident, contact an experienced Colorado bicycle accident attorney who can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for emotional pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other costs.