Cycling Accident Law Firm in Colorado Springs
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Front Range region is the most hazardous location in the United States to bike, with El Paso County—home to Colorado Springs—being the most deadly of the area’s counties.
The Wall Street Journal’s writers cited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics indicating that bicycle-related deaths climbed by more than 30% between 2010 and 2016.
Colorado had a death rate for bicycle accidents that was more than 50% higher than the second most lethal state. Additionally, the Greater Colorado Springs area’s mortality rate was greater than the state average of Colorado, at 7%.
Others who have reviewed the NHTSA data have shown that the results are not nearly as scary as first stated when the most recent five years of data are included. Despite this, bike accidents, injuries, and deaths continue to grow each year in and around Colorado Springs and El Paso County.
In 2018, there were 110 bicycle accidents in El Paso County, including six deaths. Following an examination of the riskiest cycling regions in El Paso County, a discussion of potential injuries from bicycle accidents will underline the dangers for cyclists in the area.
Finally, understanding the measures you may take after a bicycle accident can help you optimize your chances of getting compensation for your injuries.
BIKE PATHS ARE DANGEROUS IN AND AROUND COLORADO SPRINGS
Residents and legislators in Colorado Springs and El Paso County have long expressed worry over bicycle accidents and deaths. El Paso County responded by enacting its Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan. The county has spent the last decade collecting and analyzing data to better grasp the issue.
County authorities observed many common characteristics of bicycle accidents in the region, including the fact that most bicycle accidents in the county occur between the ages of 15 and 24. Additionally, El Paso County identified high-crash locations where bicycle accidents occur regularly.
WHAT KINDS OF INJURIES COULD OCCUR AS A RESULT OF A BICYCLE ACCIDENT?
According to the most current statistics from the Colorado Department of Health, there were 861 emergency department visits in El Paso County in 2018 due to bicycle accidents, with 79 of those visits resulting in extended hospitalization to recover from bicycle accidents injuries.
Because cyclists’ bodies provide minimal protection, serious injuries may result when a motor vehicle collides with a biker. The following are some of the most frequent injuries sustained by cyclists in accidents:
- Bone fractures and dislocations
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, particularly in patients who were not wearing a bicycle helmet at the time of the accident;
- Neck injuries; and
- Back and spinal cord injuries, including fractured vertebrae and injuries that may result in temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Limb amputations
- Deep lacerations and various scratches and wounds from road rash if a rider is thrown off their bike
- Dislocations of joints
The Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Numerous circumstances might result in a bicycle mishap, yet hazardous bike lanes often result in few accidents. According to the El Paso County Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan, the following are the most frequent forms of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles:
CRASH WITH THE LEFT HOOK
This is the most often occurring form of a motorcycle accident in Colorado and around the United States. A left hook collision occurs when a car takes a left at a junction in front of a bike moving in the other direction.
The driver may collide with the bicycle if he or she is inattentive and fails to see the rider, or the cyclist may be unable to stop fast enough to avoid colliding with the vehicle’s passenger side.
RIGHT HOOK COLLISION
This bicycle accident occurs when driving makes a right turn and collides with a cyclist riding in the vehicle’s lane or on the shoulder next to the vehicle. These are particularly prevalent on congested city streets, where bike lanes are delineated between traffic lanes.
COLLISION AT AN INTERSECTION
When inattentive motorists make a right turn at an intersection and fail to see, the bike approaching from the other way.
LIABILITY IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENT ON A DANGEROUS BIKE PATH
Because Colorado is a no-fault insurance state, responsibility does not immediately come into play after a bike accident; but, liability does come into play when a motorist is careless and strikes you on your bike. Colorado law allows you to sue in civil court for damages over what your insurance policy pays you.
When an accident happens on a hazardous bike lane, responsibility may become more difficult. Your attorney will advise you on the appropriate course of action in light of your circumstances. Still, if the route is too unsafe, you may be able to claim damages from Colorado Springs or El Paso County, depending on who manages the bike path in the issue.
In certain instances, the local body and the motorist may be held jointly liable. The following section discusses in detail the circumstances that may empower you to sue the city or county.
EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE SAFETY OF LOCAL BIKE PATHS
The bike lanes in and around Colorado Springs are unsafe due to increased traffic, a rising number of visitors, and an increasing number of bikers. Increased bicycle deaths, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations in recent years have prompted cities and towns around Colorado to take action to make their bike pathways safer.
County authorities promised to upgrade the county’s 950 miles of bike lanes, shared-use trails, and sidewalks in the Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan. The county has invested time and money in renovating roadways to improve bike safety, including the following strategies:
LANES WITH SHARED USAGE
On the road, there are bike lanes that coexist with automobile lanes. As a final option, El Paso County authorities added shared-use lanes to roadways with speed restrictions less than 35 miles per hour.
Shared-use lanes are seldom the first choice in low-traffic residential districts. When areas have heavy traffic, shared-use lanes let vehicles see bicycles and help avoid bicycle accidents.
When bike routes join a road that lacks lane markings, motor vehicles may struggle to detect bicycles and may fail to allow enough space for them. El Paso County has striped highways with space for a bike lane to encourage accident-free roadway sharing.
On highways with striped car lanes, the lack of a bike lane creates risky circumstances for bikers. Re-striping roads to make better use of available pavement and incorporate a bike lane helps prevent right hook collisions caused by vehicles failing to detect bicycles on the shoulder of the road.
LABELS AND SIGNAGE
Bike pathways that lack signs or pavement markings may also result in an accident since automobiles have no way of knowing where bicycles should ride on a shared-use route. El Paso County continues to put signs and markers on the pavement to accommodate bicycle riders on roadways with striped shoulders.
El Paso County raised the width of shoulders on highways that lack sufficient space for a bike lane, reducing the probability of a motor vehicle collision with a bicycle-riding dangerously close to vehicle traffic.
STEPS TO TAKE FOLLOWING A BICYCLE ACCIDENT IN COLORADO SPRINGS
Even if cyclists obey all traffic laws, wear helmets, and maintain a constant concentration on the road, they may be involved in a bike accident; they have no influence over inattentive or irresponsible cars.
The majority of bicycle accidents end in harm, necessitating the assistance of a skilled attorney. After some initial things to take following a bike accident before you have the opportunity to speak with a lawyer and learn about your rights:
CONSULT A PHYSICIAN.
If you are not immediately transferred to a Colorado Springs hospital by ambulance from the accident site, you should seek medical attention immediately. Your health remains paramount, and some major injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately.
Additionally, a favorable outcome is a contingent upon the bicycle accident that resulted in your injuries if you sue. A formal medical record of your injuries precludes the defense from claiming they occurred at a different time and location.
REPORT YOUR BIKE ACCIDENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. •
Submit an incident report to the police. If law enforcement does not respond to the accident site, you must phone the police if you are physically able. If you were taken by ambulance, your attorney might subsequently get a copy of the report.
Occasionally, you will have to wait a long time for the police to arrive at the site of an accident, and even if they do, it is always advisable to collect information yourself to ensure it matches the police report. Inquire about the driver’s name and address, and make a note of the car identification number and license plate.
Take photographs of the accident site using your mobile phone, documenting any damage to your bike or vehicle, as well as anything else that may be relevant to your insurance provider or in a lawsuit. Additionally, you should photograph any obvious injuries experienced in your bike accident.
SUBMIT A CLAIM TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY.
Colorado is a fault insurance state, which means that all drivers must have medical payments (MEDPAY) coverage. MEDPAY protects you when riding a bicycle and your children if they are injured while riding a bicycle. Benefits cover around 80% of medical expenses, including ambulance bills, emergency services, hospitalization, and radiology.
Additionally, MEDPAY pays 60% of lost income if you cannot work due to your injury. If you do not have MEDPAY coverage or your policy limitations have been exhausted, you must submit a claim under the driver’s MEDPAY policy.
CONTACT A COLORADO SPRINGS BICYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
When you make an insurance claim, your insurance company, the driver’s carrier, or any other defense party may refuse your claim, minimize your injuries, or attempt to imply that you contributed to the accident.
In personal injury proceedings in Colorado, the court uses pure comparative negligence, which means that the court decreases an award depending on the amount to which a plaintiff may be at blame for their injuries.
The defense may argue that you did not observe normal traffic standards, such as not utilizing hand signals, or that you rode your bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Additionally, insurance companies may make rapid settlement offers that seem to be a good bargain in the short term but may not adequately pay you for the physical pain, mental distress, and financial burden associated with a major injury.
If you or your kid was injured in an accident on an unsafe bike route, you might be able to pursue compensation via a personal injury lawsuit. You may be able to recover medical expenses and lost earnings that your MEDPAY coverage does not cover.
In the event of a long-term handicap, you may also seek damages for future medical treatment and lost income, as well as non-economic damages such as loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and scars and disfigurement.
Warrior Injury Law’s expert legal team, has considerable experience with personal injury claims, including those involving bicycle accidents. We recognize this is a difficult moment for you and your family.
Allow a qualified attorney to handle the technicalities of your case while you concentrate on your recovery. To book a free consultation and learn more about your legal rights after a bicycle accident, call the Warrior Injury Law in Colorado Springs at 719-300-1100 or contact us online.