Colorado Springs Bicycle Accidents from Running Red Light

red light bicycle collision

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

March 3, 2023

Colorado Springs Bicycle Lawyer

Colorado is primarily recognized as a winter and snow paradise, but it is also an excellent destination for active bikers. The states covers more than 65,000 square miles and is mostly at or near sea level; It is recognized for its challenging mountains and beginner friendly hike and bike trails, making bicycle riding a simple and fun sport for many.

Cyclists seeking more demanding terrain should go inland, where gently sloping hills provide more arduous adventures. Throughout most of the state, free bicycle and pedestrian routes have been constructed and maintained, providing a safe alternative to street riding.

Where bike routes are not accessible, bicycles and automobiles often utilize the same highways, resulting in hazardous situations. Motorists are secured by seatbelts and are surrounded by steel; cyclists, on the other hand, are significantly more vulnerable to harm, with a helmet perhaps providing their only meaningful protection.

Helmets are mandatory for bicycles under the age of 16 in Colorado but are highly advised for everyone else. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bikers were responsible for 2% of all fatalities and 2% of all injuries in motor vehicle collisions in 2010. Cuts, scratches, sprains, fractured bones, stomach injuries, and traumatic brain damage were common bike injuries (TBI).

Bicyclists often think, incorrectly, that they will be held liable in the event of an accident with a motor vehicle. For example, suppose a biker is struck by a car that ran a red light and feels he is not entitled to compensation, maybe because he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Consequently, many bikers who are wounded in automobile collisions do not get enough compensation from insurance companies. While Colorado law requires the use of a helmet, “failure to wear a bicycle helmet may not be deemed proof of carelessness or contributory fault.”

The reality is that in Colorado, like in the majority of states, a biker is considered a vehicle with the same rights and obligations as a motorized vehicle driver. This implies that both bicycles and automobiles are obligated to come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs, and the one that does not violate the law.

And vice versa: motorists are obligated to give the same courtesy to bikers as they would to other vehicles. If the red light runner is distracted by a mobile phone, iPod, hot coffee, or drunk driving, bystanders and accident investigators can often tell who is at blame.

You may assist prevent accidents at junctions by familiarising yourself with the road rules, including those applicable to motor vehicles in Colorado and those applicable to bikes. Always wear bright or luminous clothes, and keep in mind that, although you have the same rights as a vehicle driver, your bike is far smaller and may be harder to spot than a car. While riding, keep an eye out for oncoming traffic and ensure that cars can see you!

Are Bicyclists Ever Held Responsible for Traffic Collisions?

Bicyclists must obey the majority of the same traffic regulations as other vehicle users, which means they may be held liable for causing a car collision.

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Bicyclists and vehicles, particularly in bigger cities, are notoriously suspicious of one another on streets and highways. Occasionally, the bicyclist-driver interaction is antagonistic, with motorists resentful of certain bikers’ disregard for traffic regulations and bicyclists resenting some motorists’ refusal to share the road.

Regardless of preconceived notions (let alone misunderstandings), both drivers and bicycles may be legally accountable for causing or contributing to a traffic collision.

Although bicycles are unique, the law remains the same.

A bicycle is unusual on the road, driving a stripped-down vehicle on his or her power, often near much bigger and quicker cars. At the same time, bicycles must adhere to the majority of the same road regulations as other vehicle users. This requires bikes to avoid dangerous lane changes, yield to pedestrians, keep off the walkways, and respect all traffic signs and signals (usually).

Suppose a bike breaches a traffic law, and the infringement results in an accident. In that case, the bicyclist is very definitely accountable for any injuries or other damages sustained by anybody else involved in the incident. (Learn more about what to do if you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident.)

Negligence and Joint Liability

As with most other types of accidents, liability for a bicycle-versus-car collision is often determined by the legal notion of carelessness. Simply stated, everyone driving a vehicle on the road owes a fair degree of care to other road users. Failure to behave reasonably (by breaking a traffic rule, for example) becomes carelessness if another person is harmed as a consequence.

Thus, if a bicycle-car collision occurs at a crossroads, a traffic infraction committed by one of the parties involved (running a red light, rolling past a stop sign) would very certainly be the deciding element in determining guilt (with the violating driver or cyclist being deemed negligent). Discover more about carelessness and who is to blame for an accident.

Apart from utilizing negligence to determine liability in a bicycle-versus-car collision, all states have some kind of shared fault regulations, which may alter how personal injury damages are evaluated.

Negligence Contributory

Contributory negligence prohibits an individual from recovering for their injuries or damages in a personal injury case if they were at fault for the accident in any manner.

This implies that a biker (or anybody else) who is just 1% liable for the collision will be unable to collect anything, even from a person who was 99 percent at fault. This is a severe regulation that is only in effect in a few states:

Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Negligence in Comparative Terms

The great majority of states have enacted a comparative negligence blame scheme. However, the rule is enforced differently in each jurisdiction.

Under pure comparative negligence, each party to the accident is entitled to a fraction of the damages they have no responsibility for. The following example demonstrates this.

Lance was bicycling through a four-way stop intersection when he was struck by another car. Lance and the other motorist both failed to stop at their respective stop signs. The driver of the second car, on the other hand, was speeding and was legally intoxicated at the time of the collision.

Lance rode carefully past the junction and seemed to be in good health. Lance is found to be 20% at blame for the collision, while the other motorist is 80% at fault. Lance may claim $160,000, or 80 percent of his total losses, if his injuries reach $200,000 or more.

Under modified comparative negligence, a person cannot claim accident-related damages if their share of the blame is equal to or more than 50%. (states vary on the exact percentage).

Concerning the preceding scenario, since Lance’s degree of responsibility was less than 50%, his case will continue in a modified comparative negligence condition, albeit his damage award will be lowered by 20%.

Learn more about establishing liability in the event of a car accident.

Keeping the Accident from Happening

Even when the road rules are on their side, bikers should not forget about the principles of physics. Motor vehicles are far bigger than bicycles and provide an incredible amount of physical protection.

Additionally, bikers must take reasonable precautions to prevent accidents. This includes abstaining from alcohol while riding (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 20% of bicyclists killed in accidents in 2013 had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher) and making every effort to be visible to other vehicles (such as wearing reflectors, installing blinking lights, and using adequate illumination to see the road effectively).

Regarding injury prevention, if a bicycle-car collision happens in a city or state where the law mandates the bicyclist to wear a helmet and the rider was not wearing one, the biker is likely to have a more difficult time recovering compensation from the at-fault motorist. Learn more about the regulations governing bicycle helmet use.

When drivers attempt to beat a red light rather than coming to a full stop, they endanger the lives of other motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and bicycles. Accidents at red lights are perfectly avoidable and occur more often than you may imagine.

If you have suffered a significant injury in an accident caused by someone who ran a red light, you may have legal grounds to pursue compensation. A lawsuit may help you obtain compensation for medical expenditures, property damage, and lost earnings, among other things.

Warrior Injury Law’s legal team has aided several accident victims who have suffered at the hands of reckless drivers. Allow us to evaluate your case and explain your legal alternatives during a free introductory consultation.

Accidents at Red Lights

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, impatient and careless drivers who run red lights kill more than two people every day in the United States. Red-light runners are responsible for 28% of fatal collisions at intersections with stop signals.

In Colorado, fatalities from red-light running are at a ten-year high. Traffic-related deaths increased at a greater rate than in any other state in the country.

Additionally, the AAA analysis discovered that almost half – 46% – of fatalities killed in red light accidents were passengers or drivers of other vehicles, while over 5% were pedestrians or bicycles.

Running a Red Light

Colorado has stringent legislation governing junction safety and proper vehicle behavior at traffic lights. Red light infractions are one of the leading causes of severe collisions.

At a constant red traffic signal, all automobiles must come to a full stop and stay stopped until the light turns green and no crossing traffic is present. A flashing red traffic signal is equivalent to a stop sign. A motorist must come to a complete stop and wait until it is safe to proceed. A red arrow is sometimes referred to as a red traffic signal in Colorado.

A constant yellow traffic light is seen as being almost identical to a red traffic signal. When a car approaches an intersection and sees a yellow light, they must stop unless it is hazardous to do so. A yellow light does not indicate that a vehicle should increase his or her speed and go through the junction.

Failure to stop at a red light may add demerit points to a driver’s record and an enhanced fine if the traffic offense resulted in an accident.

Pursuing Legal Action in the Event of a Red-Light Accident

To sue another motorist, you must establish that he or she was negligent. Negligence occurs when an individual fails to drive appropriately given the circumstances and causes injury as a consequence.

Our firm’s qualified Green Bay vehicle accident attorney is prepared to assist you in establishing the following:

  • The other motorist owed you an obligation to come to a complete stop at a red light.
  • The other motorist violated that obligation by failing to stop at a red light.
  • There were compensatory damages as a consequence of the accident.

Failure to stop at a red light is usually sufficient evidence that the other motorist was at fault. Traffic regulations are intended to be adhered to and are intended to keep drivers sharing the road safely. When a motorist chooses to run a red light, certain facts may assist your attorney in constructing a solid case for reimbursement.

Generally, a lawyer may obtain film from a red-light traffic camera at an intersection to assist in establishing that the other car ran a red light and caused the collision. However, not every junction is equipped with cameras.

The location of the damage to your automobile may be utilized to ascertain how the accident occurred. Accidents involving a motorist who ran a red light often result in considerable damage to the front of the at-fault driver’s vehicle and the driver’s side of the victim’s vehicle.

Additionally, photographs of any obvious injuries, accident debris, skid marks on the road, damage to the cars involved, and neighboring buildings may be presented as supporting evidence.

Receipt of Damages from a Red-Light Runner

In Colorado, car accident lawsuits are reserved for significant injuries and property damage. To be eligible for compensation, you must comply with the state’s statute of limitations.

In most situations involving personal injury, the statute of limitations is three years (sometimes 2) from the accident date. Failure to comply with the three-year deadline will very certainly result in a court dismissal and the inability to pursue further legal action. A lawyer can advise you on whether filing a lawsuit is the best course of action for you.

Colorado also follows a comparative fault standard, which means that even if you were partly at fault for the accident, you might still be eligible for compensation provided you were not more at fault than the other motorist.

If you or someone you know has been harmed due to another driver’s carelessness, call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Warrior Injury Law at 719-300-1100. Our investigators will examine your account of the circumstances leading up to the accident and subsequent injuries.

Do not attempt to resolve the situation on your own; call an experienced Colorado Personal Injury Attorney to ensure that you are informed of your rights. We are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of bikers who have been hurt and will assist you in recovering reasonable compensation from the motorist who caused your injuries.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers

1902 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 100

Colorado Springs, CO 80904


Free Consultation


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