by SCOTT O’SULLIVAN, Esq on December 8, 2013
In August 2009, the Title 42 of the Colorado Statute has been amended to incorporate the Bicycle Safety Bill. However, every experienced Denver bicycle accident lawyer would agree that the newly enacted laws have not significantly lowered the number of bicycle accidents. Thus, many cyclists believe that the safety procedures incorporated in the Bicycle Safety Bill should be treated as a minimum rather than relying on them entirely.
Statistics show that the majority of bicycle accidents happen due to the cyclist’s lack of visibility. Even though the law only requires a reflector, headlight and tail light at night, these devices can be used at daytime as well, particularly on streets that are not well-lit. Since headlights and tail lights do not emit strong light rays compared to the lights of four-wheeled vehicles, and reflectors only work when illuminated by another light source, a cyclist should never be satisfied with just having the minimal legal requirement.
Bicycle Injury Claim
In case of an accident, the first thing that a bicycle lawyer would have to figure out is whether or not the injured was partly at fault for the accident. Making sure your bike is well-equipped with safety devices could play an important role in ruling out the cyclist’s liability.
Due to the risks of being caught in an accident, the Colorado state law now explicitly requires all cyclists to install reflectors into their bikes. Cyclists should either use the regular red bike reflectors (aka “amber reflectors”) which are brighter than the regular ones. Using adhesive reflective tape on the curves of the bike could also be another safety precaution. Make sure to purchase sturdy ones that are suitable for outdoor use and salty streets during the winter season. You can also put a strip of tape at the back of your helmet or your visor.
Many helmet manufacturers refuse to use reflective material on the helmets because they are not willing to compromise the design. Little do they know, reflectors on the helmet or visor would enable other vehicle drivers to see the cyclist from greater distances because they are within their view. Also, the cyclist wearing a helmet with a reflective tape would be seen wherever he goes or turns his head. These movements would also attract attention from other vehicle drivers.
Some cyclists also use gloves made with reflective fabric. Such gloves would enable other vehicle drivers to see a cyclist’s hand signals even from a farther distance compared to just using the regular rear-end reflectors.
There are also cyclists who use small Xenon strobe lights that are pinned on marine life jackets. These lights can be turned on whenever there is heavy fog or any kind of visibility hazard such as snow. However, make sure to turn them off in clear conditions because they might distract other vehicle drivers.
Personally, I ride with the brightest LED lights that I can afford and attached them to the front handle bars and seat post. A bicycle rider must always assume that people driving cars and trucks do not see them on the road. So the more ways that a cyclist can become visible in the day or night the better.
To make sure that your bicycle is equipped with the right visibility devices, you can conduct a test of your bike’s visibility. Look for a quiet area where you can put your bike next to the parked cars. Then drive past your bike using your headlights. Ask yourself whether you would be able to see yourself in dense traffic when your bike is surrounded by other vehicles.
A bicycle lawyer would agree that in many cases, the liability of the cyclist could depend on the measures he has taken to increase his bike’s visibility. Statistics show that there are a lot more people in Denver who use bikes to drive around town. The downside is that many bicycle accidents also happen in the Denver area. In case someone gets injured due to an accident, a Denver bicycle accident lawyer should be consulted so the injured could make the most of his claim.