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Colorado’s Bicycling Guide

Posted in Blog on September 4, 2014

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s guide for bicyclists, The Colorado Bicycling Manual, is more than just a biking rulebook. You’ll find a wealth of information in the publication about common bicycle accidents suffered by both child and adult riders and what to do if you are involved in a bicycling accident.

Child vs. Adult Rider

Child riders aren’t generally involved in the same types of common accident scenarios as adult riders are, and it is important to understand the nature of typical motor vehicle/bicycle crashes involving child bicyclists so that you can educate your child rider on bike safety measures that address their specific risks.

The most common motor vehicle/bicycle accidents involving a child bike rider are:

  • The child cyclist doesn’t obey traffic signs, particularly stop signs, or use hand signals to keep nearby motorists informed of his or her upcoming actions.
  • The child cyclist fails to consider passing traffic when leaving the safety of the sidewalk, a driveway or a curb.
  • The child cyclist rides against traffic flow and on the wrong side of the road. In Colorado, bike riders must ride on the right side whenever possible and with traffic flow.
  • The child cyclist swerves left or makes a turn without checking for oncoming vehicles.

Typical crash scenarios for adults are markedly different from that of child riders and often involve mistakes made by nearby motorists. Common motor vehicle/bicycle accidents involving adults include:

  • The motorist drives through a stop sign without stopping or turns right into a cyclist who is heading in the same direction.
  • The motorist turns left into the path of an oncoming cyclist who is going straight in the opposite direction.
  • The motorist leaves a driveway at a high speed or without looking and strikes a passing cyclist.

Child riders must be taught to pay attention to surroundings and think before making a move. Adult riders must also be aware of what’s going on around them and learn to anticipate what nearby motorists might do. A bike rider cycling down a residential street, for example, should pay attention to cars parked in driveways that are running or have lights on. A running car may mean the driver is about to back out of the driveway, onto the street and potentially into the cyclist’s path.

In the Event of an Accident

Even if you follow all cycling safety practices and are mindful of common risks, a motor vehicle/bicycle accident is always a possibility. The Colorado DOT recommends the following actions after an accident:

  • Call for the emergency services, including the police and an ambulance if required, and ask the motorist to stay until the police arrive.
  • Get all of the motorist’s information, including name, address, phone number, vehicle make and model, driver’s license number and license plate number.
  • Ask for the motorist’s insurance information. If the person driving doesn’t own the car, you’ll need two sets of insurance information: the driver’s policy and the policy covering the car.
  • Ask to file an accident report with the police once they arrive. Get the officer’s information, including name and badge number.

Knowledge of common accidents can help bike riders of all ages avoid a crash. Should the unfortunate event occur, follow the Colorado DOT’s post-accident recommendations to protect your rights.

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