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Bicycles and Cars — A Potentially Dangerous Combination

By Burg Simpson

October 12, 2016   Blog, Personal Injury

Bicycles and cars are vehicles that must share the roadway. They are generally subject to many of the same operating laws. So you would think that, by obeying the law, cars and vehicles could operate together in harmony. But in practice, cars and bicycles can be a dangerous mix because cyclists are hard to see, they are more vulnerable to the varying conditions of the road and shoulder, and motorists and bicyclists are sometimes unaware of—or disregard—the laws that are intended to keep everyone safe. Cycling is a popular sport in the athletic cities of Denver and Boulder, and competitions keep cyclists training on the roads all year around. Several cyclists have been hit on the roads this past year and even controlled races can lead to tragedy. In a recent accident, a cyclist in Colorado’s Ironman Triathlon competition, was struck and killed by a car during the race.

There are a number of conditions that make cycling dangerous, including:

  • Shoulder conditions — sand, salt, blown tires, trash, leaves, rocks, and other debris often litter the sides and shoulder of the roads creating dangerous obstacles for cyclists;
  • Weather — quickly changing weather conditions can create dangers, and harsh conditions including ice, snow, rain and fog may not keep the hardiest cyclists off the road, and increase chances of skidding and hydroplaning accidents for bikes and cars alike;
  • Visibility — cars driving blind mountain curves or in foggy conditions make it difficult for big cars to see lithe road bikes and their riders;
  • Lack of protection — drivers are far more protected than cyclists, so even a minor collision for a car can be disastrous for a cyclist.

Attitude also plays a role in the situation. Tensions between bicycles and cars are high as more and more cars and bikes fill the roads and when they are competing for the right to use the roadway, bicycle riders are in the riskiest position. Road rage is often a factor in conflicts between riders and drivers.

In many cities in Europe and now in the US, there are movements afoot to build separate cycling lanes that mix or move in parallel with pedestrians rather than road traffic. This, of course, may raise the risk to pedestrians when cyclists are traveling fast along those paths. Bicyclists who fear car and truck traffic sometimes ride on pedestrian sidewalks, but absent a path designated for bike use, riding bikes on pedestrian sidewalks can be illegal and create risk of injury to pedestrians and bicyclists alike.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured, or you had a loved one killed, in a collision involving a motor vehicle and/or bicycle and/or pedestrian, contact the experienced attorneys at Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. by calling 303-792-5595 or complete the form for a FREE case evaluation.

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