Did you know that bicycles are legally considered vehicles, just like cars? In the state of Colorado, this means that “a bicyclist […] has all the rights and responsibilities applicable to the driver of any other vehicle.” In other words, Colorado bicyclists must follow the same road rules and regulations as other drivers—and should expect to be treated equally to drivers too.
This is particularly pertinent information to know as the number of cyclists on the roads continues to steadily increase. However, while the overall rate of bicycle accidents in the United States has been proven to be declining, the number of fatal bicycle accidents have also been increasing.
Many times, these fatal accidents are caused by poor infrastructure that was made without bicyclists in mind. Or they may stem from a lack of proper education about cyclist safety. Plus, unfortunately, sometimes even bicyclists become the victims of hit-and-run accidents.
Even the most minor accident between a bicyclist and a driver can prove to be deadly. After all, no human being is a match for a 2-ton vehicle. That is just a fact. The good news is that most bicycle accidents are preventable. In this blog post, we will give you a brief overview of how to prevent being involved in a hit-and-run bicycle accident—and even what to do after being involved in one.
Preventing a hit-and-run bicycle accident is just like preventing any other type of bicycle accident. The basics of prevention lie in common sense techniques, so they are easy to remember and carry out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicyclist deaths happen most frequently between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm. This means that nighttime poses a huge risk for bicyclists—and you should act accordingly.
Many of the risks that come with nighttime biking stem simply from the fact that bikers are not as visible as they are in the daytime. There are easy ways to address this. For one, you can go ahead and wear reflective clothing in order to draw attention to yourself. You can also add reflective duct tape or even a lighting system to your bike itself. Limit the amount of nighttime biking you do, and try to stick to only the safest routes.
Visibility may still be an issue even in the daytime. Fortunately, you can wear equipment to protect yourself and make yourself more visible to others. Such equipment may include bike helmets (which you should be wearing anyway!) and bright clothing.
Furthermore, you should remember to keep both hands on the handlebars at all times—except for when you are signaling a turn. Make sure that you are riding a bike that fits you and a bike that works—meaning there is no chance for mechanical failure while you are on the road. Finally, fasten your shoelaces, pant legs, and any other loose ends away so they do not get caught in your bike chain.
Of course, accidents can still happen even after you have taken all the proper precautions. There are a few things you may be able to do immediately following your hit-and-run bicycle accident. For example, if at all possible, try to get as much information as possible about the driver of the vehicle. It is possible that your accident was witnessed by someone else or even caught on camera. Seek out any potential witness accounts from passersby, other cyclists, and/or drivers. You may even want to reach out to nearby businesses to see if the accident was caught on their surveillance cameras.
Any little bit of information you get may be able to help. This means even partial license plate numbers can be valuable in identifying the perpetrator. Get in contact with the local police immediately and tell them everything that you know, making sure to let them know of any possible identifying characteristics. You should also make sure to get the contact information of any officers or witnesses you have talked to, in case you need to refer back to them later.
Obviously, you will also want to seek out medical attention immediately. This is true even if you do not feel like you have suffered any serious injuries. The reason for this is that it is not uncommon for some injuries to lie dormant and not make their symptoms fully known until some time has gone by. Furthermore, waiting too long to seek treatment for your injuries may work against you in a personal injury claim. The opposing party may claim that you are exaggerating your injuries for compensation and that you would not have waited to seek treatment if your injuries were really serious.
Finally, make sure to check your auto insurance policy. This may sound paradoxical—after all, what could your car insurance policy possibly have to do with your bicycle accident? In reality, many car insurance carriers actually do cover claims for bicycle accident-related medical expenses. This is especially important if it turns out you were hit by an uninsured motorist. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you may be compensated for your hit-and-run bicycle accident just as you would for any standard auto v. auto accident.
It can feel difficult and overwhelming to take care of a bicycle accident claim on your own, especially if you were involved in a hit-and-run. You need someone on your side you can trust. Fortunately, you do not have to go through it alone.
If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a hit-and-run bicycle accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country.
You should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide personal injury attorneys. We have helped countless clients successfully resolve their personal injury cases. We can help you too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.