Cyclists are a very diverse group. Some ride fat tires through forests and down rocky trails for an adrenaline rush. Some ride lightweight road bikes up Colorado’s impressive mountains for exercise and sport. Others ride for necessary transportation or casual recreation. Suffice it to say, cycling is one of the most popular forms of recreation and transportation in Colorado. Regardless of why people bike, it’s imperative to understand the rules of the road because they share it with millions of vehicles, ranging from 5,000 pounds to two tons.
In an accident involving a cyclist and a motor vehicle, there is no question who will be injured. Each year, more than 30,000 cyclists are injured from automobiles in the United States and over 600 cyclists are killed. Unfortunately, these types of accidents can happen at any time and in any place.
According to Colorado law, negligence occurs when a driver’s behavior falls short of the conduct of a “reasonable person.” The “reasonable person” standard is a legal fiction created to define our community’s view on how a reasonable person in the community should behave in a given situation. If the driver’s behavior falls short of this standard, that driver has violated the duty of reasonable care. An accident is almost always the result of someone’s negligence. If the negligent party is the driver of the vehicle, the cyclist has a legal right to be compensated for his or her injuries.
The physical damage that can result from a bike accident is often debilitating or life altering for the cyclist. If the impact was very serious, the cyclist could be subject to various injuries, including the following:
- Facial Lacerations
- Dental Damage
- Broken Bones
- Joint Issues
- Head Trauma
- Neurological Damage
- Spinal Cord Damage
- Disc Bulge
- Ruptured Disc
- Internal Organ Trauma
Sadly, one of the most common types of injuries resulting from a bicycle accident is a head injury because cyclists are oftentimes thrown over their handlebars. Upon impact, cyclists can suffer minor brain injuries like a concussion or a very serious traumatic brain injury, which would equate to devastating results like memory loss, decreased bodily function, or even permanent disabilities. Further, because of the nature of exposure, cyclists can be subjected to very serious spinal cord injuries when they impact or land on their back, neck or head.
The injuries a bicycle accident victim can sustain are frequently severe enough to put the cyclist in the hospital for days or even weeks. They might require surgery and a lengthy hospital stay. Equally as important, an injury victim may sustain damages beyond the physical. Cyclists should make an effort to follow the rules of the road because this knowledge may be the difference between a serious injury and a close call.
Because the legal process following a bicycle accident can be very complex, a cyclist who has suffered anything more than minor injuries should always discuss their case with an experienced personal injury attorney.
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