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Bicycle safety laws that might surprise you

When you go cycling, you might think that you're free of the restrictions of driving a car. However, though a bicycle is not a motor vehicle, you still must follow the laws of the road, the same as drivers.

Colorado statute 42-4-1412 deals with bicycles on the road. Law enforcement can issue citations to bike riders for violating the law, just as they can to auto drivers. It is important to know the laws pertaining to cyclists to stay safe on the road. 

Laws to remember

Being on a bicycle does not mean you get to choose between being a pedestrian or being a motor vehicle, as the situation dictates. 

Here are some of the laws you might not be aware of: 

  • Colorado does not require helmets for adults. Motorcycle laws require a helmet for passengers and riders under the age of 18, which bicyclists should also follow.
  • Generally, bikers should ride in a single file and not impede traffic. 
  • Cyclists should always signal their intention to stop or turn.
  • Bicycle riders must not carry more people than the number for which the bike is designed or equipped.
  • The bicycle should be equipped with lighted lamps if being used between sunset and sunrise.
  • When no traffic signal is in play, pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Local laws and rules supersede state laws.
  • Cyclists should pass on the left, as cars do. A violation of this is a class A traffic infraction.
  • Cars should give cyclists at least three feet safe distance when passing. 

Staying safe on the road

Cyclists face a higher risk of injuries when in an accident. It is important to expect the unexpected. Making eye contact with other drivers is one way to ensure they know you are there. Wear bright clothing. Take your headphones off for the ride, to be able to hear everything around you. 

If you are injured in an accident as a cyclist, you might benefit from an assessment of your situation by legal counsel. Automobile operators might try to blame you for the accident. If law enforcement gives you a citation following an accident, the insurance company might consider you paying it to be an admission of fault. Contact an attorney to plan a strong defense. 

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