Left-turn accidents in which a car makes an incorrect, illegal, or misjudged left turn can be very dangerous for bicycles. When hit by a car on a bike, cyclists may suffer serious injuries, and may pursue compensation for damages through a claim if the driver was negligent. Riders can discuss the case with a Denver bike accident attorney to go over liability for the accident.
How Left-Turn Accidents Happen
There are a variety of ways and reasons a car’s left-hand turn may result somebody being hit by a car on a bike.
These accidents may occur because the driver:
turned or made a U-turn in front of the cyclist; failed to make sure it was safe before executing a turn; misjudged or misinterpreted the bicyclist’s actions (or vice versa); had an obstructed view because of a hill, trees, buildings or other object, but chose to turn anyway; made a sudden lane change and turned, unaware of the bicyclist’s presence; performed an illegal turn or U-turn; or failed to yield right-of-way to the bicyclist before turning.
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents can have steep consequences for both parties involved, including extensive repair bills, painful broken bones and injuries, and, in severe cases, even death.
Responsibility When Making a Left-Turn
According to Colorado rights-of-way regulations, when making a left turn in an intersection or onto a private road or alley, drivers must yield right-of-way to any oncoming vehicle from the other direction or any vehicle that is close enough to present a hazard.
Since Denver city code states that a bicycle is also considered a vehicle by law and subject to the rules of the road, this right-of-way regulation applies to bicycles as well. Drivers must yield right-of-way to an oncoming or nearby cyclist when making a left turn to avoid an accident.
Since bicycles are considered vehicles, they are also subject to the same right-of-way regulations as vehicles. That means, bicyclists must also yield to oncoming cars and bikers when making their own left-hand turns.
Bikers are also required by Colorado to ride bicycles equipped with safety equipment like:
- reflectors; and
Liability in Left-Turn Accidents
Determining who is at fault for a left-turn accident may be difficult, and it depends on the behaviors of both the driver and the bicyclists at the time of the accident. If the driver of the car fails to yield right-of-way to the bicyclist, and the bicyclist is following all other applicable laws and regulation, the accident may be solely the driver’s fault.
However, if the biker was not wearing reflector, ran a red light, or was violating some other law he or she could bear the liability for the wreck.
It’s also possible for both parties to share in responsibility for the accident. As Colorado is a comparative negligence state, this simply means each party would be assigned a percentage of fault for the collision.
This percentage would directly correlate to the amount of compensation the injured party could be due for damages and injuries suffered. So if a bicyclist is 20 percent at fault, compensation recovered in a claim may be reduced by 20 percent.
More Information from a Denver Bike Accident Attorney
An attorney can help determine the liable parties, gather evidence and work with insurance companies to help victims recover appropriate compensation for their damages if they are hit by a car while riding a bike. Accident victims are encouraged to call 303-300-5060 to speak to a Denver bike accident attorney at the D.J. Banovitz, Personal Injury Law to discuss their left-turn accident or other bicycle accident case.