Out with the old; in with the new. Road signs across Colorado that were designed to make drivers aware of bicyclist that read: “Share the Road” are being switched for new signs, which read: “State Law: Motorists Must Give Bicycles 3 Ft Clearance.” The purpose is to make drivers more aware of their legal obligation to safely pass bicyclists on the roads since bicycling accidents were becoming more frequent and more deadly over the years.
As a bicycle accident lawyer in Boulder, Debbie Taussig knows that biking on our roadways is common–as are biking accidents. Drivers are not always aware of their surroundings, and simple signage like “share the road” does not seem to drive home the point that sharing the road is not voluntary, it is mandatory.
By state law, drivers must give bicyclists three feet between the vehicle and the widest part of the bike. This is not a suggestion. It is the law. Three feet of passing room must be given, even if it means that drivers cross a double yellow line (when it is safe to do so). If a driver of a motor vehicle hits a bicyclist because they did not give three feet of room when passing, the driver will be liable for a personal injury claim.
While the signs may be new, the law is not. Colorado’s law has been around since 2009. The law clearly states that: “A driver shall not pass a bicyclist moving in the same direction and in the same lane when there is oncoming traffic unless the driver can simultaneously: (a) Allow oncoming vehicles at least one-half of the main-traveled portion of the roadway…; and (b) Allow the bicyclist at least a three-foot separation between the right side of the driver’s vehicle, including all mirrors or other projections, and the left side of the bicyclist at all times.”
If a driver violates this law, it is a class A traffic infraction. A class A traffic infraction can result in fines, points on your driver’s license record, and if the fines are not paid, it could result in jail time. In addition, if a personal injury lawyer is hired, there could be added penalties against the driver and their insurance company.
While we want everyone to follow the rules of the road, we know that many people abide by their own self-made rules, and this can cause injury to bicyclists—and even death. In 2021, 946 bicyclists were hit by motor vehicle drivers and 15 were killed. In many of these cases, injury or death could have been prevented if care had been used.
If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) by a driver who failed to follow Colorado’s laws, please reach out to us. No one wants to be injured because of the carelessness of another person, and if that has happened to you, you will want the expertise of an experienced personal injury lawyer. As a bicycle accident attorney in Boulder, Debbie knows the value of keeping our roadways safe. She will fight for you, so you can heal and get the compensation you need. Call us today at 303-442-0176 for a free claim evaluation.