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Fort Collins, Colorado Personal Injury Law Blog

More bicyclists are dying on our roadways than ever

One might expect that with improvements in road safety across the nation and improved bike helmet use bicyclist deaths would have decreased compared to 12 years ago. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the roadways are killing more cyclists in the present than they were in the past.

Bicycle accident statistics from 2006 to 2015

How to defend against ”dooring accidents” as a bicyclist

Dooring accidents happen when a passenger or driver in a parked automobile opens his or her door without looking to see if the way is clear. If a bicyclist happens to be passing at an inopportune moment, opening a door like this could result in catastrophic and fatal injuries. Regardless of whether the door simply clips the cyclist or causes the cyclist to ride directly into it, you can imagine how terrible an incident like this can be.

Automobile drivers and passengers may be financially liable in the wake of a dooring accident tragedy, but it's certainly preferred to avoid these accidents in the first place. Here's what safety-conscious bicyclists can do to prevent getting doored:

  • Give parked cars plenty of clearance: If you're riding along the side of the road where parked vehicles are present, you should always put three to four feet of space between yourself and the parked vehicles. If it's impossible to leave this kind of room, then you should get off your bike and walk until the way is clear, or enter the roadway and ride in traffic as if you're a car. Both of these options are better than putting your life at risk.
  • Scan for heads: Cyclists should also scan ahead to see if there are any occupants in the parked vehicles along the road. If a head can be seen, that person might soon be getting out of the vehicle without warning, so make sure you give that vehicle a lot of space. Even if you can't see any heads, be careful because a short person might not be visible on the other side of the seat.

Are you following these 3 car accident avoidance strategies?

Imagine that you're driving your children to school one morning. You're late, stressed and the last thing on your mind is the need to drive safely. You've been driving this route so many times, in fact, that you've become complacent and are taking your safety for granted. This is one of the biggest mistakes any driver can make.

The inherent dangers of driving a car create the need to be vigilant about safety at all times. Here are three vital safety tips that drivers often forget:

How often are work zones a factor in car accidents?

Colorado’s population continues to undergo explosive growth, and with an influx of new residents comes an increase in road construction to accommodate them. In other words, if it seems as if road construction exists around every corner, it is because the state’s roadways are constantly in need of expansion and repair, but the work zones used to create and repair infrastructure can, at times, prove highly dangerous.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration notes that work zone crashes are on the rise across Colorado and the nation. So much so, in fact, that the number of crashes that occurred within work zones climbed 43 percent from 2013 to 2015, with more than 96,600 crashes taking place in the nation’s work zones in 2015 alone.

Fort Collins drivers — watch out for trick-or-treaters

If you're a Fort Collins parent, chances are good that your kids are all caught up in the Halloween hype. Whether you're selecting the perfect costume, carving the winning jack-o'-lantern or plotting the best trick-or-treat route, the excitement of this autumn holiday is in the air.

The following suggestions for Halloween fun may be helpful when planning this year's festivities.

Helmets make everyone take more risks

A bike helmet is a critical piece of safety equipment, and it can protect you in an accident. It can lower the odds of a serious head injury.

However, it is important to understand that the helmet may also increase the odds that you will get in that accident in the first place. It could cause you to take more risks. Two different studies have shown how this works.

What Colorado drivers need to know about Codes 15 and 16

Colorado has some of the most stunning mountains in the world. During the winter, those mountains can make for treacherous driving. Colorado's Interstate 70 has been named among the most dangerous roads in the country.

If you don't have the proper vehicle -- and the appropriate equipment on your vehicle -- you're putting yourself and others on the road in serious danger. You're also running the risk of getting stuck and keeping others on the road from getting where they need to go.

Has legalized marijuana led to more deadly accidents?

Colorado legalized marijuana, allowing for a regulated industry in which people can buy small amounts for recreational purposes. By no means does this indicate that marijuana can be used without restraint, however. Some aspects of the law mimic laws surrounding the use of alcohol. For instance, impaired driving is still illegal.

However, some reports show that marijuana-related crashes are on the rise. For instance, the amount of people who got into deadly accidents with marijuana in their system more than doubled between 2013 and 2017. Every year, the amount goes up.

Lack of seatbelts and distraction are a deadly combo

Driving is a part of everyday life for most people in Colorado. You may not think about all the dangers you face every time you get behind the wheel, but by neglecting simple cautions, you can put yourself and others on the road at risk. When multiple safety hazards intersect, it can be a particularly dangerous situation. This is the case in car accidents involving distracted drivers and lack of seatbelts. 

According to The Denver Post, this problem is particularly troublesome in Colorado; the director of the Colorado Department of Transportation has labeled it an "epidemic." Distracted driving causes car accidents, and when additional hazards are present, it can turn into a deadly situation.

University professor dies in collision with tanker truck

There is no doubt that an accident between a vehicle and a bicyclist is devastating for the cyclist. After all, there is nothing to protect the rider from the impact of the collision.

When that vehicle happens to be a large and heavy commercial truck, the injuries suffered by the rider could very well prove to be fatal.

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