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I Witnessed a Denver Bike Accident: Here are the top five things I learned from the experience
During the morning rush hour recently, I witnessed a horrific accident involving a car and a bicyclist. Sadly, the bicyclist was at fault and wasn’t wearing a helmet. I’ve talked to my kids about the incident and I’m going to share it with you today because I think we can all learn from this sad event.
Here’s what I saw…
I was heading northbound on Lincoln and I stopped at a red light at 11th Avenue. There was one car in front of me. A female biker was heading northbound on the sidewalk next to the roadway and she didn’t stop when the lights turned red. She simply kept going. When she crossed the intersection, the eastbound cars were already fully in motion and one of the cars struck the her.
The biker’s body did pinwheels 20 feet into the air and she landed on the top of her head. Her bike was thrown 100 feet farther up 11th Avenue.
All of us in cars nearby jumped out to help her and we called 911. The biker was nonresponsive but then she started making noises and moving. However, she was definitely severely injured, with head injuries and broken bones. She had on a dress but no helmet.
Tragically, because the accident was the biker’s fault, she will be responsible for all of her own medical bills, lost wages, and more. I felt like I was watching a life destroyed right in front of me, even though it looked like she would live.
I am a huge advocate of bikers’ rights in Denver. I work with several biking organizations around the city to help get the word out about bicycle laws and safety. I even helped an elementary school give away a bunch of bikes to its students last year. And I want my kids to be able to safely bike wherever they want to go. But I also caution them that, in any bike-versus-car encounter, the car always wins. Therefore, bikers need to be hyper-vigilant.
Here are the lessons we can all learn from this tragedy:
In the interest of spreading good information, I thought I’d share some of the Denver laws that particularly apply to bicyclists who choose to traverse Denver’s city streets:
Read this document to learn more about Colorado Bicycling Laws.
Of course, many bicyclists know the laws and adhere to them, but Colorado drivers are impatient (and growing more impatient as our roads become more congested). Here are the rights you can expect as a biker in Colorado:
That’s really it. Your rights as a biker are very similar to those of an auto driver because we are all expected to behave courteously and follow the law. If you neglect your responsibilities on the road, not only might you get hurt, but you could get a ticket.
Biking is fantastic exercise, good for the environment and a cheap way to get from A to B, but you also have to assume that you have a giant bullseye on your clothing, especially when you’re riding downtown. I never, ever want to see an accident like this one again. Please be safe.
Denver’s Unsafe Roads: How You Can Stay Safe — Get tips that may help keep you safer while out and about.