Bikes are a great way to get exercise. However, many Coloradans also use bikes as a mode of transportation. Cyclists who brave the streets can save money on parking and gas, avoid some of Denver's traffic, and know that they are not contributing to air pollution. Unfortunately, much of Colorado is built on motor vehicle infrastructure. This means cyclists and cars have to share the roadways, which can put cyclists at a higher risk of injury than drivers.
In 2019, there were 20 cyclists killed in car accidents in Colorado. Hundreds more were injured in bike accidents involving cars. Many of these accidents involve careless driving, drivers distracted by their phones, or drivers pulling over without checking their side mirrors. Rideshare drivers, including Uber, may be distracted or in a hurry and not watch for cyclists, leading to an accident.
If you were involved in a bike accident with an Uber driver, talk to a Denver personal injury attorney about your rights. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your accident and fight to get you the maximum compensation after an injury accident in Denver. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Causes of Bike Accidents in Colorado
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), most fatal bike accidents occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. More fatal bike accidents occur in urban areas compared to rural areas. Males are eight times more likely to be the victim of a fatal bike accident than females.
According to the City of Boulder, most collisions between motorists and cyclists occur at crosswalks and intersections. The majority of these accidents occur because motorists do not adequately look for cyclists. Other accidents involving left-turning vehicles often involve motorists who looked for oncoming traffic but did not see a bicyclist on the right side of the roadway.
Reckless, distracted, and careless driving are among the most common causes of bike accidents. The driver is not always the cause of the accident with a cyclist. Cyclists have many of the same responsibilities as drivers. However, when a car and a bike get into an accident, the cyclist is almost always the one who suffers more.
Turning in front of a cyclist on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway, is a common cause of accidents. Drivers should yield to bicyclists as they would another car. However, motorists often underestimate the speed of a cyclist.
In parking lots, when packing up, or when parking, drivers should search their surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles. Drivers turning right on red should also check behind them to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the rear. Drivers should also give cyclists room and not pass too closely.
Risks of Uber Drivers to Cyclists in Colorado
Uber drivers may be more likely to engage in certain dangerous driving activities as an inherent risk of being a rideshare driver. Some of the risks of rideshare driving include:
- Distracted driving,
- Traffic violations, and
- Driving while tired.
Being an Uber driver requires the individual to have the Uber app active and open. Uber drivers may be using the app while driving to go available, look at rider requests, get directions, and drop off the passenger. This is in addition to other phone distractions when driving, like using a map or music app while driving or talking to their passengers.
According to a study from the University of Utah, the odds of getting into an accident when talking on the phone is as impairing as driving drunk. Driver distractions can include visual distractions that require the driver to look away from the roadway, manual distractions where the driver takes one or both hands off the steering wheel, and cognitive distractions that require the driver to avert their attention away from driving.
When a driver is distracted, the driver may not be looking for cyclists, who have a much lower profile than larger vehicles. Uber rides begin and end with a pick up and drop off. Especially in places like Boulder and Denver, Uber drivers may be pulling over suddenly when they see someone waving them down or to drop off a passenger. This may mean pulling in front of an approaching cyclist who does not have time to stop.
Uber drivers may not be familiar with the streets they are on and are constantly looking at the map on their phone. This may lead to rolling through red lights, stop signs, or turning right on red without coming to a complete stop. This is one reason that so many bike and car accidents occur at intersections and in crosswalks.
Unfortunately, when an Uber driver is involved in an accident with a cyclist, they may not take responsibility for their actions. The driver may worry the accident will cause them to lose their Uber job and blame the accident on the cyclist. Some Uber drivers may even try and leave the scene of the accident, which could result in criminal hit-and-run charges.
What to Do After a Bike Accident With an Uber Driver
The first thing to do after a bike accident with an Uber driver is to make sure there are no medical emergencies. If there are serious injuries, the cyclist or driver should call 911 for help. Even if the rider feels like they are okay after the accident, the rider should consider going to the doctor. Many accidents involving head, neck, or back injuries may not immediately appear serious. However, hours or days later, the injury victim may suffer pain, dizziness, or other symptoms that could indicate a more serious injury.
The accident may be covered by the Uber driver's personal insurance or Uber's insurance policy. If the Uber driver is not active on the app, the driver's personal insurance policy will generally apply.
At the point between making the app active and accepting a fare, contingent coverage applies, where Uber must provide a minimum of:
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to any one person in an accident; and
- $100,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident
Once the Uber driver accepts a ride request, is on the way to pick up the passenger, or has the passenger in the vehicle, Uber's policy coverage is for up to $1 million.
Filing an Injury Claim Against an Uber Driver
Contact your Colorado rideshare injury accident attorney to handle your case. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented cyclists, pedestrians, and their families after a bike accident involving an Uber driver. Our experienced attorneys understand how the insurance and rideshare companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.