My son was hit by a car while riding his bike in Loveland (Larimer County) Colorado. He was hit from behind. The police tell us that the 3 foot passing law does not apply in this case, because there is a bike lane, delineated by a solid line. I think they are misinterpreting the law. Does it make a difference, how the line between a lane for traffic, and a lane for bicycles is marked? Or are cars required to allow 3 feet of distance when passing a bicycle, as the law states, and the cycling websites claim?
Also claim a good investigation was done. Police report is 3 sentences or so. Driver (79) got off scott free while my son is left with medical bills (GOt a summons for $17,000 over the weekend) and ongoing pain from the accident. Vehicle was a Mercury Moutianeer. Woman was on the phone but that did not make a difference :(
2 Answers from Attorneys
The new passing law in the Denver Municipal Code provides that a car must give three feet of space when passing a bicycle "in the same lane," so arguably, it does not apply. However, cars are still not permitted to hit bicyclists, and there are other provisions of the motor vehicle code that the driver may have violated. Moreover, every driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care. The police's "determination" of fault is not binding in a civil case for damages. If you would like to discuss your case in more detail, please call.
State or municipal criminal law is what the police enforce, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with civil law, which is what lawyers use to collect judgments against people for money damages. You might want to see the blog on 'distracted drivers' at the following link for additional information: http://www.coloradosuperlawyer.com/hot-legal-topics/distracted-drivers/.
(cut and paste to your browser address window). Fault in Colorado court's is determined by the facts, the burden of proof is on the person claiming fault, and the fault of all parties is determined (not just the driver). To prevail, the driver must have greater fault than the bicyclist. The statute of limitation is generally three years, so time matters.
Related Questions & Answers
If you fall at a store, due to a wet floor do you have a lawsuit? Asked 10/18/11, 3:52 pm in United States Colorado Personal Injury Law and Tort Law