For most trips people like to go from point A to point B in the quickest most direct way possible. This is especially true for those who are traveling by bicycle or on foot, since using a slower way to travel already means it will take more time and energy to get where you need to go.
But in the streets around the Denver area, this is very hard to do, because many of the roads and intersections in the area cater almost exclusively to motor vehicles. Those walking or on their bike run into situations when they are asked to yield for motor vehicles, even in situations where they might be given the right of way on a similar road.
Picking the Right Route
Recently, one Denver man was in a bicycle accident, where he was expected to yield to cars, but since the sign stating this was obstructed he assumed right of way and was hit. Even after struggling through multiple injuries, he was given a traffic ticket. The ticket was overturned, and the man is rousing a debate on whether the way bike and pedestrian safety is handled should be overturned as well. The city has argued that he wasn’t on an official bike trail, but there was no indication that he was prohibited from riding his bike, and trail or no trail it was the most direct route to his destination.
All too often when the city does create safer paths for walkers and bicyclists, it adds a significant amount of distance to an already slower journey. Even the city’s transportation app will suggest the fastest and shortest way for pedestrians and cyclists to get where they are going rather than suggest a round about detour that might take them several blocks out of their way.
Because commuting by bike or foot is becoming more popular, there may be greater cause to have specific intersections made safer for non-motorized travelers, rather than forcing them to a longer route.
Ways to Stay Safe
Whether it is fair or not, the reality is that pedestrians and bike riders are at a physical disadvantage when it comes to traveling about the city. Riders can make a point of wearing a helmet and light colored and/or reflective clothing whenever they are on their feet or bike to make it easier for others to see them and reduce potential injuries if an accident does happen. If possible, use dedicated bike and walking routes whenever time and energy permits.
It is also good to take care not to walk or ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or allow yourself to become distracted by cell phones or music players. Make sure all your senses can be accessed so that you can react to any dangerous situations in your vicinity.
If you have been injured on you bicycle or as a pedestrian recovery can be hard. In the car-centric world it may seem that no one is willing to stand up for your chosen way to travel. These personal injuries re not only caused by drivers who fail to notice pedestrians and cyclists, but also by a public works system that fails to make busy intersections safe. In many cases, even if you weren’t following every rule you may still be eligible for compensation with the help of a personal injury attorney.