Vulnerable Road User

The charge of Vulnerable Road User is a Class 1 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense and is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for 10 days up to 1 year plus a $300 up to $1000 fine and a driver's license suspension.  If a driver's actions are the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to a vulnerable road user, he will likely be charged with this crime.

What is a vulnerable road user?
In general terms, a vulnerable road user is someone who uses the roadway and is exposed (or "vulnerable") to injury from someone who drives a motor vehicle (think car vs. pedestrian or car vs. skateboarder).  The statutory definition of "who" is a vulnerable road user is very lengthy and specifically identifies a person lawfully using the following on a public right-of-way, crosswalk, or shoulder of the roadway: 1) roller skates, 2) a motorcycle, 3) a moped, 4) a scooter, 5) in-line skates, 6) a skateboard, 7) a farm tractor or similar vehicle designed primarily for farm use, 8) a bicycle, tricycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or other pedal-powered vehicle, 9) an off-highway vehicle, 10) an animal-drawn, wheeled vehicle, 11) a baby stroller, 12) a nonmotorized pull wagon, 13) a wheelchair, 14) an electrical personal assistive mobility device, 15) a sled, 16) farm equipment.

A vulnerable road user also includes: 1) a person riding or leading an animal, 2) a peace officer who is outside a motor vehicle and performing the peace officer's duties in a right of way, 3) a person providing emergency services within a right-of-way, 4) a person engaged in work upon a roadway or upon utility facilities along a roadway, 5) a pedestrian.

Anytime one of the above referenced persons sustains serious bodily injury as the result of a traffic accident proximately caused by a motor vehicle driver's actions, the driver of that motor vehicle may be charged with the crime of vulnerable road user.

What is serious bodily injury?
Serious bodily injury is defined under the law as an injury that involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, or a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, or fractures, or burns of the second or third degree.  The injury at issue may be at the time of the actual injury or at a later time.

What about restitution?
Restitution is a factor in any criminal traffic case where a person's conduct causes a pecuniary loss to a victim.  Thus restitution may be assessed in a vulnerable road user case where the out of pocket expenses (pecuniary losses) to the victim exceed the driver's auto insurance policy.  If there is a disposition in the case and restitution has not been determined, the court will often times reserve restitution for 91 days to determine the amount of restitution.  The driver/defendant in the case is entitled to a hearing on restitution.
Denver Criminal Traffic Attorney Monte Robbins has experience in defending against Colorado's new Vulnerable Road User charge. If you've been charged with Colorado's Vulnerable Road User, your liberty, finances, and driver's license may be at risk. Contact Attorney Monte Robbins today for a free confidential case consultation at 303-355-5148.

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