Bellevue Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Washington is considered the most bicycle-friendly state in America — it’s won that honor from the League of American Bicyclists every year from 2008-15. From the active state advocacy group, Washington Bikes, to the 175 miles of bicycle trails in King County alone, there is much to recommend the biking environment in Washington.
But when you have a lot of people cycling, you have a greater risk of accidents. Washington is fortunate to have fewer fatal bicycle accidents per million residents than the national average, but even one is too many. Understanding the laws can help keep you safe, and knowing your rights can help protect you in the case of an accident.
Understand the Law
The most important law bicyclists should understand is that they have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists while on the roadway. Whatever action you would, or would not, take in a car will also apply to your time on a bicycle. A bicyclist also may be ticketed for a moving violation committed while on a bicycle.
Some other important cycling laws to know include:
- Bicyclists can ride no more than two abreast on the roadway;
- A white front light and red rear reflector are required for night riding;
- Certain state highways are closed to bicycle traffic;
- Remember to use proper hand signals to turn or stop.
One law that does not exist on a statewide basis is a requirement to wear a helmet while biking. But many individual municipalities do have such a law, including King County. The county passed its law in 1993, and extended its enforcement to Seatle in 2003. The fine for not wearing a helmet is $30.
Can I Sue If I’m Injured in a Bicycle Accident?
Filing a claim as a victim of a bicycle/vehicle accident is very similar to filing a claim as a victim in a car accident. Remember that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as a motorist while on the roadway.
The key is to establish who is at fault. If another driver caused the accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover lost wages and money for medical bills, property damage and pain and suffering.
If a bicycle malfunction is found to be responsible for your accident, the manufacturer might be the defendant in your claim.
Finally, you might have recourse to sue the government if poor road conditions led to your accident. Washington state is unusual in this way; it waived its right to sovereign immunity back in 1961 and is the only state to fully do so. Sovereign immunity says a state or government entity may not be sued without it first granting permission, making it nearly impossible to do elsewhere.
Contact an Experienced Bellevue Bicycle Accident Lawyer
No matter the course of action you are considering, be sure to consult the experience personal injury attorneys at Lehmbecker Law to thoroughly review your options. At Lehmbecker Law, we offer free consultations for all cases, and our attorneys bring more than 40 years of combined experience to representing accident victims and their families in Seattle, WA. If you would like to discuss your case with one of our dedicated injury lawyers, please call (877) 335-2018 or contact us online today.