Cyclists Rights in Washington State

March 22, 2024

Since 1948, CCD Law has helped bicycle accident victims in Spokane and the surrounding area. Our region of Washington State has many spots that are popular with bicyclists, to the point that it has over 700 miles of bicycle routes. To learn more about your options, contact our Spokane bicycle accident lawyers for a free consultation.

What Are Your Rights as a Bicyclist in Washington?

As a bicyclist, it’s important to understand what your rights are–both on the road and in the legal process. To that end ,there’s a few important distinctions when it comes to your rights as a bicyclists in Washington:

  • General responsibilities – When riding a bike on the road, you have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicle drivers.
  • Where you can ride – You’re allowed to ride your bike on a path, lane, shoulder, or travel part of the road. You’re also allowed to ride side by side on the road with another bicyclist, as long as you don’t go over two wide.
  • Riding at night – You’re allowed to ride your bike at night so long as your front and rear reflectors are visible for 500 feet.

Even with these rights, it’s important to do everything you can to stay safe while riding a bike in Washington, from wearing a helmet and safety gear to learning how to make yourself known and visible to drivers you share the road with. But looking a bit deeper, it’s important to know how bike accidents usually happen and what you should do if you’re in one.

How Can You Reduce the Chances of a Bicycle Accident in Washington?

Obviously, the best way to avoid the damage of a bicycle accident is not to be in one to begin with. This is easier said than done, though. While you can account for your own actions while biking, you can’t account for the actions of drivers and other bicyclists you’ll come into contact with. Still, here are a few safety tips:

  • Know the rules of the road, especially regarding right of way, and how they apply to you and other cyclists.
  • Avoid wearing headphones or using your phone while riding to maintain focus and awareness of your surroundings.
  • Be mindful of drivers’ blind spots, as they are a common cause of accidents involving bicycles. Make yourself visible and avoid riding in blind spots whenever possible.
  • Keep a safe distance from parked cars to reduce the risk of dooring accidents, especially when passengers are present.
  • Increase your visibility by wearing reflective or fluorescent clothing and using lights on both yourself and your bike, especially at night.
  • Always use a headlight for better visibility, regardless of the time of day.
  • Report any hazards like potholes to the appropriate authorities, like your local public works department or Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
  • Stay vigilant for negligent or aggressive drivers and cyclists, and try to avoid them while alerting the authorities if necessary.

What Should You Do After an Accident?

While following these tips will go a long way toward keeping you safe, there’s no way to totally avoid an accident. So, if you’re in one, here’s what you should do:

  • Get medical attention on the scene, then later at an ER or urgent care.
  • Report the accident to local police and ambulance services. Let them respond and cooperate with their investigation.
  • Gather information and evidence, including insurance information from anyone involved. Use your phone to take pictures and videos of the scene and any damage.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company, and follow up with them for their claims process.
  • Don’t repair your bike or any other damaged property right away. Document it for your damages.
  • Don’t admit fault if you talk to anyone about the accident, especially an opposing insurance company. Also, don’t post about the accident on social media.

Remember, our team of bicycle accident lawyers can handle any claim or situation you may find yourself in. We’ll help you gather evidence, investigate the accident itself, and then guide you through the claims process.

Experienced Legal Support for Bicycle Accidents in Washington

At CCD Law, we understand how difficult a bicycle accident can be on you and your family. Our team is made up of experienced lawyers that are dedicated to making sure you understand your rights in this situation. We can also guide you through the legal process and support your claim for damages, which can include your:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship or quality of life
  • Wrongful death expenses

Our main goal is to make sure you’re satisfied and stress-free, allowing you to focus on your health. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help.

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