Avoid Bike Accidents with Cars this Spring
With spring weather comes more bikes on the roads and sidewalks. The reality is that sometimes bike accidents with cars occur and they are particularly common at intersections. This could be because of misunderstandings about the way that cyclists are required to behave in intersections. Laws vary from state to state so it is important for both drivers and cyclists to be aware of the rules of the road in the places they drive. With that said a cyclist is more vulnerable to injury in a car accident with a bike and should take care to behave in expected ways to avoid confusing motorists.
Bike accidents with cars statistics
Traffic safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows 5,376 pedestrians and 818 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2015 along with 45,000 people injured. These deaths accounted for 17.7 percent of the 35,092 total U.S. fatalities that year and just over two percent of the total number of people killed and injured in traffic crashes. A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, funded by State Farm insurance, also determined that the increase in bike deaths of 12.2 percent in 2015 grew more quickly than the rise in overall traffic fatalities that year.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a bike accident with a car you could benefit from the help of a bike accident personal injury lawyer. He or she may be able to get you a settlement for pain and suffering several times what you could negotiate on your own.
WA State bike laws at intersections
When cycling on the road, cyclists are expected to follow the same rules as drivers which means stopping at the line of the intersection on a red light, slowing down for a yellow light, proceeding on a green light and using hand signals to indicate turns. For their part, drivers are expected to watch out for bike riders.
If a cyclist chooses to be on the sidewalk then they assume the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians. At an intersection that means that a cyclist should use the crosswalk to cross the street but legally they may do so on the bike or by walking the bike across the road. To be clear, WA State laws state that “no person shall drive any vehicle on a sidewalk” and that bicycles fit the definition of a vehicle.
Because bike riders have the ability to choose between acting like a pedestrian or the driver of an un-motorized vehicle, some cyclists end up switching between the two roles based on what they feel is most convenient in the moment. It probably goes without saying that unpredictable behavior increases the chance of bike accidents with cars and the law does prohibit cyclists from darting out into a roadway.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!