Top 5 WA State Bike Laws to Remember with More Bicyclists on the Road
Bike sales in Whatcom County have exploded over the last couple of months with families at home due to Coronavirus looking for things to do and keep fit in the beautiful spring weather. There are less bike commuters right now – just like there are less car commuters – so it is safe to say that much of the new bike traffic is coming from people out for a pleasure ride and that it will continue through early fall. Sales of entry level bikes seem to be the most popular, which indicates an explosion of new riders who may not be familiar with the rules and responsibilities of cycling. With more bikes on the roads and trails, this is a good time to remind and teach new cyclists about Washington State bike laws meant to keep everyone safe and accountable.
Top 5 WA State bike laws
Here is a list of top five bike laws for new cyclists to understand before heading out onto the trails or roadways:
- 61.790 While it is legal to bicycle drunk, the police have the right to impound a bicycle if the rider is deemed too drunk.
- 61.758 Cyclists must make signal turns with their left hand (right=up, left=out, stop=down). A right-hand signal for a right turn is an acceptable alternative.
- 61.110 The requirement to overtake on the left (“safe passing”) went into effect on January 1, 2020. This means that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian or bicycle that is on the road or on the right-hand shoulder or bicycle lane of the road must pass to the left at a safe distance to clearly avoid coming into contact with the pedestrian or bicyclist.
- 61.755 Bicycles have all the same rights and responsibilities as cars, which means that they must follow traffic signals and yield to pedestrians.
- 61.750 On that note, bicyclists may be ticketed for violating traffic laws.
In addition to the laws, the best ways for bicyclists to prevent being in an accident involving a motor vehicle is to be aware of cars, pedestrians, other cyclists and obstacles on the road and not to act in surprising ways such as darting out from behind a parked car.
Bicycle accidents involving a car
If you have been injured in an accident with a car while cycling, it is vital to report the accident to the police, file a police report immediately and to seek prompt medical treatment. Document and preserve the evidence from the scene of the accident if you are able and keep receipts and transcripts from all resulting medical care. You should also notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible but do not speak to the at-fault insurance agency or accept a settlement without first speaking with a bike accident attorney.
If you have lost a loved one or been injured through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!