A 13-year-old cyclist was killed after being struck by a car on Pacific Avenue in Parkland, Washington, Tuesday. The boy was crossing in a marked crosswalk with blinking signals when he was struck by a Jeep Wrangler operated by a 27-year-old Lakewood woman. The Washington State Patrol did not issue charges or a ticket to the at-fault driver.
“Charges would only be forwarded if there was a criminal offense, such as being impaired and killing somebody, or driving in a manner that is, basically, reckless,” said Trooper Robert Reyer. “We could completely exclude both. There was no impairment, and there was no reckless driving.”
The CDC reports there are nearly 1,000 cyclist deaths each year in the United States with most of them occurring in urban areas because of collisions with motor vehicles. Deaths peak in the warmer months between May and October. Deaths have increased since the onset of the pandemic due to an increase in bicycle use for transportation and leisure.
Below, we’ve provided answers to frequently asked questions about bike accidents as well as information that addresses issues regarding bike accidents in Washington State.
What are some important safety tips when biking on the road?
It’s not possible to control how others operate their vehicles, but it is possible to take certain safety precautions that can limit the likelihood of a bike accident or the severity of injuries you may suffer should an accident occur.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Obey all traffic laws.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing.
- Never ride at night, and if you do, make sure to have bright blinking lights on your bike.
- Be continually on the lookout for hazards.
- Assume drivers don’t see you and make eye contact before crossing in front of a vehicle.
- Minimize distractions and keep your head up.
What laws regulate bicycle accidents in Washington State?
When riding on the road in Washington, bicyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities of a vehicle driver and may be ticketed for violating traffic laws. Bicyclists may choose to ride in the travel lane, bike lane or shoulder based on their comfort level. If choosing to ride on a sidewalk, cyclists must yield to pedestrians.
State law does not require helmet use; however, wearing a helmet is the single most important thing you can do to minimize your chances of injury or death. Some cities and counties in the state have their own helmet laws. Here is a list of locations that require helmets.
What do I do if I was injured in a bicycle accident?
If you’ve been in an accident, first find out if anyone needs medical attention and dial 911 immediately for an ambulance if they do. Make sure everyone is safe, and move to the side of the road if possible.
Everyone should remain at the scene of the accident, including witnesses. Call the police to take a report, but don’t take responsibility for the accident without speaking to a personal injury attorney first. Take thorough pictures of the scene and all damage, and exchange insurance and contact information with drivers involved in the accident.
What kind of compensation could I be entitled to for a bike accident in Washington State?
In Washington State, the law reduces any recovery you are entitled to by your share of the blame for the accident. In other words, a jury verdict will be reduced by 25% if you are found to be 25% to blame for the accident.
Compensatory damages include reimbursements for medical costs, any lost income, and pain and suffering. People involved in very serious accidents may be entitled to damages from emotional distress, such as sleep loss or anxiety. There could also be damages for loss of enjoyment if you are unable to participate in favorite activities because of your injuries. If a driver was especially reckless or intoxicated, you might be entitled to punitive damages.
If a family member died in a bike accident, your family may be entitled to wrongful death damages. Although no amount of money will ever make up for the death of a loved one, these damages are meant to compensate for lost wages, funeral expenses and the emotional trauma caused by a sudden, untimely death.
How can PCVA help if you were injured in a bicycle accident?
It’s a good idea to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to give a detailed account of the bike accident when your memory is fresh. If circumstances allow, extensive pictures of the bicycle accident are preferable, and it’s a good idea to document injuries as time progresses. Be sure to obtain copies of police reports and medical records. All this evidence will help build the strongest case.
An experienced personal injury attorney will examine your case and advise you about every step of the process to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Speak with a lawyer by completing our intake form or calling us at 253-948-3199 or 206-536-2850. All conversations are confidential.