Bicycling is an extremely popular activity in Washington State; as more enthusiasts take to the road, you need to keep a few things in mind to ride responsibly and safely. It is also important to know what you should do if you or a loved one is injured in a bike-related accident.
How popular is bicycling?
Did you know Washington built one of the first bike routes in the United States? The Washington Department of Transportation considers bicycling a key component of the state’s transportation system. For years, the state was ranked number one by the League of American Bicyclists as the top “bike friendly” state, but we have recently been outpaced by Oregon and Massachusetts.
How many bicyclists are killed each year?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates 932 people were killed in the U.S. while bicycling in 2020 (the most recent year of data), with most fatalities resulting from head injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes the top causes of accidents are failure to yield right of way and bicyclists not being visible.
What is Washington doing to ensure bicyclists’ safety?
In March 2022, the state legislature approved the Move Ahead Washington bill, its largest bicycling infrastructure and bike education funding bill. Learn more about the Move Ahead Washington bill here. It includes funding for:
- Protected bike and pedestrian infrastructure
- Multi-use trails
- Statewide public school bike education programs
Additionally, communities regularly hold their own bicycle safety programs for children and adults.
What are some tips for riding safely?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has several helpful tips for riding safely, including:
- Ride a bike that fits you and is in good working condition
- Wear gear that protects you and makes you visible to drivers, including a helmet
- Ride one person per seat and keep your hands on the handlebars unless signaling
- Tie shoelaces and tuck in your pant legs to avoid getting them caught in the chain
- Don’t hold items in your hand while riding. Carry them in a backpack or strapped to the bike
- Plan your route ahead of time
- Ride in the same direction as vehicle traffic
- Obey signs, signals and road signs as if you were driving a car
- Ride undistracted
What do you do if you have been injured in a bicycle accident?
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident:
- Call 911 and wait for law enforcement to arrive
- Ensure your statement on what happened is included in the accident report
- Get contact and insurance information from the driver and ask witnesses to provide their contact info as well
- Seek medical assistance, even if you think your injuries are minor
- Document your injuries and damage to your clothing, bicycle, safety gear and any other equipment involved
- Talk with an experienced bicycle accident attorney to discuss the details of your accident and possible recoverable damages
How can PCVA help if you are injured in a bicycle accident?
PCVA’s experienced attorneys can help you understand your options for pursuing compensation and damages if you have been injured in a bicycle accident. If you would like to speak with a PCVA lawyer, complete our intake form or call us at (253) 948-3199 or (206) 536-2850. All conversations are confidential.
How much does PCVA charge?
Our work is done on a contingency basis. This means we only get paid if we win your case.