5 Things Cyclists in Washington State Need to Know

A bicycle is considered a legal road vehicle, similar to a car or motorcycle, in Washington state. The vast majority of drivers respect the rules of the road and the right of cyclists to share the pavement. However, drivers who don’t use reasonable care and caution leave cyclists uniquely vulnerable to catastrophic injuries and, unfortunately, death in the event of an accident. We have some tips below to ensure cyclists in Washington state know their rights. 

  1. Cyclists must have lights and/or reflectors when riding at night. State law requires any cyclist riding “during the hours of darkness” to outfit his or her bicycle with a white light and red reflector. The white light should be installed on the bike’s front and be visible from at least 500 feet away. The red reflector should be on the back. For safety reasons, cyclists are encouraged to install a lamp that emits a red light on the back in addition to the reflector. 
  2. Washington state’s “Safety Stop” law allows cyclists to yield instead of coming to a complete stop at stop signs. This doesn’t apply to traffic lights, stopped school buses, and stop signs situated at railroad crossings. Otherwise, cyclists are only required to yield at stop signs when there is no approaching traffic. You still have the option to come to a complete stop. 
  3. Drivers have the obligation to watch out for cyclists before opening their car doors. State law requires drivers to wait until it is “reasonably safe” to open a car door that’s adjacent to moving traffic. Still, it’s a good idea to avoid passing by stationary vehicles too closely on your bike. 
  4. You can still recover damages if the driver has no or insufficient insurance. Washington, like most other states, follows a fault-based system for insurance payouts after a wreck. This means the at-fault driver’s insurance policy or policies are responsible for covering property damage and bodily injury expenses. You may, however, dip into your own UIM (uninsured/underinsured motorist) policy if the driver does not have enough to cover expenses. 
  5. PIP (personal injury protection) insurance could pay in certain situations. A recent decision by the Washington Supreme Court allowed a cyclist who was injured by a car to recover compensation under his MedPay policy. MedPay is similar to PIP. The court ruled that the plaintiff was a “pedestrian” under applicable law and, therefore, deserved to recover. 

A Caring Attorney is a Call Away

Despite Washington’s reputation as a bicycle-friendly state, cyclists must be vigilant on the roads. The rules for insurance payouts after a bicycle-involved wreck are complicated. To maximize your chances of recovering what you deserve, you need to contact a responsive and experienced attorney. McMahon Law Group is ready to take your legal case and work tirelessly to put you in a better place. Contact our team to set up your initial consultation

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McMahon Law Group

Legal issues of any type can be a frightening and overwhelming experience, and certainly something you don’t want to face alone. Attorney Jacque McMahon and the McMahon Law Group will work closely with you to ensure you not only get the best legal representation possible, but that you are well-informed throughout the process. If you are facing legal issues, please contact us to discuss your situation and get the help you need.

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