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Personal Injury Lawyer
Vancouver & Southwest Washington

A Bicycle Accident Attorney You Can Count On After Your Crash

Vancouver, WA attorney Colin Scott helps you recover compensation

The Pacific Northwest is one of the nicest places in America to ride a bicycle. And with good reason. Washington consistently ranks as one of the most bike-friendly states in the country. But despite efforts to promote bicycle safety, accidents still happen that leave bicyclists seriously injured. The Scott Law Firm, PLLC fights for their rights.

Bicycle accident attorney Colin Scott is an avid cyclist himself who commutes to work regularly by bike. He knows the impact an accident can have on cyclists and their families. Our firm is dedicated to helping victims recover the compensation they need to rebuild their lives, including individuals who have been injured in bicycle accidents.

Bicyclists have very little protection. They can be left with serious injuries that require surgery, hospitalization, medication, physical therapy and other treatment. The medical expenses can add up quickly and become overwhelming. But insurance companies may question the seriousness of your injuries, or they may claim you are partially at fault and will try to pay you as little as possible.

That's why you need an experienced attorney on your side. Attorney Colin Scott can investigate to find out what really happened. He knows where to look for evidence and how to build a strong case that can prove a negligent driver caused your crash. He can then fight to hold that driver accountable.

Colin can help you recover compensation for things like current and future medical expenses, lost wages and other damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. When insurance companies see he is prepared to fight for you in court, they often make a settlement offer. As your attorney, Colin will insist on a settlement that meets your needs. And you, the client, will ultimately decide whether to accept or reject any settlement offer that is made.

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, learn more about how we can help. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney by contacting us online or calling 360-718-3640.

Washington Bicycle Laws

Below are some general bicycle tips you should know before riding a bicycle in the State of Washington. Attempts were made to ensure this information is accurate. However, it is not always possible to update this information on a regular basis. If you have a specific question regarding the bicycle laws in Washington, contact an attorney for legal advice. Remember, it is your responsibility to know and follow the law.

General bicycle laws

  • A bicycle is a vehicle: The law treats bicycles the same as any other vehicle for most purposes, unless specifically excluded. That means bicyclists of all ages generally have all the same rights and responsibilities as motorists in Washington. Just like other road users, cyclists who violate traffic laws may be cited and given a ticket.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals: When riding with traffic, obey all traffic signs.
  • Ride with the flow of traffic: It is against the law in Washington to ride a bicycle against the flow of traffic.
  • Riding abreast: No more than two cyclists may ride abreast (side-by-side).
  • Intersections: Cyclists can generally navigate intersections in the same manner as other vehicles. A cyclist can also dismount and use the crosswalks as a pedestrian.

Safely passing bicycles

  • Move-over rule: On roads with two or more lanes moving in the direction of travel, drivers must move one lane over, when it is safe to do so, in order to pass the cyclist.
  • Three-foot passing rule: On roads where there is only one lane moving in the direction of travel, motorists must pass cyclists “at a safe distance, where practicable of at least three feet,” according to Washington Revised Code 46.61.110. If there is insufficient room on the cyclist’s left to safely pass in the same lane, then the driver must remain behind the cyclist until it is safe to move into the oncoming lane to pass.

Where you can ride

  • Bike lanes optional: Bicyclists in Washington may generally ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder, or traffic lane—whichever is safest under the circumstances. Cyclists riding at the speed of traffic may use the middle of the traffic lane.
  • Sidewalk riding: Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in business districts and anywhere restricted or prohibited by traffic control devices. When riding on a sidewalk in areas where it is legal to do so, cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians.
  • Highways: In many situations, bicyclists can ride on public highways, but designated sections of state highways may be closed to bicycles due to safety concerns.
  • Local restrictions: Counties and municipalities may adopt ordinances banning cycling on specific roads or sidewalks.

Bicycle safety

  • Helmets: Washington does not have a statewide helmet law. However, all military installations require bicyclists to wear a helmet. Additionally, many cities and counties require helmet use with bicycles. For instance, the City of Vancouver, WA requires all cyclists to wear a helmet, regardless of age.
  • Brakes: Bicycles must have a brake or brakes capable of making the wheels skid on clean, dry, level pavement.
  • Maintaining control: Cyclists must have at least one hand on the handlebars and maintain control of the bicycle at all times, according to Washington Code 46.61.775.
  • Riding at night: By law, cyclists riding at night must use a white headlight visible from at least 500 feet ahead and a rear reflector or red taillight visible up to 300 feet from behind.
  • Ride to the right: Generally, if traveling below the speed of traffic, you should ride your bicycle as far to the right as possible, provided it is safe to do so. (Watch out for loose gravel, grates, ice, parked cars, etc.) Exceptions include preparing to turn or passing another vehicle. On a one-way street, it may also be legal to ride to the left.

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Bicycle Safety

Bicycles are considered vehicles in the state of Washington. That means that as a bicyclist, you have certain rights. It also means you have certain responsibilities to operate your bicycle safely at all times. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on the road:

  • Obey traffic signs and signals.
  • Never ride against traffic.
  • Follow lane markings. For example, don't turn left from the right lane.
  • Don't pass on the right.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Never wear headphones or earbuds.
  • Use a white front light and red rear light or reflector at night (required by law).
  • Use hand signals when turning.
  • Use a rear-view mirror.
  • Wear bright/reflective clothing.
  • Make eye contact with drivers.
  • Be alert for road hazards.
  • Keep your bike well maintained. Replace worn parts and components as needed.

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Dooring accidents

This happens when a motorist or passenger in a car opens the door quickly without first looking for bicyclists. The result is that the bicyclist is unable to brake in time and crashes into the door. Dooring accidents can cause serious injuries. An injured bicyclist can face mounting medical bills and weeks or months of recovery.

The state of Washington and local towns and municipalities have laws that require people to use caution when exiting a motor vehicle next to a traffic lane. Attorney Colin Scott can investigate your case to prove negligence and help you recover compensation for your injuries.

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Distracted Drivers and Bicycle Accidents

When drivers are distracted, they don't see bicyclists on the road. Examples of distracted driving include texting, adjusting dashboard controls, eating or drinking, reaching for something on the floor and talking to passengers. The result is often a collision that can leave a bicyclist seriously injured.

Distracted driving can be difficult to prove. Many drivers deny responsibility. Attorney Colin Scott can investigate. He knows where to look for evidence that can show a driver was distracted at the time of your crash. He can fight to hold the negligent driver accountable and help you recover compensation.

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Road Hazards

A hazard in the road can cause a bicycle accident. Most bicycles have thin tires, and a hazard can cause even an experienced cyclist to fall or lose control. Examples of common road hazards include potholes, sewer grates, and railroad and trolley tracks. These hazards are sometimes hard to see or avoid.

State, counties, cities and other public agencies charged with maintaining roads can be held responsible for accidents caused by road hazards. But recovering compensation can be complicated. That's why you should contact an experienced attorney to fight for you.

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Bicycle Accidents at Intersections

Intersections are very busy places, with cars and bicycles moving in different directions. It's easy for a driver who isn't paying close attention to crash into a bicycle. For example, a driver making a left turn may not see an oncoming bicycle and turn directly into its path. Or, a driver turning right could fail to check the mirror and hit a bicyclist who was behind a car.

Attorney Colin Scott can investigate to get all the facts. He can fight to hold negligent drivers accountable and help injured bicyclists, like you, recover compensation. Call today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.

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