Spokane Bicycle Accident Attorney
Protecting Cyclists On Spokane Roads
Spokane has its fair share of dangerous intersections, risky drivers, and too many bike crashes. More people than ever before are out bicycling: for exercise, recreation, to run errands, on the commute to work, or to conserve energy. Yet too often negligent drivers are frequently ignorant of Washington laws that protect bicyclists and provide them the same rights and responsivities to use public roads as motorists.
Bicycle riders are injured or killed by drivers who fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes, turn directly in front of oncoming bicyclists, back out of driveways without looking, sideswipe cyclists traveling on the shoulder, open doors in front of bicyclists, fail to stop at stop signs, drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or otherwise drive in a manner which risks the lives of cyclists.
Safer People Mean Safer Streets: Preventing Two-Wheeled Tragedies
Bicycle riders involved in accidents on our roads are suffering serious injuries and fatalities. These accidents are, more often than not, the fault of a motor vehicle driver who was not paying close enough attention. In 2014, according to the NHTSA, 50,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic incidents and over 725 were killed. When drivers of cars or trucks do not pay adequate attention and make moves without looking for others, it endangers lives.
The top mistakes that drivers make include:
- Left turning vehicle through a gap in traffic
- Left turning vehicle at an intersection
- Right turning vehicle overtaking a cyclist
- Right turning vehicle traveling ahead of a cyclist
- Rear-ended by a vehicle when merging across lanes to turn left
- Rear-ended by a passing vehicle
- Doored on the passenger’s side
- Doored on the driver’s side
- Sideswiped by a passing vehicle
When handling your case, Sweetser Law Office will hire the best available accident reconstruction experts to prove the at-fault driver was the cause of the accident. We will personally interview every individual who witnessed the incident and thoroughly investigate the crash. We help you understand and navigate the medical treatment process and billing issues. We also can powerfully negotiate with insurance companies to protect you from their attempts to low-ball your claim.
Washington State Bicycle Laws
When riding a bicycle in our state, here are a few of the rules you should be aware of:
- The state does not require helmets. However, local cities and counties often do. For example, Spokane requires helmets for bikes and scooters for anyone above one year of age. Spokane County requires helmets for individuals aged three to 16.
- Bicyclists riding on roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. This means you can be ticketed for violating any traffic laws.
- Only two bicyclists may ride side by side on roads.
- Parents and guardians are responsible for the behavior of their children/wards in bicycle safety and adherence to bicycle laws.
- Certain roads may be closed to bicyclists due to safety reasons under state law or local ordinances.
- When riding at night, bicyclists are required to have a white front light and a red rear reflector or red rear light.
- Bicyclists are allowed to bike on paths, shoulders, bike lanes, or other travel lanes according to their safety needs.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
The aftermath of a bicycle accident can be confusing and dangerous. Here are tips for safety as well for making successful claims after an accident.
- Ensure you are out of the way of ongoing traffic.
- Call 911 if you are injured.
- Call the police and get a report.
- Do not admit fault.
- Get driver information, such as name, address, license plate number, insurance, driver’s license, and phone.
- Get contact information from any witnesses.
- Take photos of the accident scene, including damage to your bike and your injuries.
- Get medical attention even if you feel you are not hurt. Some injuries do not show up for hours or days.
- Call our firm to get legal advice from a trusted attorney.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Every imaginable injury can be suffered in a bicycle accident. Bicyclists are uniquely vulnerable to injury due to the lack of physical protection when being struck or thrown in an accident.
Injuries can include concussions, brain injuries, catastrophic injuries, spinal injuries, fractures and broken bones, injuries to the shoulders, knees, and hips, whiplash, torn ligaments and joints, dislocations, lacerations, and more.
Compensation will be determined based on the type and extent of your injuries. You will typically be obtaining compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Damages may include your past and estimated future medical bills, lost time from work, pain and suffering, damage to your bike, and loss of earning capacity if you have suffered permanent disability. Our firm can help you make the strongest case possible when seeking appropriate damages.