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The Washington, D.C. region is popular with bicyclists but experiences a growing number of accidents
Bicycling is becoming more popular in the Washington, D.C. region. Go to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association website for great information about regional trails, classes and events, and listings of recent bicycle crashes in the region.
Despite safety improvements, bicycle accidents are common in Washington, D.C.
According to Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, in 2012, 726 lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes nationally, just under two people every day of the year in the U.S. The death rate from bicycle crashes is high due to the relative lack of protection bicyclists have in an impact with a motor vehicle.
Bicycling laws in Washington, D.C. are meant to keep bicyclists and motorists safe
Washington, D.C. traffic-safety laws are designed to allow bicyclists to share the road safely with motor vehicles in an increasingly crowded space.
According to the District of Columbia Department of Transportation:
When bicycles are ridden with other traffic, cyclists must obey the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles.
At intersections, motorists must yield to cyclists as they would for other vehicles and pedestrians.
When passing a cyclist, motorists must move into an adjacent lane to the left if possible. If not, the motorist must pass with at least 3 feet of clearance.
Motorists must yield the right-of-way to a cyclist on a bicycle path or in a bike lane.
Motorists may not stop, park or drive on a designated bicycle path or lane unless they are entering or leaving an alley or driveway, performing official duties, directed by a police officer, or in an emergency situation.
A bicycle must be equipped with a white lamp in the front, visible from at least 500 feet.
Get information on bicycle crashes from the Metropolitan Police Department
This department is a good resource to get information after a bike crash.
Washington, D.C.'s Department of Motor Vehicles provides information on traffic laws and licensing requirements.
Washington, D.C. bicycle crashes have common causes and deadly outcomes
While helmets and proper reflective gear make bicycling safer, riding a bicycle is riskier than driving a car. Maintaining control is more difficult on two wheels, and when collisions happen, bicyclists are at greater risk of serious injury or death because they don't have an enclosed vehicle for protection.
Common causes of bicycle crashes include:
- Motorist turning across path of cyclist;
- Cyclist riding into the path of a motor vehicle;
- Cyclist turning right from a major road and from a minor road;
- Child cyclist playing or riding too fast.
When someone is injured in a Washington, D.C. bicycle accident, what needs to happen next?
In an injury bike crash, it is crucial to get appropriate medical treatment, regardless of the financial cost. The major hospitals in the area include:
As soon as possible, an injured person should contact their insurance company to find out how medical treatment is covered under their insurance policy. Since insurance policies often have unique provisions to deal with bicycle-accident injuries, it is important to review the policy and speak with the insurance adjuster to get clarification on coverage.
Personal injury lawyers offer a no-cost claim evaluation to help you.
Since there is no cost to speak with a lawyer, it is a good idea to learn more about your potential claim. Accident Data Center can connect you with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can provide you with information about your rights and options.