Tips for Bicycle Safety!
Biking is a fun way to exercise, commute, and explore! But collisions and falls can put a quick stop to the fun. The attorneys at Ressler & Tesh have some tips designed to help keep you safe when you’re in pedaling mode!
- Because bicycles are considered vehicles under Washington law, you must obey the traffic laws while riding on the roadways. For example, use proper signals when turning and slowing down, obey stop signs by coming to a complete stop, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, ride on the right side of the road, and don’t ride more than two abreast while using the street.
- Use a headlight and rear reflector at night, whether you are using the street, a sidewalk, or a trail. The law requires that your headlight be white and visible from 600 feet away, and that your rear reflector be red and visible from 300 feet away. Don’t use a flashing headlight—these are illegal because they can be distracting to oncoming traffic.
- Bicyclists have a bit more leeway about where they can ride than the drivers of cars do. A bicyclist can choose to ride in the street, on a sidewalk, or on the shoulder. Also, it is perfectly legal to change which part of the right-of-way you are using, so feel free to switch from the street to the sidewalk if you hit congestion, for example, or if it feels unsafe to ride in the roadway. Remember, however, that bicyclists (like car drivers) are required to use ordinary care at all times, so don’t suddenly dart from the sidewalk into the street, or pass a car by moving from the street onto the shoulder, without ensuring that it’s safe first.
- Wear a helmet! It is the law throughout King County (including Seattle) that you must wear a helmet while biking. Numerous other cities throughout the state of Washington have similar mandatory helmet laws. Having a well-fitting helmet on your head can make all the difference if you are involved in a bad collision while biking.
- Watch out for hazards in the road. A bicyclist runs the risk of a nasty spill if he or she fails to exercise proper caution around certain road conditions which are especially dangerous to two-wheelers. These hazards include parallel-slat drainage grates, gravel, ice, and railroad tracks. Don’t ride over grates which can grab your tire. Take extreme care on gravel and ice. And always cross railroad tracks at a right angle.
While we hope that everyone can enjoy biking safely, there are unfortunate times when an injury can occur. If you are injured while biking due to the negligence of someone else, we can help. Please call our experienced bike accident lawyers at 206-388-0333. Ressler & Tesh would be happy to speak with you.