Seattle’s estimated population is 3,433,000 people. Seattle is a vibrant city, lying between the Cascade Mountain range and Puget Sound. Seattle’s population has steadily grown for the past few years at a range of 0.8% on average. There are reported 169,000 active cyclists in the Seattle area. Unfortunately, in a busy city like Seattle, there are many pedestrian and cyclist accidents, with Seattle Times reporting that the number of injuries and deaths has doubled over the past few years.
At TorkLaw, we help cyclists in Seattle who have suffered an accident to get the right compensation they deserve.
Bicycle Accident Information
Unlike other drivers, cyclists use minimal protective gear, which can lead to serious injury. In the event of a collision with a vehicle, cyclists will usually bear most of the physical damages. Unfortunately, as the statistics in our sources state, the number of cyclist-related accidents is on the rise. When such accidents occur, the cyclist might have to undergo years of rehabilitation. In extreme cases, an accident can result in life-altering injuries.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are various causes for accidents, including driving behaviors, weather conditions, and other environmental factors. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the following reasons as the main factors behind cycling accidents:
- Roads and Intersections were identified as the main areas where the majority of cycling accidents occur. Bike lanes and road shoulders are less popular locations.
- The NHTSA reports that cycling accidents tend to occur in equal numbers during the day and the night. On the contrary, afternoons and evenings tend to carry higher numbers of accidents.
- The vast majority of accidents happen when a vehicle/truck tries to overtake the cyclist from behind or when the cyclist is about to enter the road or a crossing.
- Most accidents occur when the driver of a vehicle or a truck stops paying attention to the road and forgets to yield where pedestrians and cyclists have the right of way.
- Another important fact is the consumption of alcohol by motorists and cyclists alike, as well as speed.
Cyclists quite often get sideswiped by motorists. On many occasions, accidents happen when a motorist (or their passenger) opens the vehicle door without checking, resulting in a cyclist colliding with the door. This type of accident is a ‘dooring.’ Doorings are often a leading factor in serious injuries for cyclists.
Cyclists in Seattle and Their Rights
Cyclists have the same legal rights and obligations as everyone else utilizing the roads, including pedestrians and motorists.
However, the following particular rules apply to cyclists:
- Cyclists can not have passengers on their bicycles. The only expedition is the carrying of small children when the appropriate safety accommodations are in place.
- Cyclists are required to use light reflectors on their bikes (sunset/sunrise)
- Cyclists are required to use appropriate cycling lanes when available.
- In Seattle, cyclists are allowed to drive on sidewalks. However, pedestrians have the right of way.
- In Seattle, cyclists must abide by all traffic laws and signs, with additional restrictions being applied to areas where bike lanes are not available.
Although cyclists might not always abide by the signs and the laws, they might still be entitled to compensation in the event of an accident; TorkLaw might be able to help you receive compensation.
Other Important Rights and Obligations of Cyclists:
- Cyclists in Seattle do not generally have the right of way on the roads. They share the same right-of-way laws as pedestrians when riding on sidewalks and all right-of-way laws with motorists when riding on roads.
- Cyclists who are riding their bikes under the road speed limit are obligated to use the bike lane. If there are no bike lanes available, then cyclists in Seattle are obligated to ride their bikes as near the right curb as possible, clearing the road for motorists.
- If a cyclist experiences a collision outside of bike lanes, they might still be eligible for compensation. If you find yourself in this situation, TorkLaw might be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries.
- Since wearing a helmet is not mandatory in Seattle, and Washington state in general, not wearing a helmet is not an obstacle when seeking compensation for potential injuries. However, wearing a helmet can result in more severe injuries. In many cases, defendants will try to use the lack of a helmet to minimize the financial compensation. TorkLaw can help you negotiate this if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Common Injuries Associated with Cycling Accidents
Even a seemingly minor collision of a cyclist with a motorist can result in:
- Joint dislocation
- Bone fractures
- Facial injuries and damages
- Brain injuries
- Spinal damages and paralysis
- Tendon and ligament tears
In the event of an accident, since in Seattle, cyclists and motorists abide by the same laws, motorists cannot disclaim liability.
If you have sustained injuries due to private or public property hazards, you are still entitled to compensation. TorkLaw can help you navigate through the process of a property liability claim.
In some cases, cyclists suffer damages because of a defective bike. In such cases, you can still seek compensation under a product liability claim. Depending on what caused the defect, you might have to seek damages from the seller, the designer, the manufacturer, or the equipment supplier.
Seattle’s Liable Parties and Compensation
In Seattle, you can seek compensation if your injuries were caused by:
- Bike rental companies
- Car rental companies
- Bike manufacturer / designer / seller
- Other cyclists
- State or private property owner
If you suffered damages, you could claim compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost income while recovering
- Loss of employment
- Property damages (if your bike was damaged in the collision)
- General pain and suffering
- Rehab expenses
- Usage of medical equipment
- At-home hired help or nursing care
If you were in an accident involving your bike, keep in mind the statute of limitations, which is set at three years, applicable to all negligible actions. However, if you suffer a collision, there is no reason to wait. It is best to get in touch with a lawyer immediately before any evidence is no longer valid.
Finding the Right Legal Guidance
The aftermath of a collision for a cyclist can result in severe physical and emotional challenges. TorkLaw will help you navigate through the process of receiving the right support and compensation during your recovery.
After a collision, cyclists not only have to deal with the physical and emotional pain of the accident; they also have to fight for their right to receive help and compensation. Defendants and insurance companies will do their best to build a case that minimizes your claim to pay less. This is where TorkLaw can help you get the maximum compensation. If you have experienced an accident, we want you to focus on your recovery, and we will focus on all the legal paperwork to make sure you receive the max compensation.