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Washington Bicycle Laws

Bicycle Accident Lawyers here in Olympia, Spokane, and Tacoma to Help

The state of Washington has a number of bicycle laws in place to help protect cyclists and motorists. It is important to know and to understand these laws and to realize that cyclists are bound by existing traffic laws as well as to those specific to bicycles.

If you are ever involved in an accident, you will be required to prove that you were not at fault. Abiding by the law, and riding with due caution will greatly increase your chances of avoiding an accident. If, however, an accident proves unavoidable, being able to prove that you are a safe rider will greatly enhance the chances of successfully concluding any injury claim you may file.

Bike Helmets

Studies show that most bike fatalities occur when the cyclist is not wearing a helmet, a fact that has led many states to adopt helmet laws. The state of Washington currently has no such statute, but many cities and counties have adopted their own laws, including all of King County and Seattle.

Riding Your Bike On The Road

If you choose to ride your bike on the road, you are subject to the same laws, responsibilities, and rights as other vehicle drivers. These laws are clearly stated in RCW 46.61.755. Failure to follow these laws makes you vulnerable to traffic tickets and citations.

Riding Side By Side (RCW 46.61.770)

Riding alongside another bicyclist is legal in Washington. You cannot, however, ride alongside more than one other cyclist in the interest of not taking up too much of the road. In reality, riding single file on the right-hand side is the safest option.

Roads Closed To Bicycles

There are certain roads, like major highways, where bicycles are not allowed for safety reasons. These areas are usually marked with signs. Each county and city can choose to add restricted areas at any time, so cyclists are advised to thoroughly research their routes before a long trip.

Night Riding (RCW 46.61.780)

While riding a bike at night in Washington you are required to have a white light mounted on the front of sufficient strength to be seen for 500 feet. You are also required to have a red reflector on the back of the bike. A red light is recommended, but not required by law.

Riding On Shoulders

RCW 46.61.770 clearly makes it legal to ride your bike on paths, bike lanes, travel lanes, and the shoulder of the road.

These Washington bicycle laws are in place to make sure that both bicyclists and motorists are safe. Failure to follow these laws often results in deadly bicycle accidents. However, some accidents occur as a result of negligence on the part of motorists.

Distracted or drunk drivers, or those who are simply inattentive can and do cause catastrophic bicycle accidents. If you have been injured in such an accident, please contact the experienced attorneys of the Bernard Law Group to find out how we can help.


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