Bicyclists: Understanding Your Rights & Responsibilities

Free Case Evaluation

The state of Washington, according to the revised code (RCW) 46.61.755, views a bicycle as any other vehicle. In other words, state laws impart the same rights and responsibilities to bicyclists as they do to other motor vehicle operators. Whether you’re a bicyclist or a driver in Tacoma, read up on what the law expects of you, and make it a point to abide by the rules of the road in order to prevent serious accidents.

Rules of the Road Bicyclists in Washington Need to Know

Some of the more important rules of which cyclists should be aware:

  • obey regular traffic rules or face ticketing;
  • cyclists can ride no more than two abreast;
  • there are some roadways closed to bicyclists for safety reasons. To determine what’s legal in an area, check with the Washington Department of Transportation;
  • cyclists are required to ride with a white front light visible for 500 feet and a red rear reflector or a rear red light when riding at night; and
  • every cyclist in Pierce County must use a helmet when riding.


Taking Measures to Promote Safety

Everyone on the road, be it a driver, a cyclist, or a pedestrian, needs to adhere to traffic laws and avoid distractions to ensure a greater safety for everyone.

Pierce County Department of Recreation provides a list of safety rules for cyclists to reduce risk:

  • wear a helmet every time you ride - not only is it the law, it reduces the risk of head injuries by 85 percent, it notes, citing a 1989 study from the New England Journal of Medicine;
  • ride defensively and never assume the drivers are looking out for you;
  • ride with traffic - follow the same traffic rules as you would if you were driving a car;
  • use hand signals approximately 100 feet before you turn;
  • ride predictably - don’t make any sudden moves that surrounding drivers will not expect and use signals and ride in a straight path; and
  • be as visible as possible - wear bright clothing and use reflective tape at night.


Your Rights Should an Accident Occur

Even when you’ve taken all the necessary steps to avoid risk, that doesn’t mean surrounding drivers will always be as attentive as you. If a cyclist is injured in a collision, they retain the right to file a claim against the responsible party to pursue compensation for their injuries.

Cyclists can recover restitution for losses such as:

  • current and future medical bills;
  • loss of wages;
  • disfigurement and loss of earning capacity;
  • pain and suffering; and
  • mental anguish.

If your loved one was killed in a bicycle motor vehicle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim for damages. Speak to a local attorney to determine your options and how best to proceed with your claim.

After a Bicycle Accident in Tacoma, Call Max Meyers

If you or a loved one were recently injured in an accident in the Tacoma area, feel free to call our injury firm, Max Meyers Law PLLC. Call or 425-399-7000 today to schedule a free legal consultation.

Max Meyers
Connect with me
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.