Traffic Laws for Bicyclists in DC

Traffic laws for bicyclists in DC are important because they protect cyclists from harm. The most important things a bicyclist needs to obey are the traffic signals. In addition, when there is a bike lane, the person must ride in the bike lane. Bicyclists should follow the traffic laws to avoid being hit by a car.

Other reasons for following the traffic laws are to ensure the bicyclist does not get a ticket and does not hit a pedestrian. Furthermore, observation of traffic laws could impact an individual’s bicycle accident case. A knowledgeable attorney could use their knowledge of traffic law to establish the at-fault party’s liability, and pursue a positive outcome for an individual. If someone has been injured in a bike crash, they should retain the services of an adept bike collision lawyer that could advocate for them.

Traffic Laws Specific to Bicyclists

Bicyclists need to follow the traffic laws for bicyclists in DC; especially when riding through intersections. Every day in DC, a bicyclist speeds through an intersection against the light. When a bicyclist does not follow traffic laws, they can be involved in a serious bicycle accident with devastating injuries.

Being visible to motorists is helpful in avoiding accidents. In the District, a bicyclist riding at night is required to have a white headlight that is visible for 500 feet and a red reflector on the back of the bicycle that is visible from 300 feet. While cycling on sidewalks is permitted outside the central business district, a bicyclist must yield to any pedestrian using the sidewalk.

Differences Between Traffic Laws for Bicyclists and Automobile Drivers

Automobile operators cannot ride in a bike lane. Also, a bicycle can proceed through a red light when it is safe to do so, whereas a car cannot. Additionally. a bicyclist has the option of riding on a sidewalk when there is no bike lane. A motorist cannot do that.

How Traffic Laws Impact Liability in Bicycle Accidents

The way that bicycle laws can impact liability in DC is, if the person driving the bike is at fault, their recovery is diminished by their percentage of fault. 

When a person is not following the law, they are held comparatively or completely negligent. Their recovery can be diminished or does not exist because of their negligent conduct.

It could also be completely diminished if the bicyclist is at fault for causing the accident. If a person is at fault for causing an accident, they are held liable. If they are not at fault, they are not held liable.

Role of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) advocates on behalf of bicyclists. By and large, updates to traffic laws for bicyclists in DC is at the discretion of the city council and occurs once every few years.

WABA is an excellent resource for keeping up to date on new bicycle laws that can affect bicyclists. They routinely publish any new laws or changes to laws. The Council of the District of Columbia has links on their website that can keep everyone updated on all laws; not just laws for bicycles. In order to learn more about WABA and local bicycle laws, an individual should reach out to a knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney that could answer their questions.