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Staying Safe On Capital District Roads: Tips On Preventing Washington, D.C., Bicycle Accidents

For tourists and residents alike, Washington, D.C., is a great place to be a bicyclist. Visitors to our city are now offered an array of bicycle shares that allow them to explore every corner of our beautiful city. For those of us who live and work here, bikes offer a cheap and efficient way to get to work (and even a great way to avoid the Capital District’s infamous traffic).

On two wheels, however, you are much more vulnerable to the traffic that you share the road with. Other larger vehicles may have a harder time seeing you, and if contact does happen, even a light bump at low speeds can be a fatal event.

Just as the rules and laws for driving a car are only designed to keep responsible drivers safe from other law-abiding, responsible drivers so, too, are the laws designed for bicyclists. But just like a responsible driver, a cyclist following all of the rules can be injured by one other person’s negligence; in a bike accident, the results are sometimes devastating.

That is not to say that there is nothing you can do as a bicyclist to keep yourself safe — far from it. Each day, law enforcement officials cite bikers for common infractions that endanger both the bikers themselves and the surrounding drivers and pedestrians. Here is a small example of some of the things that you can refrain from in order to avoid a fine and serious injury:

  • Carrying something that prevents you from holding the handle bar with at least one hand: Being able to react quickly to hazards and obstructions is the key to staying upright and safe.
  • Disobeying traffic control devices: As a biker, you must follow the same traffic rules as cars — running a stop light or turning where you are not supposed to is dangerous and forbidden.
  • Traveling at excessive speeds: While bicycles usually are not traveling faster than the cars around them, there are times (especially in traffic and pedestrian congestion) that slow speeds are necessary for safety.
  • Improper equipment: If you plan on riding at night, your bike will need a steady or flashing light on the front, and a red reflector or red light for the back of the bike.

While some of these may seem straightforward and obvious, we all know how difficult it can be to resist the urge to take advantage of the flexibility of bicycle travel, especially in heavy traffic.

Sometimes, though, no matter how carefully you follow the rules, another person’s mistake can cause you harm. If you have been injured in a D.C. bike accident, contact the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia bicycle accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins today at 202-296-0666 for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys will work hard to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the maximum possible compensation for your pain and suffering.