According to an American Community survey, 3.1 percent of commuters in Washington, D.C. ride a bicycle to and from work, which places DC seventh among cities with a population over 200,000; in 2000, the number was only 1.2 percent.
Washington, D.C. also has the second-highest rate of people walking to work, at 12.1 percent, just behind Boston, at 15.1 percent.
What Can DC Drivers Do To Prevent Accidents With Bicyclists?
At Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P., we work to prevent bicycle accidents before they even occur. With hundreds of thousands of new bicyclists in the city, they may not be as familiar with the roads or traffic. In addition to that, we constantly have thousands of tourists walking throughout the city, and using our mass transit system.
To share roadways safely with bicyclists, drivers should:
- Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Watch for bicyclists and yield to them when appropriate
- Maintain a safe distance when passing a bicyclist
- Check for bicyclists before opening a car door
As A Cyclist, It Is Important to Know Your Rights
If you have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident with a vehicle, it is important to know your legal rights and how the law applies to your situation. There is contributory negligence in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, which means if the jury thinks you contributed to an accident in any degree, you get no compensation. Even if you are partly responsible, you are not eligible for compensation. In our law, if you share the blame, then you recover nothing.
Koonz’s Did You Know: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that helmets cut a bicyclist’s risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.