DC Bike Commuting Peaked a Decade Ago But Remains an Important Mode of Transportation

By Peter DePaolis

According to an American Community survey from 2012, 3.1% of commuters in Washington, D.C. ride a bicycle to and from work, which places DC seventh among cities with a population of over 200,000. In 2000, the number was only 1.2%. 

Bicycling to Work Infographic

Washington, D.C. also has the second-highest rate of people walking to work, at 12.1%, just behind Boston, at 15.1%.

Even though bicycling to work is not the most popular form of transportation in the U.S., it remains an ideal choice for many people and an important safety factor for motorists and bicyclists to consider. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, wearing a helmet can cut the risk of a head injury while riding a bike by as much as 85%, but motorists need to take cyclist safety into consideration as well.

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. Understand more about your rights by speaking with a personal injury attorney in your area.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.