If you’re a year-round cyclist or bike commuter in the Pacific Northwest, you’ve probably noticed that the fair-weather cyclists have returned to the streets. May 18 was bike to work day, and cyclists, police, and cycling advocates were out in force to promote cycling as a safe and healthy alternative to commuting by car. With gas prices rising, longer days, and better weather, more people are ditching the car and opting to bike to work or school. Though Seattle is a bike friendly city and contains many safe bike routes, incidents between cars and bicycles are inevitable. Also, our city streets contain some hazardous areas where train tracks or potholes could cause a cyclist to crash. Many people from Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen have scary stories or know someone who was involved in a crash.
We hope you are never involved in a car-bike incident or a crash because of unsafe infrastructure. However, if you are, you should have a plan ready and consider seeking legal counsel from Bob Anderton ofWashington Bike Law. Bob is a daily bike commuter and is passionate about making Seattle a safer place to bike. He has been successfully representing injured cyclists since 1992, and is helping to make Seattle more bike-friendly by changing the way the city views cycling. Here’s a picture of Bob arriving at his office in the middle of a snow storm!
We asked Bob how people can plan for a bike crash. Bob pointed to multiple studies showing that the health benefits of bicycling outweigh the inevitable risks, and suggested that we not worry too much about crashing and focus instead on winning races and enjoying riding.
Bob suggested that people simply call him at 206-262-9290 for a free consultation if they get hit on their bikes or crash in an area that is not reasonably safe. He did say that people should remember to write down the license plate and driver’s license numbers of anyone else involved, especially if the police don’t come to the scene. If there are witnesses to your crash, get their names and contact information too.
But how soon after a bike crash should someone contact a lawyer? According to Bob, “As soon as possible. We don’t charge for consultations and you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster before you have thought through what has happened. You should not make a statement before you have consulted a lawyer. What you say can and will be used against you by the insurance company. Even if Washington Bike Law does not ultimately represent you, conversations with any lawyer you consult are generally protected by the attorney-client privilege. We can help you understand the rules of the road for bikes and what insurance may be available to cover your medical expenses, lost wages or income, property damage, as well as your non-economic damages (sometimes called pain and suffering).”
Bob’s office is located in downtown Seattle, just north of Pioneer Square. Bob and the other lawyers at Washington Bike Law have a “no fee without a recovery” policy. His website contains useful information, frequently asked questions, and the stories of several cases. Check him out, have a plan in case you do get involved in a collision, and ride safely out there!