Bicyclists. Motorists. Traffic laws. Who has the right of way? What do they think they’re doing? Was THAT even legal? Do some of these questions go through your head
Sometimes it can get kind of confusing, or even annoying, when some don’t follow the rules of the road. Depending on where you live, do you even know what the rules of the road for bicycles are?
For example, in Washington state, a bicycle is considered a legal road vehicle, just like a car, and so bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists do. That means when there’s a stop sign, they stop. Green means go, red means stop, and you yield on yellow. If there’s any doubts on the law and bicycles, click here for information on Washington bicycle safety laws.. You can also request a free pocket guide as well.
Bicycle Safety Laws
Being a bike traveler requires being aware of some additional laws regarding safety on the road. Find out if any of these issues addressed by the state are applicable to you here.
Unlike some states, Idaho is far more lenient in their laws regarding bicyclists. They’ve also pioneered a progressive bicycling law that many states have unsuccessfully advocated in adopting. Despite many grassroots organizations arguing for its legal implementation. It’s called the Idaho Stop Law. It allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. It first became law in Idaho in 1982. Several states have adopted certain aspects of the Idaho Stop Law, but Idaho remains the only state that has both a stop as a yield and red light exception that allows bikers to continue on through red lights after yielding. http://www.idahostatesman.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/words-deeds/article172582841.htm
Advocates for enacting a similar law, like California, have polarized the cycling community. Some use studies showing the Idaho Stop Law has not resulted in an increase in injuries or fatalities, in the over three decades since it went into effect, while other lawmakers argue that incorporating a Stop Law would be divisive, undermining “Same Road, Same Rules” or “Share the Road” safety mantras. They back-peddle on changing any road laws that would give exceptions to some travelers.
There’s no dispute laws promoting safety for cyclists need to be revisited by state lawmakers nationwide. Recent studies suggest that cycling deaths are rising faster than other deaths on the road. In 2015, the most current data available, bicyclist deaths had risen by 12.2 percent to 818, up from 726 in 2014. According to the report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and funded by State Farm, that’s the highest number of cycling deaths since 1995.
Chris Mullen, director of technology research for State Farm stated: “We need to ensure that bicyclists and motorists can share roads safely. Unfortunately, bicyclists are vulnerable and much more susceptible to serious injury or death when on the roads with vehicles. That’s why it is so critical that we examine the factors surrounding these crashes and leverage a variety of proven tools to improve bicyclist safety nationwide.” https://www.bicycling.com/news/cycling-deaths-are-on-the-rise
Why Should You Care about Bicycle Laws?
Cycling deaths may have increased partly because the growing trend and influx of new riders on the road. In decades past, most cycling casualties were younger victims, but now the average age in cycling fatalities is 45. With a surge in cycling as a great form of exercise among those wanting to be more active and health conscious, hobby riders and those concerned about the environment, have also added to the growing numbers.
Whether you are a motorist with four-wheels or cyclist with two, watch out for fellow travelers, especially those more vulnerable and easily hurt. Know the laws in your area. Bicycle safety should be a concern for everyone on the road.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident in Washington or Idaho, don’t hesitate to contact Fielding Law Group for a free consultation today. Don’t let an accident WRECK you! Their team of legal experts are ready to help you get your life back.
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