Cyclists urged to install lights and reflectors on their bikes.

Photo courtesy of the Kennewick Police Department

Cyclists Need to Light their Way

All cyclists are being urged to install reflectors and lights on their bikes after a teen was hit by a car while riding his bike Sunday night in Kennewick.

Police officers were on the scene after receiving calls about the incident that occurred at the intersection of West 27th Avenue and South Conway Street.

A 17-year-old had been preparing to make a right turn onto South Conway before he was struck by a car. The motorist immediately stopped to check on the young man and called 911. After assessing the teen cyclist’s injuries, paramedics transported him to an area hospital for treatment. The extent of his injuries is presently unknown for this young cyclist.

Officers are using this unfortunate incident as a public safety reminder. Bicyclists need to install lights and reflectors as an important part of safe and legal bicycle operation. With bicycles being an integral part of public transportation, it’s only fair they do their part to be seen.

Vehicle motorists and cyclists alike are responsible for obeying all traffic laws and rules of the road. Having lights and reflectors make bicycles more visible to other motorists and are key to ensuring safe travels for everyone.

A local Kennewick cycle store owner encourages cyclists not only to get lights but to carry basic first aid and tire repair kits with them. As is the case with any vehicle, you never know when your ride will break down. Being prepared to manage potential hazards on the road can be a lifesaver. 

Washington Loves Cyclists!

Washington state has been chosen as the nation’s #1 most “Bicycle Friendly State” by the League of American Bicyclists for the 7th year in a row. That’s quite an accomplishment for our hustle-and-bustling state! Whether you’re a serious commuter or a leisurely rider, safety should be everyone’s primary motivation for complying with all state laws and information.

Some may not realize, but the law defines a bicycle as a vehicle. That means bicyclists must obey the rules of the road just as any other drivers, even pedestrians, on the road. The best way to avoid mishaps or accidents on the road include respecting the rights of all common motorists and cyclists.

Here are some safety tips for biking in Washington:

Obey all traffic signs and signals–Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.

  • Never ride against traffic – Motorists aren’t looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
  • Follow lane markings – Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.”
  • Don’t pass on the right – Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
  • Scan the road behind you – Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake – You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.
  • Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones – Always wear a helmet. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike.
  • Dress for the weather – In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing.
  • Use hand signals – Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic – Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
  • Choose the best way to turn left – There are two choices: (1) Like an auto: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
  • Make eye contact with drivers – Assume that other drivers don’t see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
  • Look out for road hazards – Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
  • Use lights at night – The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).
  • Keep your bike in good repair – Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.

Night Riders

Cyclists urged to install lights and reflectors on their bikes--it's the Law

Going to be cycling at night? You need a light–it’s the law. It only makes sense, as other vehicles need lights, so do cyclists.

Washington state law requires that cyclists that ride at night use a front lamp or light that emits a visible light of at least 500 feet and also have a rear reflector light. An actual taillight, pulsing or otherwise, is optional with the required reflector (RCW 46.61.780).

Shedding some Light on Cycling Safety

Bicycle lights make you more visible to others using the roads. We know that the more visible you are, the less likely you are to collide with other motorists, and vice-versa. Making smart choices in lighting and clothing can be critical to personal safety.

When it comes to cycling fashion, dark clothing can be hazardous to your safety! Wearing fluorescent or lighter clothing is important when riding at night.  For a quick fix or ready solution for any outfit–you can accessorize with Reflective tape. Retro-reflective tape can be added to the bicycle or used to easily enhance an outfit with just a few pieces of tape on your back.

Thoughtful placement of some reflective tape may mean the difference between staying in the dark or being seen.

More Safety Information

There are many resourceful and useful websites addressing bicycle safety issues. is one that offers multiple examples of collision scenarios and how to avoid them for cyclists and drivers alike.  If you are an avid cyclist, or just a casual rider, this may be valuable information that could help save your life.

Our Bicycle AccidentAuto Accident, and Personal Injury Lawyers are Here to Help

Insurance companies have planned strategies to shift blame, discount or severely limit a victim’s personal injury claims, especially in multi-vehicle situations. It is essential that you have someone that knows how to handle these types of cases so that you can get the representation and compensation you deserve. Fielding Law Group’s team of professionals and experienced accident attorneys will be with you every step of the way.

At Fielding Law Group, we provide you with a free consultation to determine the extent of these damages, create a game plan on how to proceed with your case, easing the stress your multi-car collision may have caused. You may not be familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to undervalue potential claims–but we are!

We have several offices throughout Washington and Idaho with a team of personal injury and auto accident attorneys ready to help you. Leave the work to them and remember: Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!