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Washington D.C. Bike Laws

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., Washington DC Bike Laws

According to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), there has been an average of 334 crashes involving bicyclists each year in Washington, D.C. To avoid a bike accident, it is important to be aware of the bike laws in Washington.

If you are injured in a bicycle accident and have questions about what laws apply to your case, contact Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. We have years of experience getting cyclists the compensation they deserve. We understand the complex laws that apply to bicycle accidents, and we are here to help you get the justice you deserve.

Local Bicycle Laws in Washington DC

Washington D.C. has a few local bicycle laws that cyclists must follow:

  • Bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks in the central business district (defined as the area bounded by K Street N.W., 15th Street N.W., Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., and Constitution Avenue N.W.).
  • Cyclists must have a front light and a rear reflector when riding at night.
  • Cyclists are required to yield to pedestrians crossing the street in a crosswalk, regardless of whether or not the crosswalk is marked.
  • Cyclists can ride on sidewalks outside of the central business district but must yield to pedestrians and give them an audible signal before passing.
  • A bicycle lane is designed to keep cyclists safe. However, bike riders are not required to use a bike lane when provided.
  • In wide lanes, a cyclist should maintain no less than 2 feet of clearance from the edge of the usable pavement.
  • Cyclists are allowed to ride between lanes in Washington D.C., as long as they are not impeding traffic.
  • Cyclists can pass other vehicles on the left or right side by either staying in the same lane as the motor vehicle or changing to a different lane.
  • Bicycles must have a bell or mechanical device that can give an audible signal at least one hundred feet.

Breaking any of these laws can result in a fine, so it’s important to be aware of them before hitting the streets on your bike. Following the law will help keep you safe while riding and also help to make cycling in Washington D.C. a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Bicycle Safety in D.C.

In addition to following the same traffic laws as motor vehicles, cyclists can do a few other things to stay safe while biking in D.C.

  • Wear a helmet. Helmets are not required for cyclists over 16, but they can help protect you from serious injuries if you fall or are hit by a car.
  • Be visible. Make sure your bike has reflectors on the front and back, and wear bright colors so drivers can see you.
  • Use lights at night. If you are biking after dark, make sure to have a headlight and taillight on your bike.
  • Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t listen to music or use your phone while biking.
  • If you are involved in a bike crash, call the police and wait for them to arrive. Don’t move the injured person unless they are in danger.

Do I Have to Register My Bicycle?

Bicycles are not required to be registered in the district, and you cannot be pulled over for having an unregistered bike. However, registering your bike with the National Bike Registry is recommended by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) for security.

What We Can Do For You After a Bicycle Accident

The Washington, D.C. bicycle accident lawyers with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have a proven track record of success helping clients obtain the maximum compensation possible for injuries they have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our firm has consistently demonstrated we have the expertise needed to help our clients see that justice is served. We have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations of all the circumstances contributing to a bicycle accident, gathering the evidence needed to establish liability and negligence. 

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has achieved more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience. Two of our partners are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our firm has also earned the highest AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the most respected attorney-ranking service organizations in the United States. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. attorneys work passionately on behalf of our clients to help them secure fair compensation – there is no type of case that is too complex for us to litigate.  

Recovering Damages in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit

Many factors go into determining the value of your bike accident claim. These include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys have experience evaluating cases just like yours to determine what they may be worth and will work hard to get you fair compensation for your injuries.

Comparative Fault in Washington DC for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users

In most comparative fault systems, each driver is assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. For example, in a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction, this means that if one driver is considered 80% at fault and another 20%, then each party will pay their proportional share of damages based on those percentages (e.g., $100,000 total in losses equals an award worth $80,000 from Driver A to B since they caused more harm than anyone else).  Washington, DC, has a  comparative negligence statute that only applies to bicycles, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users.  Washington, DC’s law is one of the best laws in the country.  If you were a bicyclist, pedestrian, or other vulnerable user, and you were 50% negligent or less, you can recover 100% of your damages. 

We Get You Results

For more than 50 years, the Washington DC lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have successfully represented individuals and families who have been injured or lost loved ones as the result of someone else’s negligence. Here is a small sample of some of our successful verdicts and settlements: 

  • $3.5 million for a bicyclist who suffered a brain injury when a District of Columbia police officer opened his door into traffic and “doored” him.
  • $6 million on behalf of a man who suffered a brain injury as a result of a rear-end collision.
  • $5 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 14-year-old client who suffered a severe brain injury as a result of a doctor’s inappropriate use of a chemical product.
  • $4.8 million on behalf of a severely injured man when his motorcycle struck a trailer being pulled by a minivan.
  • $4.5 million for a woman who was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident after being struck from behind by a transit bus in a crosswalk.

See additional examples of our case victories and settlements on our “Case Results” page.

Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today

If you are looking for the highest level representation available for your bicycle accident claim, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600  or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.

Have You Been Affected?

Contact Us today to find out if we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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