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New Bicycle Laws May Soon Hit D.C. Streets

By: Allan Siegel

Last week, Washington, D.C. Mayor Vince Gray signed the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 and took a considerable step toward making public roadways safer for bicyclists. Under the Act, bicycle riders will be treated in much the same way as pedestrians. If congress approves the bill, the following measures could become law within the next month:

Increased Number of Bicycles on Roads

  • Bicyclists will be permitted to cross intersections once crosswalk signals have been lit. This allows them to take the same "head start" as pedestrians, rather than wait for a light to turn green – unless posted signs say otherwise.
  • Riders will no longer be required to have bicycles equipped with bells, provided that they are able to alert drivers within at least 100 feet using their voices.

Increased penalties for drivers who fail to operate their vehicles safely around cyclists will also be enforced should the law pass. Failing to yield to bicyclists will carry the same penalties as failing to yield to pedestrians. These penalties include:

  • 3 points on driver's license and a $250 fine for failing to yield to a bicyclist.
  • 6 points on driver's license and a $500 fine for failing to yield to a bicyclist and causing a collision.

Although the new laws have received a mixed response, our Washington, D.C. bicycle accident attorneys know that they are essential to protecting riders from preventable harm. Bicyclists are among the most vulnerable individuals on public roadways, and when they share the road with larger cars, motorcycles, and trucks, they face constant risks. Ensuring that motorists drive reasonably and safely when bicycle riders are nearby can hopefully reduce the many bicycle accidents, injuries, and fatalities that occur each year.

If you or your loved one has recently been injured in a bicycle accident in the D.C. area, contact a Washington, D.C personal injury lawyer from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. to learn more about your case and right to compensation. For a free consultation, call (202) 644-8303 or fill out a free case evaluation form.