If you or your loved one were injured in an accident after using a Capital Bikeshare bicycle, you have the right to compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. The expert bicycle accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC have a history of securing millions for their clients. Call today for a free consultation with a DC bike-sharing accident attorney for legal advice on how to move forward in the claims process.
Capital Bikeshare is a bike-sharing service that began in Washington, DC in 2010. After paying for either a short-term pass or purchasing an annual membership, riders can unlock a bike at any available station, ride to their destination, and then easily return the bike. There are both classic manual pedal bikes and pedal-assist electric bikes available for use.
Today, there are 5,000 bikes and over 600 stations located across seven jurisdictions in the DC Metro Area: Washington DC, Arlington, VA, Alexandria, VA, Montgomery County, MD, Prince George’s County, MD, Fairfax County, VA, and the City of Falls Church, VA.
The purpose of the Capital Bikeshare program is to reduce road congestion while improving the environment and the health of DC metro residents. However, with more bicycles on our roads, bicycle accidents are steadily increasing. According to the District Department of Transportation, over the past five years, there has been an average of 334 accidents involving bicyclists in the District. Many drivers forget that cyclists have the same rights to be on the road as they do.
Regan Zambri Long has long helped bike accident victims with their personal injury claims for almost 30 years. We understand how difficult these claims can be and will make sure you understand all the legal options available to you. Our DC bicycle accident attorney will listen to your story, gather the evidence to strengthen your claim, and negotiate with the insurance company to make sure you get the compensation you deserve following a bicycle accident.
Many people are familiar with different types of car crashes: head-on collisions, rear-end accidents, side-impact crashes, etc. However, because cycling has just recently grown as a key source of transportation, it is important to understand the common types of bicycle crashes:
One of the most common causes of Washington DC bicycle accidents are negligence and ignorance when it comes to who has the right of way in intersections. The Washington, DC right of way law states that the driver of a vehicle and a person on a bicycle have the same rights and duties when it comes to right of way. Therefore, if the bicycle rider has the right of way at the intersection, then the motorist is obligated to allow the bicycle to proceed first. However, if the motorist has the right of way, the cyclist is the one who has to yield.
Another problem with intersections is that drivers simply don’t see a bicyclist on the road. Since bikes have a lower profile than cars, if the driver is even slightly distracted, bikers are more easily missed at intersections than regular cars. When the driver doesn’t see the biker, it can lead to the car driving directly into the bicyclist at the intersection, causing serious injury to the rider.
A left-cross accident occurs when a motorist makes a left hand turn across oncoming traffic and hits a bicyclist traveling in the opposite direction. This type of accident happens when a driver is looking only for oncoming cars, and doesn’t see or pay attention to the bike lane in the distance.
A right-hook accident is when a motorist makes a right hand turn and hits a cyclist who is traveling in the same direction. This happens often at intersections when right of way is questioned by the driver. It is also common when motorists leave parking lots or driveways. These accidents can be due to distracted driving or the driver simply not seeing the bicyclist.
These types of accidents happen when a car driver opens a parked car door suddenly and an oncoming biker is unable to swerve out of the way or stop in time before hitting it. It is very hazardous in city areas like DC and can cause serious injuries to the biker, who can be thrown over the open door.
Sideswipe accidents are when motorists veer out of their lane and into the bike lane, sideswiping the rider. Sideswipes can also happen when motorists misjudge the amount of space between their car and the bike.
These accidents can happen when a motorist does not stop behind a cyclist at a traffic light or stop sign. Distracted driving plays a major role in these accidents, as well as motorists simply not seeing a cyclist in front of them. Rear-end collisions cause the vehicle to overtake the cyclist and can cause severe injuries to the rider, especially if he or she falls under the vehicle.
There are several factors that play into these types of accidents. Distracted driving is a major problem among motorists in Washington DC and across the country. Distracted drivers can easily miss pedestrians and cyclists when they are not completely focused on the road. Distracted cycling is also becoming a problem in DC. Cyclists using headphones may not hear oncoming traffic or beeping. If the cyclist is texting while biking, they will not be able to react in time to prevent an accident.
Aggressive driving also plays a role in bicycle accidents. Motorists who are impatient with city traffic will tailgate, swerve in and out of lanes, and speed. Finally, driving while impaired can be lethal to bicycle riders. In 2018, 32% of vehicle crashes in Washington DC were due to drunk driving.
In some cases, the accident may have been caused by the bicycle itself. According to a recent article in The Hoya, the program had temporarily pulled its electric bikes from service after reports of riders having issues with strong bike brakes. Dozens of riders had reported injuries after using the battery-operated bikes. If there is a mechanical issue with the bike, you may be able to file a suit against the company.
The Regan Zambri Long bicycle accident lawyers have a deep understanding of the problems bikers face while sharing the road with motorists. They offer a no-obligation consultation to accident victims who want to pursue legal action against the motorist who caused the accident.
Bike riders are in more danger than regular motorists because they do not have the protection of a motor vehicle around them. Therefore, even going at moderate speeds, cyclists can sustain serious and even permanently debilitating injuries when they collide with a motorist. The most common type of injuries victims of bike accidents sustain are:
Any of these injuries can create financial stress on the victim and the family. Medical bills could include ambulance rides, ER visits, hospital stays, rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, lost wages, and loss of future income. There will also be sudden expenses to repair or replace the bike, especially if that was the main mode of transportation. The Regan Zambri Long personal injury law firm will guide you through the claims process and work to ensure you receive maximum compensation to help offset medical bills and property damages.
Not every bicycle accident can be prevented. However, when bikers follow basic safety measures, stay aware of their surroundings, and adhere to Washington DC laws, then if an accident does occur, there is a better chance that the injuries will be minimal or even prevented altogether.
While riding in Washington DC, cyclists should always:
Motorists play a role in making the roads safe for everyone, as well. While driving in Washington DC, motorists should:
The Regan Zambri Long bicycle accident lawyers will take the burden of the claims process off your plate so you can focus on recovering. The attorneys will work to determine the at-fault party and prove negligence by investigating the accident scene. They will speak to witnesses, research laws and insurance policies, and discover relevant information in order to recover damages from the bicycle accident. Regan Zambri Long attorneys do not work on a retainer, so you will not pay until you receive a settlement or verdict in your favor.
Insurance companies are notorious for offering very low settlements to their clients after a bicycle accident. The Regan Zambri Long bicycle accident attorneys have a deep knowledge and understanding of various insurance policies and DC Metro Area laws. They will help you recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish and suffering, wrongful death, and noneconomic damages. Contact Regan Zambri Long today for a free consultation regarding your case.
The DC Department of Transportation offers a helpful pocket guide to various bike laws in the DC Metro Area, including the laws on sidewalk biking, cell phone use on a bike, and registering your bike in the District. A general rule for cyclists to follow is to be aware of their surroundings, ride with traffic not against, and always wear a properly fitted safety helmet.
Since the uptick in biking in the DC Metro Area, there are several bike trails within the city. They are marked “easy” to “hard” and are the safest place for bikers to ride. The DC Department of Transportation also offers a bike map guide for bicyclists.
According to the Capital Bikeshare website, you should stop riding the bike and dock it at the nearest station. You will need to press the button on the dock with a wrench symbol on it so no one takes the bike until a technician is able to fix it.
Washington, DC contributory negligence statute states if the victim of the bicycle accident is at all responsible for the accident – even a percentage – then they cannot recover compensation. Contributory negligence is also practiced in Virginia and Maryland and will have an effect on bike-sharing accident cases there, as well. Be sure to speak with a Regan Zambri Long bicycle accident lawyer before you file a personal injury lawsuit so they can help determine that the other party was at fault.
Legal claims after a bicycle accident should be filed right away since injuries can worsen or change over time. The quicker a suit is filed, the quicker you can recover compensation for medical expenses and property damage. The Washington DC statute of limitations on personal injury suits is 3 years. Speak to a Regan Zambri Long bicycle accident lawyer today to start the claims process right away.