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Office LocationKamerow Law Firm, PLLC
5001 Seminary Road, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22311
Virginia law regards bicycles as vehicles, and accordingly, persons riding bicycles on public roadways are subject to the same rules as motorists in engine driven vehicles, except when the language of the Code of Virginia section on motor vehicles stipulates otherwise. This means that stop signs, red lights, pedestrian crosswalks, and other regulated features must be obeyed by bicyclists.
Virginia Code 46.2-100 defines a bicycle as “a device propelled solely by human power, upon which a person may ride either on or astride a regular seat attached thereto, having two or more wheels in tandem, including children’s bicycles except a toy vehicle intended for use by young children.” That same statute goes on to establish that a “bicycle is a vehicle when operated on the highway.”
It goes without saying that people involved in traffic crashes while riding bicycles are subject to much greater levels of bodily injury than those protected within passenger cars, and therefore should undertake a high level of vigilance with regard to obeying safe riding practices including wearing protective helmets, high visibility clothing or vests, and following the rules of the road.
Common Accident Patterns Involving Bicycles
- Bicyclist riding against the direction of traffic
One of the most common accident patterns is caused by a bicyclist riding against the direction of traffic. Risk created by this violation encompasses a head on collision which usually has particularly devastating results. While it might seem safe because it affords the bicyclist a view of traffic, this practice allows less time for oncoming motor vehicle traffic to observe and therefore accommodate the bicycle, especially around curves or just past inclines. Riders of bicycles should always ride in the direction of traffic.
- Bicycle unsafely emerges from alley or driveway
Just as drivers in cars have the duty to stop before emerging from an alley, driveway, and other entryways leading onto a public roadway, bicyclists must come to a complete stop and look both ways when making initial access onto a road.
Usually, lack of timely visibility is a contributing factor in accidents resulting from this violation. Bicycles making this type of entry onto streets are often hidden by shrubbery or buildings until they are well within the path of a moving motor vehicle. Likewise, cars emerging onto traffic lanes lack the ability to see oncoming bicycles when backing out onto the street or pulling out from narrow alleys lined with physical structures.
- Bicycle swerves or weaves among traffic lanes
Bicycles should stay to the right of traffic, and within the bicycle lane if one has been provided. As a general rule, slower traffic, regardless of vehicle type, should stay to the right. This rule is particularly important in preventing bicycle accidents. Bike riders entering into the lanes of traffic, which usually travels at speeds greater than the bicycle, creates unpredictability for motor vehicles and amount to hazards on the roadway.
Get Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one suffered property damage or personal injury as the result of a traffic crash involving a bicycle, the stakes could involve your freedom and your finances. Whether you were the driver of a motor vehicle or a bicyclist, whether you were the alleged cause of the accident or merely victimized by it, your rights hang in the balance until competent legal representation ensures them. Contact the experienced accident attorneys at The Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC in Alexandria for a free and confidential consultation by calling 703-370-8088.