If you plan to ride your bike in the Washington DC area, there are certain rules and regulations you must follow. The laws of bicycle riding are governed, partly, by the DC Municipal Regulations. These regulations state that cyclists have to obey the same basic laws that vehicles do. While this is true, there are a number of bicycle specific laws that everyone who rides a bike in Washington DC should be aware of.
Laws of Bicycle Riding: Rules of the Road
When it comes to the laws of bicycle riding, there are quite a few. However, here you can find the most important ones you should know and follow.
- Maintain a safe distance. According to the laws of bicycle riding, cyclists are allowed to ride abreast (side by side) on the road as long as they do not impede the normal, safe flow of traffic. Also, cyclists have to ride in just one lane so that traffic can move forward.
- Bike registration. While you don’t have to register your bike in Washington DC thanks to a law passed in 2008, it is still a good idea to do so in case it is ever stolen.
- Right side riding. The only time that a bicyclist must ride in the right-hand lane is if they are traveling slower than the normal traffic speed. If this is happening, then you need to ride as closely to the side of the road as possible, according to laws of bicycle riding in Washington DC.
- Using a cellphone. It is legal to use your cellphone while on a bike in DC, but it is not recommended. In DC the doctrine of contributory negligence is used, which means if a rider is discovered to even be one percent negligent in a bicycle accident, then they may be barred from being able to receive any compensation. Using a cellphone is a situation where a biker may be found negligent.
- Sidewalk biking. It is legal to bike on the sidewalk in DC everywhere but in the downtown, Central Business District.
- Helmets are only required by the law for cyclists who are under the age of 16.
While there are a number of other laws that relate to riding a bicycle in Washington DC, the ones listed above are the most important. Being informed will ensure that you can ride safely and help prevent serious accidents and injuries.
What to Do if You Are in a Bicycle Accident
If you are injured in a bicycle accident in Washington DC that was not your fault, you should contact an attorney to help you recover compensation. The fact is, the injuries you may sustain for being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle can be devastating and result in long-lasting, costly expenses. An attorney can help gather information and evidence to ensure the at-fault party is held liable and to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
If you need help from a bicycle accident attorney in Washington DC, contact the team of lawyers at Hilton and Somer by calling 703-560-0700.