Bicycles have always been a popular means of transportation and also used for exercise and fun activities. In Washington state, bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as any other vehicle in traffic. Our attorneys provide an overview of Washington bike laws and explain what you should do after a bike accident.
What Are the Bicycle Laws in Washington State?
In Washington, any human-powered vehicle with two wheels bigger than 16 inches is considered a bicycle. Anyone riding a bicycle is required to obey traffic lights, stop signs and follow all traffic laws. Here are some of the laws that cyclists should observe:
- A bicycle must yield to a pedestrian on a sidewalk or crosswalk.
- Only one person is allowed per bike seat.
- It is illegal for a cyclist to cling to a moving vehicle.
- Bicycles should use turn lanes and ride with the traffic flow on one-way streets.
- Cyclists must have at least one hand on the handlebar at all times and cannot ride carrying anything with both hands.
- Bikes must be equipped with brakes, and if riding at night, bikes must have a white light on the front and a red reflector on the back.
These are just a few examples of the bicycle laws in Washington state. It is recommended that every cyclist understand these laws. You may even want to carry a copy of them with you while riding.
Can Cyclists Be Ticketed for Not Obeying Traffic Laws?
Because bikes have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles, cyclists can be ticketed for violating state laws or local ordinances. Some roads and highways are off-limits to cyclists, and local ordinances may limit bike access in certain locations. Failure to observe these rules is not only unsafe for the cyclist but may also result in a fine.
Is It a Crime to Ride a Bicycle After Drinking Alcohol?
In Washington, cyclists who are riding while drunk may not necessarily get a DUI, but may ultimately be charged with other offenses (such as disorderly conduct or reckless endangerment) depending on how intoxicated they are and on whether their behavior is putting anyone else at risk. An officer can impound a drunk cyclist’s bike and can also offer a safe ride home. It is ultimately up to the law enforcement officer to decide whether a drunk cyclist committed a criminal offense or not.
If you were involved in a bicycle accident, get medical help and contact an attorney as soon as you can. At Church & Page PLLC, we represent injured cyclists and help them fight for compensation after an accident. Contact us at (509) 638-1414.