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Colburn Law

Seattle Bicycle Accident Lawyer

If you suffered personal injuries and/or property damage in a recent bike crash in Seattle, learn your rights under Washington law and contact Colburn Law. The other driver or another party may have been negligent, and therefore liable to compensate you for your damages. A Seattle bicycle accident lawyer can offer more than just sound legal advice and compensation, Greg Colburn is compassionate and dedicated to being active on community safety regulations and fights for clients rights. If you have been injured in a bike accident in Seattle, contact our bicycle injury lawyers today at Colburn Law for your free consultation. Bicycle accidents almost always result in greater harm to the cyclist than the motor vehicle driver. While a helmet is vital lifesaving safety gear, it will not protect bicyclists from broken bones, crush injuries, or traumatic head and brain injuries in serious collisions.

Bicycle Accident Resources

What to Do After a Seattle Bicycle Injury


The steps you take directly after a bicycle crash in Seattle can affect the rest of your claims process. If you are seriously or catastrophically injured, getting emergency medical treatment is the first and most important thing to do. For every other instance, keep these steps in mind:

  1. First, do not admit fault or apologize. Even if you think you contributed to the accident, do not say so to the vehicle driver.
  2. Wait for an investigation to assign fault. Stay on the scene and call the police to report the incident if you have any personal injuries.
  3. Gather important information such as the driver’s name, phone number, and insurance company. If other people witnessed the collision, take down their information as well.
  4. Go to the hospital or your primary care doctor for medical treatment as soon as you can after a collision. Prompt medical care will not only improve your outcomes, but it will also bode well for a personal injury claim case in the future. Delaying treatment can signal to an insurance company or jury that your injuries must not have been very serious. The sooner you take care of yourself, the better.

Once you’re on the mend, call our Seattle personal injury attorneys. We have handled dozens of bicycle collision cases in Seattle and can help you understand what to do next on the path toward damage compensation.

Determining Fault in A Bike Crash

  • If you’ve been injured in a bike crash, the first step is to determine who is at fault for the accident. In some cases, fault determination is straightforward. In the example where the bicyclist crossed the road on a green light, the motorist was clearly negligent since the bicyclist had the right of way.
  • In other cases, a cyclist and a motorist may share fault. For example, if you were breaking a traffic rule by riding against traffic and a speeding driver hit you, you both would be at fault for the incident. For more information or if you were involved in an auto crash involving a cyclist, call a Seattle car accident lawyer.

How Will Fault Affect My Settlement?

If the police determine you’re partially at fault for your injuries, it may affect your settlement. In Washington, we have a law that’s referred to as “pure contributory negligence.” In simple terms, this means your settlement will be reduced by your degree of fault.

For instance, if you suffered extensive injuries and the courts awarded you $1 million in damages, but you were 10% at fault – the court would determine your percent of fault – then your award would be $900,000 by the rule of contributory negligence.

What Can I Be Compensated For?

A settlement will help pay for injuries resulting from your bike crash. Generally, we lump them into two categories:

  • Special, or economic, damages cover the costs associated with your rehabilitation and recovery. These may include medical bills, therapy costs, lost wages, and a loss in earning capacity.
  • General damages compensate for intangible losses such as pain, suffering, and mental anguish.

Bicycle Involved Injuries in Washington (2008-2017)

Bicycle Accident Lawyer Seattle

About Bicycle Accidents in Seattle

Cyclists have free rein to use most of the streets and major arterials in Seattle. They have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as motor vehicle drivers and can, therefore, travel on the road or in bike lanes, in most situations. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WDOT) has released the bicycle accident, injury, and fatality statistics for 2017, accessible via its online crash data portal. Analyzing the data can help Washington bicyclists understand how, why, when, and where most accidents occur, increasing the odds of avoiding collisions. Here is a closer look at the numbers for bicycle accidents in 2017, as well as what they tell us about bicyclist safety in Washington.

According to data, 2016 hit a 10 year high for bicycle and pedestrian-related accidents in Washington. While you’re cruising through town on your bicycle, recognizing the busiest areas and high-collision streets can help you avoid roads that pose higher threats. Here is information from the Seattle Department of Transportation:

  • Busiest areas for cyclists in the city: Avoiding the high traffic/high collision areas in Seattle can improve your chances of avoiding an accident. According to the SDOT, bicycle volume on the Fremont Bridge reaches its peak in May, with around 6,000 cyclists per day. The daily average for the bridge is 2,757 cyclists. Data reflects seasonal highs every summer, with daily totals that are almost three times the yearly averages. Bicycle traffic is high around Gas Works Park, Aurora Avenue North at North 34th Street, and around Lake Union.
  • Bike collision trends: In 2014, there were 380 total bicycle collisions, with 316 resulting in injuries and one fatality. This is a decrease from 421 total collisions, 367 injuries, and two deaths in 2013. The bicycle collision rate has decreased steadily in Seattle from 2005 to today. While there was a slight increase in 2013, the linear rate continues a downward trend historically.
  • Contributing factors for bike accidents: In 2014, the majority (56%) of bicycle crashes occurred at intersections. Contributing causes of bike collisions in Seattle include failure to grant the vehicle right of way, disregarding traffic signals, vehicles speeding, and vehicles following bicycles too closely. Bicycle crashes occur more often on the roadway than on a designated bike route, crosswalk, shoulder, or sidewalk

2017 Bicycle Accident Statistics for King County

A total of 40,219 vehicle accidents occurred in King County, Washington, in 2017. Of these accidents, 12,507 caused injuries and 107 were fatal. In 2017, 43 collisions in King County involved bicyclists. Bicycle accidents caused five fatalities and 38 serious injuries in King County. Inattentive and distracted drivers caused 13 countywide bicycle accidents, while young drivers ages 16 to 25 caused six. Four King County bike accidents involved heavy trucks. More than half (25) of all bicycle accidents in the county occurred at intersections.

Alcohol played a role in at least 10 injurious bicycle accidents in 2017. Luckily, alcohol impairment did not cause any serious bicyclist injuries or deaths (only minor and possible injuries) in King County. The most vulnerable age group for bicycle accidents in King County is 40-49, accounting for 80 bike accidents in 2017. Thirty-two King County bike accidents involved children ages 14 and under. Bicyclists and their passengers suffered 208 possible injuries, 263 suspected minor injuries, 46 suspected serious injuries, and five fatalities in King County, 2017. Common bicycle accident injuries include broken bones, road rash, head and brain injuries, crash-related injuries, internal injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

Statewide Washington Bicycle Accident Statistics 2017

Vehicle collisions of all types (including bicycle accidents) have increased in the state of Washington in the last 10 years. The state saw a downward trend in total accidents from 2008 to 2011, with a 10-year low in 2011 at 98,946 total collisions. The total number of accidents increased steadily year by year, starting in 2012. Washington state saw a 10-year peak in 2016 at 122,393, followed by a slight drop to 121,083 total crashes in 2017. In 2017, Washington recorded the highest number of alcohol-involved crashes since 2009, with 8,190.

Bicycle crashes involving alcohol totaled 39 in 2017. Auto accidents involved 107 bicyclists throughout the state of Washington in 2017, across all roads. Of these bicycle accidents, 13 were fatal and 93 caused suspected serious injuries. More than half (61) of all Washington bike accidents in 2017 occurred at intersections. The number one cause of bicycle accidents was inattention/distraction (38 serious bicycle accidents). Young drivers were also a significant cause of Washington bicycle accidents, with 23 involving drivers ages 16 to 25.

Bicyclists and their passengers reported 1,205 injuries throughout Washington in 2017. Of these injuries, 546 were minor, 464 were “possible injuries,” 102 were serious, 80 had no apparent injuries, and 13 were fatal. The age group most at risk of bicycle accidents in Washington in 2017 was 50-59 with 156 total accidents. In close second place was 40-49 with 155 accidents, followed by 25-29 with 154 bicycle accidents. The age group least at risk of bicycle accidents was 80-89.

About Bicycle Safety in Seattle

The number of bicycle accidents throughout Washington has increased in recent years. Negligent and distracted drivers cause many of these accidents, as do unsafe roadways and dangerously designed intersections. Stay safe as a Washington or King County bicyclist by obeying roadway rules at all times. As a vulnerable road user in Seattle, it’s up to you to optimize your personal health and safety. Never assume a motorist will do the right thing. Instead, assume the motorist doesn’t see you and won’t yield the right-of-way. Contact Greg Colburn if you have any questions about a recent bicycle accident in Seattle.

The Most Common Causes of Bike Crashes


There are a lot of bicyclists in Seattle and the surrounding area. Despite the weather, you’ll often find people commuting to work or running errands on their bikes. It’s not hard to see why: You don’t have to tend with the traffic congestion, you’re making less of an environmental impact, and you’re getting good exercise. Bicyclists must share the road with other drivers, which means they’re beholden to the same traffic laws. Despite sharing the same laws, bicyclists are in a much more vulnerable position than drivers in cars.

Bike crashes can happen in any form, but there are some scenarios that are more common than others. Statistically speaking, these are the most common causes of bike crashes:

  • Incidents at intersections: Only 11% of bike crashes involve another vehicle, but of these, around half involve an intersection. For example, a bicyclist may be crossing the road at a green light, and a car turns right into them.
  • Riding against traffic: Though it may seem safer since you can see traffic, riding against it is actually against the law. Always follow the flow of traffic, and keep to the shoulder.
  • Road hazards: Many bike injuries occur because the shoulders of area roads are not well maintained. For example, you may crash after running into a large pothole or swerving to avoid another hazard.

Contact Our Seattle Bicycle Injury Lawyers Today

If you’ve been injured while riding your bike, you likely have a lot of unanswered questions. My goal is to help you get rid of uncertainty and lead you to a more financially secure future. I know firsthand how a serious injury can diminish your quality of life – that’s why I am committed to helping you get back on your feet.

Your road to recovery begins with a free review of your legal options. If we decide to move forward with your case, I will work for you on a contingency-fee basis. While I can’t promise any outcome, I will work hard for the best possible resolution. Schedule your case evaluation today.

 

Greg guided me through a stressful process involving a car accident and the insurance company. Not only did he put me at ease, but he was truly an advocate for me and my family. I am truly thankful for his help, and would highly recommend him to any of my friends or family. -Jeff P.