Bicyclists fill a confusing role on the road. Expected to follow the same general rules as cars and trucks, and yet still as vulnerable (if not more so) than a pedestrian, people riding their bikes for commuting purposes and sightseeing face unique challenges while trying to stay safe getting from point A to point B.
If you are a veteran road warrior of the District, or even if you just spend a fair amount of time on your bike, chances are that you have encountered a few “close calls” with traffic. You may have even received a citation from a police officer—but what happens if you feel that the officer was incorrect in pinning the blame on you? If the incident left you injured, an oversight like that could cost you dearly.
Officers do occasionally cite cyclists incorrectly, and it is especially important to clarify with the law enforcement agency that you could have been wrongly accused. If you are hit on your bicycle by a car that is turning right or left while you are correctly proceeding straight through an intersection, a police officer may cite you for failure to yield or excessive speeds. In reality, a car must follow the same right-of-way rules for bicycles that drivers follow for other cars.
Being “doored” is another common problem encountered by bikers that may leave them with a ticket. According to law, however, opening a car door into traffic is prohibited until it can be opened safely –and bicycles do count as traffic, so the driver of the car should have been cited.
If you have been hurt in an accident on your bicycle and you were improperly cited for the accident, it may affect your ability to collect compensation for your injuries. If this is the case, contact the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. bike accident attorneys of Lewis & Tompkins today at 202.296.0666 for a free consultation.