Seattle, WA- A 2014 U.S. Census survey found that 3.4 percent of Seattle residents bicycle to work. That means a lot of motorists and bicyclists are vying for space on the city’s busy streets. And not that fall is fully underway and Halloween right around the corner, the days are getting shorter, and it’s going to be dark when bike commuters head home. That means more bicyclists will be at higher risk of being in a traffic accident.
What are the Hazards of Cycling at Night?
It’s a fact that bicycling or walking at night is riskier than other times of the day, even in well-lit urban areas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 71 percent of bicycle fatalities occur in urban areas, and 20 percent of fatal bike crashes occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. What are the hazards of driving at night?
There are two main risks of cycling at night:
It’s no secret that it’s harder to see at night. Motorists can’t see a bike if it isn’t properly lit and you run the risk of being hit. When you are riding at night, you need to take steps to be visible to motorists including outfitting your bike with the legally required lights and reflectors and wearing light-colored clothing with reflectors.
State law requires bicyclists to have:
A front headlight visible from 500 feet away
State Patrol- approved red reflector on the rear
You are also allowed to have:
A rear red lamp visible from 500 feet
Flashing taillight (light-emitting diode) visible from 500 feet
Being visible is key to the cycling and pedestrian safety. As a bicyclist, you need to be hyper-aware of your surroundings especially in the age of the distracted driver.
Drunken drivers and bicyclists
Drunk drivers are responsible for nearly a fourth of fatal accidents in the U.S., and thousands and thousands of injuries. Impaired drivers, whether they are drunk, stoned or on a prescription drug, endanger everyone on the road.
You may think riding your bike for a night of fun is better than driving, but the NHTSA found that 35 percent of bicyclist fatalities involved a bicyclist or driver with a BAC of 0.08 percent (the legal limit in Seattle) or higher. So, it might be a better option than drunken driving, there are risks, and you could get a DUI anyway.
Bicycling at Night Doesn’t Have to Be Dangerous?
A bicyclist can’t control what a motorist does behind the wheel, but they can take steps to make themselves safe. Here are some measures to keep yourself safe if you cycle at night:
Make certain your bike has the legally required lights and reflectors
Wear reflective clothing or accessories
Wear an approved headlamp
Were You Hit by a Motorist in Seattle?
In bicycle versus car accidents, the cyclist will take the brunt of the impact. The cost of bicycle accidents is an approximate $4 billion annually according to the National Safety Council. That is high a cost that translates to big bills and financial losses for injured bicyclists. If a motorist hit you, USAttorneys.com recommends you get legal assistance. On our website, you will find experienced accident attorneys in Seattle who understand the legal complexities of your personal injury or wrongful death claim and have the know-how to get you maximum compensation.
Sometimes bicyclists are hit by commercial trucks like tractor-trailers, dump trucks or logging trucks. Liability in truck accidents is a little more complicated, so you need a truck accident lawyer in Washington working on your claim.