Bike Safety News: Washington D.C. Area Bicycle Group Seeks More Respect from All Cyclists

Bicycle injury accidents are fairly common in urban areas like Washington, D.C., Annapolis and Baltimore, MD, however, reducing the frequency of car-bike and bicycle-commercial truck crashes is a challenge due to the shear volume of traffic in these areas. As Maryland automobile accident lawyers who represent cyclists and motorcycle riders hurt in traffic collisions, our job is to help these victims recover damages, including medical, rehab, and work-loss costs following a car accident.

Especially for bicyclists, the potential for serious injury, not to mention possible fatal injury due to being hit by a passing motor vehicle, is very high in cities and other urban areas. Being struck and knocked to the ground can lead to broken arms and legs, road rash, cuts and bruises, and worst of all, traumatic brain injury. Wearing a helmet is always a good idea, but is no guarantee of a good outcome.

A while back, we saw a news item that reminded all of us of one key element in hopefully reducing injuries from car-bike collisions. Over in the District, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) has apparently resolved to improve safety for all who travel on public roads. How? A spokesperson for WABA said the group wants cyclists to “better respect the rights of other road users.”

One can assume that WABA hopes passenger car, long-haul truckers, and commercial delivery truck drivers will reciprocate as well. According to the article, WABA had asked its membership to make a New Year’s resolution that includes respecting the rights of others on public roads and to make what the group says is “a good faith effort to follow the law.” This includes, according to the article, yielding the right of way to pedestrians.

The outgrowth of this latest movement apparently came following the death of D.C. resident who was struck by a cyclist the day following Thanksgiving. According to reports, 78-year-old Quan Chu and his wife were hit by bicycle rider while walking in an alleyway near Massachusetts Ave. The elderly gentleman and his wife were both knocked to the ground as a result of the incident. Chu subsequently died from his injuries.

The WABA suggested that road safety should not be looked at as a “car-versus-bike-versus-pedestrian” situation. One reason, according to the article, is that most every cyclist also drives a motor vehicle out of necessity and for enjoyment as well. Similarly, every driver and cyclist is a pedestrian from time to time. The WABA apparently sees this commonalty as a starting point for dialogue and mutual respect.

With the number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents that occur annually here in Maryland and the District, we can only hope that this movement continues to gain support. Perhaps there is hope to reduce significantly the number of injuries and fatalities that happen on a weekly basis.

Bike association resolves to make roads safe for all,, December 20, 2010

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