New Bike Lane Prompts Safety Tips from Seattle Law Firm

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Seattle motorists are still getting used to a new bike lane that offers additional protection to cyclists, who historically have not always benefitted from such measures. But due to ongoing confusion, the Bernard Law Group has opted to provide important safety tips to drivers.

...drivers continue to ignore the rights of cyclists, creating dangerous situations in the process.

Safety enthusiasts are applauding the efforts of the city of Seattle to protect cyclists with the recent installation of a bike lane.

Unfortunately, the lane has not been without its troubles, as explored by a September 8 article from the Seattle Times called “Second Avenue entices cyclists, baffles motorists.” As the headline suggests, while most cyclists are pleased that the city is taking an active interest in their safety, there is an ongoing concern that the new bike lane leads to the kind of confusion that can actually be detrimental to safety, undermining the point of the entire endeavor.

Time will tell how accurate this line of thinking is, especially considering that there’s bound to be an adjustment period. Nevertheless, the entire incident serves to underline an important point about how so many drivers still fail to understand that they’re responsible for providing cyclists with a duty of care.

The Bernard Law Group knows that any driver who fails to use caution near cyclists may end up tangling with a law firm very much like their own. Kirk Bernard, who has spent 30 years protecting the rights of cyclists and other victims of personal injury in Seattle and greater Washington, wants to make sure that cyclists are afforded the necessary protections, bike lanes or no.

“If you’re on a bike, you’re already giving up so many protections that motor vehicle operators take for granted,” said Mr. Bernard. “At the very least, I would hope that other drivers recognize this and drive more defensively as a result. As we’ve seen time and time again, drivers continue to ignore the rights of cyclists, creating dangerous situations in the process. That needs to stop, and it needs to stop now.”

With that in mind, the firm’s Seattle bike accident lawyers are offering the following tips to drivers:

  • Get Your Bearings – Confusion is expected with the initial implementation of a new safety measure such as the aforementioned bike lane along Second Avenue. But that’s no excuse for irresponsible behavior. Drivers should drive slowly when approaching infrastructure they don’t have experience with, following the necessary signage and keeping an eye on the actions of all commuters, be they on two wheels, four wheels, or no wheels.
  • Ditch the Distraction – When encountering a brand new type of roadway, it becomes nearly impossible to adhere to the law when an individual can’t lend their full attention to their surroundings. Phones need to be put away until a vehicle has been parked, as does anything else that can take attention from the road.
  • Keep an Eye on the Latest Tech – As automobile technology progresses, companies that previously worried almost exclusively about the occupants inside the vehicle are now turning their attention to those positioned outside the cabin. The future will be filled with pedestrian airbags and systems that warn about the presence of all kinds of obstacles, cyclists included. Consumers should always consider the adoption of the latest and greatest safety measures to protect themselves and their fellow commuters.
  • Use Your Thinker, Don’t Be a Drinker – If figuring out what to do when coming across somewhat confusing bike lanes and signage is difficult while sober, it becomes downright impossible when under the influence of alcohol. Protect everyone on the road by either getting a designated driver or not drinking in the first place.
  • Dusk and Dawn – Cyclists are harder to spot when the sun is either coming up or going down. Unfortunately, these are precisely the times of the day when most people are commuting to and from work. Wear sunglasses to shield from the glare, and keep a close eye on bike and vehicle lanes when driving during such times.
  • Attitude Adjustment – Stop thinking of cyclists as an annoyance that has to be put up with. They are just as entitled to the road as a motor vehicle. Treat cyclists with kindness and have patience, never letting aggression lead to an unsafe maneuver.

Kirk Bernard has been protecting the rights of Washington personal injury victims for 30 years, achieving landmark court victories and settlements in the process. The Bernard Law Group provides legal representation for those injured in car crashes, bicycle collisions, workplace accidents, medical malpractice situations, defective drug incidents, premises liability cases, and more. Persons interested in a free consultation can visit the Bernard Law Group’s bike accident resource center for information.

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Megan Castello
Bernard Law Group
since: 04/2009
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