Bicycle Accidents Are Becoming More Common in Bellingham and Whatcom County

Bill Coats has handled many bicycle accident claims, and while the circumstances of each are different, then all have something in common – the injuries are almost always more serious than ones from other types of accidents. Bicyclists are more vulnerable to injury and death since they travel with little physical protection. Since they are harder for drivers to see on the road, and since bicyclists have to often share a lane with the larger, heavier vehicles, when a crash happens, it is often life threatening.

If you’ve been seriously injured in a bicycle crash, you need information on what to do next.

Personal injury attorney Bill Coats has extensive experience helping bicycle accident clients. Bill understands the specific laws that affect bicycle accident claims, and he is skilled at dealing with insurance companies who seek to minimize an accident claim or blame the victim for the crash, to reduce a settlement payout.

If you have questions or wonder what to do after a bike accident, call Bill Coats at (360) 392-2833, for a free, no obligation consultation or complete our contact form.

Cycling is great exercise for health – but comes with the risk of serious injury

The number of bike commuters and people who ride for exercise and recreation is growing, and city roads are struggling to handle the increased bike traffic. The City of Bellingham provides this valuable data on the current bike trail system, and the current regulations related to bicycling. While access to safe bike trails and lanes is growing, we still see too many bicycle accidents, many resulting in serious injuries and even death.

Bill Coats has a track record of securing full settlements for his bicycle accident clients

Bill’s experience managing bicycle accident claims goes back 20 years – he’s handled cases including:

Local Resources for Biking Safety 

The Mount Baker Bike Club  is a favorite resource for tips on safety while bike riding  through Whatcom County.  They are a club of bicycle enthusiasts who promote bike safety: ‘roadies, racers, commuters, cruisers, tandemers, recreational riders, mountain bikers, cyclocrossers, recumbent-riders, fitness lovers and advocates’ have experience sharing the road throughout the county.  These experienced bikers understand the hazards of riding and how to best avoid accidents.  The club is located in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington  Click here for their website and newsletters page.

The Whatcom County Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan incorporates community recommendations for improving pedestrian and other modes of eco-friendly travel.  This effort, documented annually ‘helps to ensure that bicycling and walking remain safe, popular, enjoyable, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly means of transportation for Whatcom County’s future.’

Check here for more safety resources.

The connection between bicycle crashes and alcohol

Alcohol usage—either for the driver of a motor vehicle or the cyclist—was reported in more than 37% of the traffic crashes that resulted in cyclist fatalities in 2012. In 32% of the crashes, either the driver or the bicyclist had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. This is an incredibly high percentage, and combined with the relative vulnerability of a cyclist, results in serious or deadly crashes with unfortunate frequency.

How frequent are bike accidents, and what are the common causes?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), In 2012, 726 cyclists were killed, and an additional 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Bicycle deaths accounted for 2% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, and cyclists counted as 2% of the people

injured in traffic crashes during the year. Read more NHTSA data at this link.

Common causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • Accidents at stop signs where the bicyclist fails to yield to oncoming traffic;
  • Accidents at stop signs where the motorist fails to yield to the bicyclist with the right of way;
  • Vehicles that turn left in front of a bicyclist traveling in the opposite direction;
  • Vehicles that turn right into the path of a cyclist traveling in the same direction.

Regardless of how the accident happened, an injured cyclist often needs extensive medical treatment to recover. Learn how medical care is paid for after a collision by contacting Bill Coats.


Learn more about DUI accidents at this page.

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a bicycle crash and need information about your options, contact Bill Coats today for a free no-obligation consultation at (360) 392-2833 or by completing our easy contact form.

If you have been in a different type of collision and want specific information about it, please click on the corresponding link below:

Distracted Driving 

Pedestrian accident

Wrongful Death

Car Accident

Drunk Driving

Semi Tractor Trailer and Truck Accidents

Motorcycle Accident

Personal Injury

Personal injury lawyers help Bellingham bike accident victims recover lost earning capacity

We’ve already covered medical damages, wage loss, and pain and suffering damages from Bellingham bike accident victims claims. Loss of earning capacity is another category of compensation that your personal injury attorney will consider. It is a form of harm that you may have suffered from your bicycle accident. It is more complex to calculate than other losses, generally.

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Bill Coats Law helps Bellingham bike accident victims recover lost wages and pain and suffering damages

Bellingham bike accident victims struggle with lost wages after their accidents. Here's how these costs are calculated by a personal injury lawyer to help victims financially recover from their bike accident.


Lost Wages


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Bill Coats Law helps Bellingham bike accident victims recover funds spent on medical bills

If you’re in a Bellingham bike accident, the result can mean serious injuries that demand a long process of medical treatments and time off of work while recovering. It should be obvious that the insurance covers your medical costs and lost wages, especially if you were not at fault. But you may also be able to recover monetary compensation for pain and suffering, inconvenience, lost quality of life and emotional distress.

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Bellingham Bike to Work and School Day is this Friday!

This Friday, May 18th, is Bellingham's Bike to Work and School Day. It's a way to celebrate those who opt for a bike for their commutes regularly, and encourage new bike commuters in a fun event. Throughout the city there are "celebration stations" where commuters can eat something delicious, grab a coffee and meet fellow cyclists on their way to and from work and school. You can find a map of Bellingham's stations here and link to the fun activities offerred.

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Bellingham bicyclists should brush up on safety rules to avoid a bike vs. car accident

Even with a helmet, a bicyclist is at a severe disadvantage for being injured in a collision with a car. There are too many personal injury accidents between bikes and cars in Bellingham and beyond. Knowing and following the rules of the road before you get out on your bike is critical.

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Bellingham bicyclists at risk in car accidents at intersections

Bellingham is blessed with many trails throughout the interurban trail system that make for easy, scenic travel routes for cyclists. Whatcom County's many picturesque county roads are great for riding too. The downside is a cyclist is at an extreme disadvantage in collisions with a vehicle, and is exposed to significant injury. For this reason, bicyclists should take every precaution possible to avoid involvement in an accident and, should they be involved in an accident, do everything they can to recover compensation for their injuries.

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Should you hire a lawyer if you were injured by a car while riding your bike?

Considering that Bellingham is known for its world-class mountain biking trails, it's no wonder that bicycling is popular in town and throughout Whatcom County. It's also an inexpensive way to get around town, saving money on car maintenance, parking, and of course the cost of a vehicle itself. It's good for your health. It's also great for the environment and reduces traffic. Bicyclists share the road safely with vehicles and also have their own trails to get to recreational rides as well as work.

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Steps to take after a Bellingham bike accident

Even though the City of Belligham has worked hard to make city streets safe for cyclicsts, bicycle accidents are a risk for those who live and work here. Bellingham has introduced measures to strengthen awareness of vehicle drivers on how to share the roads with bikes, but in a car versus bike accident, it's nearly always the cyclist who is more injured.

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