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

Guidelines for night lighting your bike

Autumn in Bellingham and Whatcom County brings in a kind of inky darkness that makes me extra aware of our extreme northern latitude. When fall makes way to winter on this December's longest night of the year, it will get dark at 4:15 pm and we will have to wait until 8 a.m. for sunrise! This means bike commuters will be coming and going during rush hour in the dark.

read more

How to crash your mountain bike safer

Bellingham and Whatcom County are becoming increasingly well known as meccas for mountain bikers. As all experienced bikers know, even if you manage to get through your first ride unscathed, you will eventually crash. Though the more rides under your belt you've accumulated the less likely you are to crash, even the most experienced riders crash occasionally. Knowing what to do in case of a crash will help you minimize the severity of injuries and damage to your bike.

How to crash

read more

Stay safe while bicycling on Bellingham roads

I'd like to focus again on the dangers of bicycling, after my previous post about sports injuries. Bellingham recently experienced a sad loss of one of our citizens to a terrible bike accident, and I noticed the ghost bike near where Eric Weight died placed as a memorial and reminder of his death. There's a lot of focus on football being the thing to avoid to keep our heads safe, but it's actually bicycling that carries a greater risk of head injury.

read more

A refresher on bike and pedestrian safety tips

Bellingham is one of the nation's friendliest towns for bicyclists and pedestrians. Tourists and locals enjoy our many trails on and off the pavement. On foot or by bike is one of the best ways to see the town and get to where you want to go.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind as we all start to get out and enjoy the coming spring.

read more

Tips for safe nighttime bicycle riding

Most bike accidents happen between 6 pm and 9 pm, according to a study conducted by the Transportation Data Office. Winter is the most dangerous season, due to earlier nights and daylight savings time. Visibility problems and drivers' distractions contribute to the risk bicyclists face. Bike riders in Bellingham are no less immune to these dangers, even as bike friendly as our streets are. So, many bike riders may ask, is it safe to ride in the evening at all?  Here are some guidelines for night time bike riding that can make for a safer journey. 

read more

Ride your bike in Bellingham? Here's how to fit a bike helmet properly

Protect yourself from a fatal auto-bicycle crash with a properly fitting bike helmet.

Bicycle riding is popular in Bellingham, and many drivers have encountered bike commuters or recreational riders on Whatcom County roads on a daily basis. Unfortunately, some of those encounters result in serious bike accidents, and usually it is the bicyclist who faces the bigger injuries. One thing that can help bicyclists to walk away from a car v. bike accident is a properly fitting helmet. But do you know how to properly fit your helmet?

read more

Wear a Bicycle Helmet – Protect Your Brain!

Sometime you do things that are smart even if the law does not require it.  One such issue is wearing a BIKE HELMET.  Bellingham Washington Personal Injury Attorney Bill Coats says that although Washington State does not legally require bicyclists to wear helmets, various cities in Washington do.  CLICK HERE to see which towns and cities do require a helmet.

read more

Common personal injuries for children in Bellingham

While it is summer and everyone, especially children are out and about enjoying what mother nature has to offer, it is important to remember safety and risk of injury during these exciting months. Children can be injured in many different ways, sometimes it is just a bruise but sometimes it can be more serious.

Here are some of the common personal injuries of Bellingham and Whatcom County children.

read more