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

Spring is on its way! Time to get on your bike

Bellingham and Whatcom County are home to some of the best biking trails and roads in the Pacific Northwest. Rolling fields stretch towards mountains and sea amongst easy country roads. World-class trail riding, from beginner to expert, abounds. It's not just hyperbole - professional bike racers live and train right here in town. Recently, the City of Bellingham has introduced new road markings and technology to help ease relations between car and bike, which helps to train both drivers and cyclists on how to share roads safely.

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Bellingham bike commuters: be safe when sharing the road with cars

Bellingham and Whatcom County are becoming increasingly popular for those who want natural beauty in a laid-back, close-knit community. With the many trails connecting live and work spaces and clearly marked bike lanes, more and more commuters are biking to work. This means that bikes share the roads with cars and trucks. Is it safe? Though it’s not a law in Bellingham or the state of Washington, it’s important to wear a bicycle helmet every time you cycle.

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One of the biggest causes of TBI isn't football - it's car accidents

Super Bowl 50 is around the corner, and with it comes news and evidence of players receiving concussions. It’s great to know that someone coming in for a helmet-to-helmet block is going to pay a penalty for it, but not so great when you think about the consequence of such blunt force trauma. Anytime a skull comes into contact with something hard and fast - a helmet, a windshield, a road surface - there's an immediate danger of the brain getting temporarily damaged. The more we learn about head injuries, the more we see how dangerous they are.

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Intersection and Failure to Yield Bicycle Crashes in Bellingham

Bicycling is a great form of transportation. It’s good for your health, it doesn’t pollute nor wear out the pavement. Here in Bellingham, we have good bike parking downtown and lots of paths that don’t allow cars. Even though there are lots of benefits, there are also risks. And on your bike, you’re relying on other drivers to follow the laws and not be unpredictable. Your life may depend on them.

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Attorney Bill Coats Helps Victims of Hit and Run Bicycle Crashes

A hit and run accident that happens to a bicycle rider is unconscionable. Most always between a car and a bike, the bicyclist is the one with the far greater injuries. On a bicycle, you are much more vulnerable to impact than in a car, even at relatively low speeds. If the driver takes off, added to the pain of the injuries is the frustration and anger at that terrible response.

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Bicyclists Who Are Doored Need the Best Legal Representation Possible

It’s not just embarrassing – being “doored” while on a bicycle can be lethal. Being doored means a bike rider slams into the door of a vehicle that has been opened negligently. Sometimes the bike zone is actually in a dangerous place, or riding in this zone is unavoidable. This can happen on any Bellingham or Whatcom County road where bikes travel alongside cars parked parallel to the street. This is a very common collision, unfortunately, and even has a law in Washington State statutes:

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When Your Child Is Hurt By A Careless Driver, Call Attorney Bill Coats

If your child has been hurt by a careless or reckless driver while bicycling, you must be going through a lot of emotions. Not only is your child in pain, you are worried about getting your child the best medical care available, and dealing with a lot of emotions of your own. Bill Coats Law can offer compassionate, empathetic attention to you as you begin to grapple with the effects of the accident.

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Traumatic Brain Injury after a Bicycle Crash in Bellingham is Not Uncommon

Riding a bike offers little protection between rider and the environment. If you are on your bike and are hit by a vehicle, or your crash was caused by some factor beyond your control, you are likely dealing with a lot of injuries. In a collision between a bike and a car, the injuries a bike rider receives are almost always far worse than what the driver walks away with, especially if the cyclist’s head takes the impact of the hit.

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Bill Coats Helps Bike Accident Victims Who Were Thrown Over the Handlebars

Little is there as protection between the ground and your body if you are thrown over your bike’s handlebars. Always wear a helmet, because it can be the only thing that protects you from injuries. Yet it is technically not a law in many Washington cities, Bellingham included. A car has seat belts, airbags, and other safety features that go into the engineering in case of a crash. However, a bike lacks these.

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