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

Victims in Bicycle Crashes that Result in Spinal Injury Can Call Bill Coats for a Free Case Evaluation

Bicycling has many benefits – economic, environmental, and healthful. It’s a great way of getting around town, especially here in bike-friendly downtown Bellingham. Some of the roads around Whatcom County offer scenic rides beyond compare, and Galbraith Mountain attracts professional mountain bikers to live here and train. However, in collisions between bicyclists and motor vehicles, the cyclist is no match for the vehicle.

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Bicycle Accidents Resulting in Wrongful Death in Whatcom County

The City of Bellingham has made roads safer for bicycles compared to many cities of its size, but this doesn’t mean drivers know how to negotiate bike traffic safely. When a bicycle and a car or truck collide, it almost always results in greater injury to the cyclist, and sometimes, those injuries are fatal.

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When do you call a lawyer?

It’s one of the hardest times in life – after a debilitating accident. No one wants to be in this situation, but what if you are? You don’t have to go it alone. Because when you have to call the insurance company, to try to get your bills covered just as your policy should be designed to do, it can feel like David phoning up Goliath to try to make a deal.

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Be careful when transporting fragile goods: wear a bicycle helmet

Did you know that some cities do not require bicyclists to wear helmets? There is no state law mandating their use, either. According to the Washington Department of Transportation, the only cities and counties that do require helmets while bicycling is a rather short list. The most recent city to adopt a helmet law is Dupont, in 2008. The first were the cities located in King County, except for Seattle – until the law was adapted to include the major city just twelve years ago.

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Tips for Motorists on Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

May 15 is Bike to Work and School Day. As the weather warms, more people take their bicycles on the road, for commuting to work, helping the environment, exercise, recreation, and to save on automobile expenses. Generally, 7% of Americans commute by bicycle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2012 survey.

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Washington’s Bicycle Safety Tips and Traffic Laws

There are basic bicycle traffic laws in the State of Washington that perhaps the most savvy of cyclists could benefit from while on the road.  For example, the use of hand signals when turning, stopping or changing speed is the law (RCW 46.62.758).  These laws that clearly define parameters for bicycling were introduced, not just with the safety of bikers as a concern, but for that of pedestrians and drivers as well.  In addition to laws there are a few safety tips recommended by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

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Bellingham and Whatcom County are popular for bicyclists, whether bike commuting to work, riding the trails, or taking a nice road ride in the county. However, when a car and bike collide, it's nearly always the cyclist who is hurt worse.

Lynn loved to ride her bike.  Every workday she rode to her job at Joint Base Lewis McChord.  Lynn was well aware of the dangers of riding and always rode safely with a sharp eye out for hazards.  She was in the bike lane as she approached an intersection.  The light turned green and Lynn proceeded straight when the commercial vehicle to her left turned suddenly and hit her, crushing her bike and breaking her leg.

Bellingham attorney Bill Coats’ handling of a case with multiple defendants shows how a careful bike accident attorney can use the principle of “divide and conquer” to obtain over a million dollar settlement for his client.