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

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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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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