Safe driving requires a lot of concentration. Unfortunately, due to a rise in the use of personal electronics, many drivers are very distracted behind the wheel. New technologies have outpaced state and local governments’ ability to enact new laws to regulate the use of technological devices while driving. District of Columbia drivers are prohibited from using cellphones while driving. Under D.C.’s 2004 Distract Driving Safety Act, the penalty for texting while driving was only $100. However, a new bill introduced by D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson makes provides that a second ticket for distracted driving would carry a $100 fine. A third citation would result in a $400 fine and 60 to 180-day suspension in the driver’s license and registration. Unfortunately, it is a far too common site to see a driver texting behind the wheel. In 2012, of 642 bicycle collisions in the District, over 40% resulted in injury to the person biking. Cyclists are at a great risk of injury due to their exposure, especially relative to cars. Very serious injuries can occur when a distracted driver collides with a cyclist. Here are some examples of the most common bicycle and car collisions:
- Dooring– Dooring accidents occur when the driver of a parked car opens the car door in the path of oncoming bike traffic, causing the cyclist to crash into the door. These accidents can be avoided by drivers keeping a proper lookout for oncoming traffic. It is also important for cyclists to keep a proper distance from parked cars.
- Right Cross – Right cross accidents happen when a cyclist entering an intersection is side-swiped by a motorist coming from the right side.
- Right Hook – Right hook accidents happen when a car and cyclist are traveling parallel in the same lane of traffic with the car to the left of the cyclist. The car then turns right and hits the cyclist. These accidents can be avoided by the motorist keeping a lookout for cyclists traveling on the side of the road or in a dedicated bike lane.
- Left Cross – Left cross accidents happen when a motorist is turning left in an intersection and collides with a cyclist heading straight in the opposite direction. These accidents frequently occur when a motorist is looking ahead, but fails to see the cyclist coming from the other direction to the left or fails to judge the cyclist’s speed.
- Rear-Ender – Just like in regular car accidents, cyclists can be rear ended too. This occurs when a motorist fails to keep a safe distance from a cyclist traveling in front of him.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident as a result of a distracted driver, contact Peter C. Grenier of the Grenier Law Group at 202-768-9600 (main)/202-768-9599 (direct) or [email protected].