Trail Etiquette in Seattle

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on May 23, 2018

Pedestrians are by far the most vulnerable things on the road. And while they are often cautious about speeding cars, they tend to neglect a less-known danger that comes on two wheels: bicycles.

Just last year in Washington, D.C., a 65-year-old woman died from the injuries she sustained when a bicycle struck her. Unfortunately, this case is not as unique as it should be, which is why it is so important that we learn how to share the road responsibly, so that these types of tragic deaths and injuries can be prevented.

When a Cyclist Collides with a Pedestrian

There is nothing more lovely on a sunny day than a scenic trail view, fresh air, and exercise. And all at no cost! No wonder so many people choose to partake in trail activities. A trail is a road utilized by anyone from a pedestrian, jogger, dog walker, to a skater or a cyclist. Whether it’s a trail, sidewalk, or path, the most vulnerable person on it is a pedestrian.

When it comes to nature trails, scenic walks, and pathways, it is only normal that people will be moving at different speeds. Couples with children will move slower than a jogger. A tourist photographer might be at a standstill, while a bicyclist might be going 50 mph. Due to the variety of speeds encountered on the trails, it’s absolutely vital to know who yields way to whom.

An easy rule to remember for cyclists is that they should always yield to those on foot. Or, as the famous cyclists’ slogan says, “Wheels Yield to Heels.”

Trail Safety Rules for Cyclists

  • Stay alert, pay attention to what is in front of you, anticipate what might be coming.
  • Pass on the left. Faster trail users should pass slower parties on the left.
  • When passing, ring a bell or audibly warn “Passing on your left!”
  • Ride predictably, do not weave all over the place.
  • Stay alert to children on the path.
  • Stay alert to pets on the path.
  • If you are cycling with your children, make sure they have had enough practice to safely use the bike and understand the trail rules.
  • Know the rules of the trail you are using.
  • If you are riding while it is dark, be sure to use lights.

If you’re unsure about anything, you can always check the Seattle Rules of the Road guide.

Trail Safety Rules for Pedestrians

  • Walk on the right side of the trail; slowest traffic keep right.
  • If you’re bringing your pet (check trail rules to make sure it is allowed) keep it leashed at all times, and remove pet waste.
  • Do not litter along the trails.
  • If you’re on a busy trail, do not walk side by side, but instead in line. This gives cyclists enough room to pass you safely.

What to Do If You Have Been Hit by a Cyclist

A cyclist colliding with a pedestrian can result in injuries just as bad as a car wreck, sometimes even worse. This was the case when a 67-year-old woman was run over by a man on a bike. The woman was taken to a hospital emergency room where she was examined for severe bruising, knee damage, and diagnosed with a fractured elbow. She is currently considering a civil suit against the cyclist.

If a cyclist has hit you, firstly make sure you are okay:

  • Get immediate medical attention if necessary.
  • Get the contact information of the person who hit you.
  • Document physical evidence with pictures.
  • Gather contact information of anyone who witnessed the collision.
  • Contact an attorney.

Unfortunately, because a bicycle is a non-motorized vehicle, most bicyclists do not have insurance policies. However, if a bicyclist was at fault for your injuries, you might still be able to pursue a claim.

Our Seattle injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you get the settlement you deserve to cover all your losses and medical costs. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury while walking, contact our office today. Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., has four decades of experience representing Seattle-area injury victims and their families. Call a Seattle pedestrian collision attorney at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., today for a free case evaluation by dialing (888) 228-3860.

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Written by Joseph Pendergast, this book is designed to help people who have suffered a personal injury understand their rights and the steps to take to be sure they get the compensation they deserve.

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