Injured in a Seattle Motorcycle Accident? 5 Strange Washington State Motorcycle Laws That Can Affect a Personal Injury Claim
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Seattle or anywhere in Washington, you may be unsure whether or not you have the right to compensation. If you’re worried that something you may have been doing while driving your motorcycle contributed to the accident and could make you ineligible for compensation, you need to talk to a personal injury attorney right away. Even if you were partially to blame for the wreck, you may still be able to make a claim. In addition to standard rules of the road, here are five unusual motorcycle laws in Washington state to be aware of:
#1 Motorcycles Can Ride Side-by-Side
In some states, motorcycles are required to travel single file just as cars do, but in Washington, motorcycles can legally ride two abreast in a single lane. If you were driving beside another motorcycle in a single lane when your accident occurred, don’t worry – you weren’t breaking a traffic law. What’s not legal is for a motorcycle to occupy the same lane as a car. For instance, if a car pulls up beside you in your lane in an effort to pass you, they are breaking a traffic law. If this resulted in your accident, you are not to blame!
#2 Motorcycle Passengers Must Be Of Age
In the state of Washington, child safety seats are required for all children under the age of five. State laws specifically extended this protection to motorcycle passengers and states that “Until adequate child restraint devices for motorcycles are at some time developed…it is, therefore, illegal for the parent or legal guardian of a child under five years of age to transport that child on his or her motorcycle…” If you were driving an under aged child on your motorcycle when the accident occurred, you will no doubt be cited and this could complicate a personal injury case.
#3 Motorcycle Drivers Must Have Eye Protection
In our state, if you drive a motorcycle that doesn’t have a windscreen, you must have eye protection. This requirement can be met in different ways. Since helmets are required by law, if you have one with a snap down face shield, that will work. You can also wear glasses – prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses; either one will suffice. You can also meet the legal requirement by wearing goggles while you drive.
Passengers must wear helmets, but the eye protection law doesn’t apply to them. This gamequacces could become a factor in your accident claim if your eyes weren’t protected and an insurance company tries to assert that your eyesight was impacted by the wind or other factors and contributed to the wreck.
#4 Motorcycle Passengers Must Have their Own Seat
If your motorcycle wasn’t built for two, in the state of Washington, you’re not allowed to bring a passenger along. To legally ride with a passenger, the primary seat must have been designed to accommodate two people or a second permanent seat must be affixed to the bike behind the driver’s seat. In addition, the passenger must either have a dedicated set of foot pegs or they must have their own bucket seat with a seatbelt. If your bike is intended for just one and you allow someone to hitch a ride and you then have an accident, this can expose you to a liability claim for their damages.
#5 Motorcycles Don’t Need Vehicle Insurance
Washington state law doesn’t require motorcyclists to have vehicle insurance coverage, but that doesn’t mean there might not be some liability risk for the uninsured motorcycle operator. If you are at fault for the accident, the other driver can sue you and your personal assets may be at risk if you have no vehicle insurance policy to shield you. If you wreck your motorcycle and no other party was involved, for instance because you were driving too fast for the road conditions, you may be left financially responsible for your medical expenses if you have no vehicle insurance to fall back on.
What’s more typical, though, is that a driver of a car or truck is at fault because they are not driving carefully and watching for motorcycles on the roadways. In these cases, your lack of insurance should not be a factor because the at-fault driver of the other vehicle will be liable for your injuries and associated expenses. Even if you’re not at fault, you’ll need a top-notch attorney to help you take on the insurance companies to ensure you get the best settlement.
Find Out More About Making a Claim for Injuries from a Motorcycle Accident