Washington law treats bicycles as legal road vehicles and confers upon bicyclists all the same rights and responsibilities that apply to drivers of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, as Seattle area cyclists probably know, drivers often fail to give bicyclists the same right of way as they would other vehicles and sometimes simply lack awareness of bicyclists with whom they must share the road.
Although the circumstances surrounding a recent incident remain under investigation, an inattentive driver may be responsible for a hit-and-run accident that sent a bicyclist to the hospital with severe injuries. The accident has Seattle police searching for information that may help them identify the driver of a dump truck that witnesses described as a blue and silver or gray tandem truck.
Witnesses found the 49-year-old victim underneath his bicycle near the onramp of Interstate 5 at Yale Avenue and Howard Street. According to witnesses, the downed bicyclist was found after the suspect dump truck made a right hand turn onto the onramp and headed southbound down the interstate.
The bicyclist's injuries may have been made worse by the fact that he was not wearing a helmet, but state law does not mandate helmet use for bicyclists. If police succeed in identifying the dump truck driver and discover that the driver violated traffic laws or failed to yield to the right of way, the injured bicyclist will be entitled to seek compensation for his injuries including medical expenses, loss of income and damages for any long term effects resulting from the accident.
Source: The Seattle Times, "UPDATE: Seattle bicyclist critically injured by hit-and-run driver," John de Leon, Nov. 13, 2012