05 Jan Virginia: Car Accidents – a Lawyer’s Bicycle
Washington Lawyer is the official journal of the District of Columbia Bar. Its issue for January, 2015, features, “Confusion Over D.C. Bike Laws Leads Many to Ask: Who’s at Fault?” Id. at 38-39, 46.
That Washington Lawyer article notes Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Alabama still honor the antiquated inequitable doctrine of “contributory negligence,” which bars all victims of vehicle accidents and other torts from recovering if they are any bit at fault (even to a small degree). Id. at 39, 46. However, there is a progressive movement in D.C. to change that anachronistic Draconian law, adopting legislatively the more humane “comparative negligence” doctrine already embraced by 46 states, which simply reduces any redress proportionately to any degree of victim fault. Id. at 46.
D.C. ranks 3rd among cities in the United State in growth of cycling during the past 25 years and in the percentage of population who bike to and from work. Id. at 39. Like D.C., Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia are expanding shared and protected bike lanes – including a 50-mile stretch connecting the two cities, which is scheduled for completion in 2015 (and is the course for the annual Cap-to-Cap [Virginia’s current Capitol and colonial Capitol] ride on May 9, 2015).
Indeed, organized bicycling is on the rise among children, including notably with the advent of school cycling teams. In Richmond, for example, the Richmond Cycling Club organizes, funds, and coaches cycling teams at Armstrong High School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, and Fairfield Court and Woodville Elementary Schools; and private schools, Trinity Episcopal, St. Christopher’s, Woodberry Forest, and Miller School have their own competitive cycling teams too.
Moreover, during September 19-27, 2015, Richmond hosts for the first time the annual World Road Cycling Championships, bicycling’s pinnacle international event. It’s time for Virginia legislators and motorists to embrace and safeguard bicycling, the healthy “green” transportation and sport.
Personally, Mr. Waterman is an avid cyclist. Professionally, he is decades-long member of the D.C., Virginia, and Louisiana Bars; and represents victims of vehicle crashes (including bicyclists) medical malpractice, and other wrongful deaths, brain injuries, and other serious personal injuries.