Magnuson Lowell Blog
Each week we post a blog about relevant legal issues. Glance through our various topics to learn more about a particular legal situation.
You may have passed your driver’s test when you were 16-years old, but did you know that certain types of car insurance are mandatory in Washington? That’s not the only often overlooked driving law in Washington. There are dozens of laws dedicated to how drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians must act on the roads all described in RCW Chapter 46.61 – also known as the Rules of the Road. Here are just a few little-known Washington driving laws you might find interesting.
1. Driving on Sidewalk is Prohibited – Except for Bicyclists!
RCW 56.61.606 specifies that no vehicle shall drive upon a permanent or authorized sidewalk area. However, RCW 46.61.261 specifically implies that bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks. Be careful, though, while speeding down the sidewalk because bicyclists have a duty to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on all sidewalks and crosswalks.
2. Slow Drivers Must Pull Off the Road.
Driving behind a large semi-truck on a two-lane highway can be frustrating. Moving slowly behind a dilapidated mini van might have the same effect. Washington’s legislature recognizes not only this frustration, but the danger that can stem from drivers proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic. RCW 46.61.427 requires slow vehicles with five or more cars behind them to pull off the road.
3. Car Insurance is Mandatory!
Outside the Rules of the Road there are interesting tidbits as well. RCW 48.22.085 requires that no new liability insurance policy be issued for vehicles without including Personal Injury Protection insurance. PIP insurance acts like health insurance without deductibles or co-pays after you are injured while in a vehicle regardless of fault. However, PIP insurance can be expressly waived to save a few dollars per month. It’s not worth it! Similarly, the state minimum liability insurance policy is $25,000 per person up to $50,000 per accident. Trust me, that doesn’t go as far as you’d think. More is better.
4. Hitchhiking is Against the Law.
RCW 46.61.255 states soliciting a ride while standing on or along a public roadway is unlawful. There is an exception for an emergency. So if your car breaks down and you need immediate assistance, there is no violation. It’s not just hitchhiking either. Standing along the roadway to solicit employment or business is also unlawful.
These laws seek to create a safe driving environment. Of course, no system is perfect and regardless of how well you follow the laws, other drivers may ignore the Rules of the Road. If you are injured in a car accident while on the road. You may have a personal injury claim. If you find yourself injured after a crash, call the experienced attorneys at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell, P.S. for a free case evaluation.