A Roadmap for Safety in D.C.

Three-time “Lawyer of The Year” Patrick Regan explains how we can protect cyclists from injury and the city from more litigation.

Several lawyers sitting and standing in a group in office

Justin Smulison

October 12, 2022 04:30 PM

A few years ago, personal injury lawyer and lifelong District resident Patrick Regan started noticing a disturbing new trend: Severe bicycle accident claims in the Washington D.C. area were rising sharply. The president and senior partner of Regan Zambri Long, who is himself a bicycle enthusiast, knew this had to be part of a bigger pattern.

In fact, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) reported an average of 334 crashes involving bicyclists in the District each year for the past five years—nearly one per day. In part, Regan says, there is always a risk for drivers in a densely populated area, from the time they walk to their car to the moment they start the engine, because cyclists can move with nearly the same speed as a car, appearing in an instant without a warning sound. Another concern is the large trucks that seriously injure and kill cyclists—particularly if they are not equipped with required side guards.

“Cyclists will almost always suffer severe injuries in a collision, and as we know, the related costs, such as medical care and lost wages, can reach seven figures,” says Regan, who was named Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in 2020 and 2014 for Medical Malpractice Law—Plaintiffs and in 2022 for Mass Torts—Plaintiffs in Washington, D.C.

Regan Zambri Long has had much success representing injured bicyclists. In one recent example, the firm recovered $6.9 million for a cyclist who was severely injured by a garbage truck. In another recent case, the firm obtained a $3 million settlement in a claim against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). In that case, the firm represented a bicyclist who suffered severe leg injuries when he was struck by a Metro bus.

While a fair number of the claims that come to the attention of the firm are caused by reckless or negligent driving, Regan has observed a common element among many others.

“Several injured cyclists were merely following the signs and paths laid out for them. The bicycle lanes in Washington go against traffic, which makes operating a bike, car, bus or truck incredibly risky,” Regan says. “Ask any professional city engineer, or look at any other bicycling system and you will find that the lanes go with traffic. Washington’s system is a result of incredibly poor planning by the city, and no one has explained why it was designed this way.”

Add to that the fact that 104 miles of bike lanes added to the city since 2002 don’t add up to a complete network, with many barriers that cannot be crossed, multi-lane avenues and busy intersections impeding safe passage for cyclists. Even protected bike lanes, including the popular 15th Street bike lane, pose a danger to riders if they travel alongside two-way streets and cross major intersections.

Regan adds that drivers of all vehicles need to be acutely aware of their surroundings because under the new Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act, defendants must now prove that a cyclist or pedestrian was more than 50% at fault in order to demonstrate contributory negligence.

It doesn't have to be this way. For a blueprint on how to solve the problem, Regan looks to countries like Italy, which was so decimated following World War II that it had to reintroduce cars to bicycle-dominated roads and integrate car ownership into a culture of rider safety.

Of course, U.S. cities are doing the opposite—working to retrofit automobile routes for bike commuters. Regan notes that with some creativity and the will of city officials, U.S. cities can implement a bicycle-friendly culture, lives can be saved, and drivers can avoid becoming unwitting defendants in accident cases.

“The city can serve everyone’s best interests and protect its citizens and employees by revisiting and redrawing the bike lanes,” Regan says. “This will be crucial as more people return to working in the office and bicycle traffic increases. We know change will not happen overnight, but by shifting priorities, the city and entities like WMATA can avoid further litigation and keep more people safe.”

Headline Image: Noah Willman

Related Articles

5 Mistakes to Avoid In a Slip and Fall Lawsuit

by Best Lawyers

Learn how to avoid common mistakes during a slip and fall lawsuit. Report the accident, seek medical attention, gather evidence and speak to an attorney.

Yellow caution sign with blue wet floor background


The Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries

by Slawomir Platta, Esq.

The risks of slip and fall accidents can cause serious medical issues and costs for victims. It’s important to know which areas of the body can be impacted the most for serious injury after a slip and fall accident.

Skeletal figure slipping and falling on staircase


Understanding Duty of Care For Slip and Fall Injuries on Municipal Property

by Darcy Romaine

If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, on municipal property, there are several crucial steps to take before making legal claims. Here’s everything you need to do.

Backpack on ground with person falling in backdrop


Steps To Take After a Naperville Car Accident

by Mark Mathys

Learn about the steps to take after a Naperville car accident that can help protect your right to receive fair compensation for damages.

Two cars damaged from accident with vehicles in backdrop


Results That Make a Difference

by John Fields

Thomas Moore and Judith Livingston continue to secure some of the largest verdicts in New York state for their injured clients.

Male and female lawyer in blue suits


Consequential Cases, Life-Changing Results

by John Fields

Best Lawyers honoree David Perecman on his firm’s commitment to helping the seriously injured.

Headshot of man in light blue suit standing outside


2022: Another Banner Year

by John Fields

Block O’Toole & Murphy continues to secure some of New York’s highest results for personal injury matters.

Three men in business suits standing in office

Fighting for Florida

by Justin Smulison

Three-time “Lawyer Of The Year”* Steve Yerrid reflects on how South Florida was the setting for some of his most memorable trials.

Headshot of man with dark suit and red tie outside in front of fountain

"Lawyer of the Year"

Woman with red shirt and black jacket with brown hair

Wendy N Reed

Energy Law

Washington, D.C., DC


Unwavering Dedication to Clients

by Best Lawyers

Trial attorneys Michael Lyons and Chris Simmons find motivation when the result means everything.

Trial Attorneys at Lyons & Simmons

Dan Sciano Renaissance Lawyer

by Justin Smulison

Tinsman & Sciano recently celebrated 50 years as greater San Antonio’s leading trial law firm for civil litigation and personal injury. Daniel J.T. Sciano obtained judgments for his clients in both Federal and State courthouses in 2021. A trial lawyer with many talents and diverse knowledge of the law.

Tinsman & Sciano Celebrates 50

Aim High and Fly

by Khalil Abdullah

From a silent victim of hometown segregation to Air Force captain and lawyer of consummate skill, Karen Evans exemplifies leadership—and vows always to help those who seek to follow her path.

Karen Evans' Leadership in the Airforce

Out of the Sky: What Construction Workers Can Do if Injured on the Job

by Justin Smulison

Construction zones with unsafe working conditions have long been the sites of injuries for workers. The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. fights for victims in New York City and Long Island.

Advice for Injured Construction Workers

Withstand the Ban

by Jeffrey A. Calabrese and Kirby Black

With the recent Federal Trade Commission’s announcement proposing a complete ban on noncompete agreements, we offer advice to companies moving forward.

Figure out of frame signing a non-descript contract

Employers Are Budding Heads on Marijuana in the Workplace

by M. Tae Phillips and Melanie C. Cormier

As employment lawyers, we receive many questions from employers navigating marijuana legalization. Below, we answer the top three most asked questions.

Statue of Liberty holding a marijuana joint

Noncompete Extinct

by Mark W. Bakker

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a blanket ban on noncompete agreements that could radicalize post-termination protections afforded to employers.

Dark figure walking up red staircase to open door

Trending Articles

Whistleblower Legislation Opens the Doors for More International Claims

by Justin Smulison

An Anti-Money Laundering Act, part of a recently passed Omnibus Budget in the U.S. Senate, is expanding protection for whistleblowers both domestically and internationally.

Shadow figure in spotlight against red and blue brick wall

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees

by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers Voting Is Now Open

by Best Lawyers

Voting has begun in several countries across the globe, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. Below we offer dates, details and answers to voting-related questions to assist with the voting process.

Hands holding smartphone with five stars above phone

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023

by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

Rising Transfer Taxes

by Angus C. Beverly

Transfer taxes in California are becoming a statewide trend with potentially national implications. Here is a breakdown of the effects in several cities.

State of California in orange with city in backdrop

Could Reign Supreme End with the Queen?

by Sara Collin

Canada is revisiting the notion of abolishing the monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, but many Canadians and lawmakers are questioning if Canada could, should and would follow through.

Teacup on saucer over image of Queen's eye

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some

by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom

by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees

by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

The Upcycle Conundrum

by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests

by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers

by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US


2022: Another Banner Year

by John Fields

Block O’Toole & Murphy continues to secure some of New York’s highest results for personal injury matters.

Three men in business suits standing in office

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect

by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller