Meliha Perez Halpern is now Senior Counsel at ChasenBoscolo

Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

Lean On Us For Legal Support And Direction

When bicyclists or pedestrians are involved in an accident, they are more likely to be seriously hurt compared to drivers. Walking and biking are healthy, practical, and environmentally-friendly ways to get around, and many of our laws are designed to protect those who are hurt in the process. Attorney Meliha Pérez Halpern understands that even when the facts of the case and any relevant statutes are in your favor, it can be difficult to navigate the complexities of the insurance system as well as any personal injury-related legal action you may be able to pursue depending on your situation. We are available to partner with you and make sure you get every bit of compensation you deserve. We will use the law to support and guide you through this complex process.

Maryland, Virginia, and The District of Columbia are all considered “no-fault” states when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, though they each take a different approach to insurance coverage. Generally speaking, even as a pedestrian or cyclist, if you or a resident relative own a vehicle, your auto insurance provider may cover your damages—to a certain point—under a personal injury protection (PIP) policy depending on whether you were injured in Maryland, Virginia or D.C.. If your claim is larger than the maximum coverage, or you are severely injured by the accident—as pedestrians and cyclists often are when hit by a vehicle—you may be able to pursue a 3rd party claim for compensation. Take a look at the different laws geared towards bicyclists and pedestrians in these three areas.


Bicycles are also treated as vehicles in Maryland, meaning you share many of the same responsibilities as a car driver. There are a few differences: bikes have the right of way, for example, but they cannot ride on the road where the speed limit is over 50 mph. Bicycle riders can be hit when a car turns left or right in front of them, when a car sideswipes them, or when a car door opens in front of them. As for pedestrians, they must obey the usual laws about crossing the street at the right time and place. If a vehicle driver hits a bicyclist or pedestrian, the driver must only pay damages if he or she was completely at fault (as with Virginia and DC, Maryland adheres to a strict interpretation of contributory negligence which prevents anyone with any amount of fault in an accident from collecting any damages).

Either way, you can typically claim some damages through either the driver’s Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) insurance or your own if the driver does not have P.I.P. coverage—all of which has nothing to do with fault in the accident. Our attorney can help you determine who was liable for your accident and advise you on your options. Speak with us to make sure your needs are always heard and addressed in the event of a pedestrian or bicycle accident.


As in Maryland and DC, Virginia bicyclists have the same basic rights and duties as motorists. That means they must ride with the flow of traffic, obey traffic signs, and only pass other vehicles when it is safe. To keep the roads safe, they must also follow laws specific to bicyclists: for example, they cannot carry anything that prevents them from holding the handlebars with both hands, and they may not wear headphones in both ears while riding. Virginia bicyclists must also follow the helmet laws in their area, which may require helmets for riders over 14 years old, over 16 years old, or in certain areas of town.

Both pedestrians and bicyclists can claim compensation for injuries if they’ve been in an accident. If the amount exceeds their no-fault insurance coverage—known as MedPay in Virginia and typically worth $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 in medical expense benefits—they may be able to recover more damages in court, but only if they don’t share any fault in the accident, since Virginia adheres to a strict contributory negligence rule that prevents any damages to be paid in a lawsuit where the plaintiff was even 1% at-fault. Our team can analyze your case to see if you would qualify to file an insurance claim or lawsuit, but you must move quickly to contact us since there is a relatively short window to decide whether you are going to file for MedPay benefits or pursue a lawsuit. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask our attentive lawyer.

District of Columbia

When you’re riding a bicycle on a DC roadway, you have the same general rights and duties as a vehicle driver. If you’re under 16, you must wear a helmet. You also have to yield to pedestrians on sidewalks, avoid riding on sidewalks in certain areas, and have certain lights or reflectors when you’re riding at night. Pedestrians need to cross at crosswalks or intersections and avoid walking while using a cell phone. If you neglect these laws and contribute to an accident, you will still likely be eligible to your P.I.P. benefits, but you may not be able to recover damages for any injuries you received thanks to DC’s contributory negligence rule. In many cases, you may waive your right to P.I.P. benefits in favor of pursuing a 3rd party claim against the driver who hit you. Laws for bicycles and pedestrians are pretty straightforward, but it can become overwhelming and incredibly complex when you’ve been in an accident and you must decide (typically within 60 days) whether to accept insurance benefits, pursue legal action, or potentially both if you qualify. Don’t hesitate to call our team for the legal support you need to get through this difficult time.

At Pérez Halpern, LLC, we truly care about helping you make a fast and thorough recovery. That means helping you make up for lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses that can overwhelm anyone who has been hurt in an accident. We will take care of everything and work closely with you the whole way through. We are here to patiently listen to your needs and take an effective course of action to address them. Contact our law firm to discuss your case with our hard-working attorney. We will go above and beyond to make sure you are satisfied with the results.