Bill changing compensation for injured walkers, cyclists advances in DC

WASHINGTON — A measure that would enable more walkers and bikers to legally collect money for medical bills if they’re struck by a car is a big step closer to becoming law in D.C.

On Tuesday, the full D.C. Council unanimously backed the “Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act of 2016,” which would loosen restrictions on compensation to pedestrians and cyclists struck by vehicles in the District.

Unlike most parts of the country, existing law in D.C., Maryland and Virginia prevents anyone who is even fractionally liable for a crash from collecting anything for medical bills or other costs. The bill would allow victims to successfully sue for damages as long as they are less than 50 percent liable.

The measure is expected to see a final vote after the August recess.

Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted her support for the bill. Advocates for bicycle and pedestrian safety also support the bill.

The bill had long sat in committee and then saw an initial vote before the full council pushed back in June.

Versions of the bill had stalled in the council since 2014.

AAA Mid-Atlantic warned its members that the potential increase in liability could lead to an increase in car insurance premiums.

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