Atlanta is a beautiful, bustling city, and bicycle ridership here more than tripled in the first decade of the 21st Century as people turned to bikes for exercise, recreation, and short commutes. The installation of dozens of bike-sharing stations around the city has further increased the number of riders taking on a bicycle for short trips in town. However, Atlanta’s heavy traffic, lack of bike lanes, hills, and complex major intersections and interchanges create significant risks for bicycle safety. Nationally, bicycle accidents send half a million people to the ER and cause hundreds of deaths every year.
As the city struggles to add more bike lanes and plan for safer pathways for bicycles and pedestrians, cyclists must remain vigilant, ride defensively, and look out for dangers and hazards on the road. Motorists, for their part, must drive attentively and give bicycles respect and room when sharing the road. Bicycle crashes with automobiles can be disastrous or deadly to the rider, but they can be prevented if both parties are paying attention and driving safely.
As a bicyclist injured in a collision with a car or truck, recovering compensation for your significant injuries can be an uphill battle. Durham Law Group can help. Our Atlanta bicycle accident attorneys have a broad range of experience helping personal injury victims hold drivers accountable and recover significant compensation in a wide variety of motor vehicle accidents. Give us a call at 404-845-3434 for a free consultation and immediate assistance if you or a loved one is in need of an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Atlanta
Bicycle accidents can be the fault of rider error, driver error, defective bicycles and equipment, and even defective roadway design or negligent road maintenance. For any cause that lies outside the rider’s control, our Atlanta bicycle accident attorneys work to gather the evidence and prove the fault of the responsible party so that we are positioned to obtain an adequate settlement or litigate your case in court if necessary. Some of the leading causes of bicycle accidents in Atlanta include the following:
- Motorists don’t notice or see the bicycle until it’s too late to avoid a crash. Bicycles are considerably smaller than cars and are present on the road in much fewer numbers. For these reasons, drivers don’t expect to see bicycles and are not thinking about them as they drive. When drivers are drunk or distracted by their cellphones, it’s even harder to spot a bicycle and avert a collision.
- Bicycle crashes happen when motorists fail to yield the right-of-way to bicycles, or vice versa. Cyclists are subject to all the rules of the road of other vehicles and are entitled to share the road just as much as any other vehicle.
- Unsafe passing of a bicycle or unsafe turns cause bicycle accidents. Motorists often drive aggressively around bicycles and put cyclists in jeopardy by their reckless or aggressive maneuvers.
- A bike crash can also be caused by bike failure. Like other consumer products, bicycles are subject to risk from design or manufacturing defects or negligent repairs. Defective brakes, tires and tubes can cause a crash when these components fail at a critical moment. Welding defects on an aluminum frame or defectively manufactured bolts can fail, or the chain can come loose if the bike is designed incorrectly or the chain is negligently installed.
Atlanta Bicycle Safety Laws
Bicycles are classified as vehicles under Georgia traffic law, so all traffic laws that apply to vehicles (not “motor vehicles” specifically) apply to bicycles as well as other vehicles. In addition, some laws specifically apply only to bicycles. Some of these bicycle safety laws include:
- Cyclists are required to travel as near to the right as practicable. However, bicycles can legally occupy the left or center of the lane when turning left, to avoid hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share with another vehicle, or when passing another vehicle.
- Bicycles ridden at nighttime must have a white headlamp and either a red taillamp or red rear reflector.
- Driving with the intent to annoy, harass, intimidate, injure or obstruct a bicycle is a high and aggravated misdemeanor known as aggressive driving.
- Driving with reckless disregard for the safety of cyclists is a misdemeanor reckless driving offense.
- Drivers are required to leave a distance of at least three feet when passing a bicycle.
- Helmets are required for riders under the age of 16. However, riders cannot be fined for failing to wear a helmet, and lack of a helmet is not considered negligence or comparative or contributory negligence by the rider. Lack of a helmet should not lessen an injured rider’s ability to get compensation from a negligent driver who causes the wreck.
Bicycle laws can be confusing. For more questions, we recommend contacting the best bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta has to offer!
Not Just Any Atlanta Bicycle Accident Lawyer
It’s important after a bicycle crash to get a copy of the police report. Often, the bicycle accident victim is in no condition to speak with the police at the scene, so the police report might only contain the driver’s version of events. This report could be biased and used against you, so it’s essential to review the report, correct any inaccuracies or omissions, and get your side in. This is just one of the aspects of your case we can help you with as we strive to make sure you get the medical care and compensation you need to deal with your injuries and move on with your life after a serious crash.
If you or a loved one needs an Atlanta bicycle accident attorney, call Durham Law Group at 404-845-3434 for a free consultation.