Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Georgia
Bicycling Accidents in Georgia
Bicycling accidents are oftentimes horrendously catastrophic, with cyclists frequently getting the short end of the stick. While the cyclist is shipped off in an ambulance, the driver on scene blames the accident on the cyclist. What makes these cases tough is the public's general impatience towards cyclists. Typically, most non-bicyclist, car-driving folk hate cyclists. Slower than cars and taking up space on the road, it's safe to say nobody enjoys driving behind one. This makes these cases tough when they go to trial because it's difficult to get a good, empathetic jury.
In 2019 in NYC, there were 6,000 collisions involving a bike and a car with 36 fatalities, yet not one of the drivers had criminal charges pressed against them. That goes to show police officers aren't exactly on the cyclists' side either. While their peers may be against them, GA Law 40-6-144 explicitly states: “Except as provided by resolution or ordinance of a local government, no person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk.” For legal purposes, a bicycle is considered a vehicle, and the cyclist is considered a driver. Riding bikes on sidewalks is prohibited statewide in Georgia for anyone over the age of 12 unless otherwise permitted by specific local ordinance as seen above. As a trial lawyer who advocates for victims of cycling accidents and someone who enjoys cycling, I've laid out some safety tips that help prevent these types of accidents. First, verify that your bike is roadway ready by checking off the Georgia Governor Office of Highway Safety's checklist.
Georgia Bicycle Safety Laws
- Helmets are required for peoples under the age of 16. Helmets must fit properly and be fastened securely.
- When riding a bike at nighttime, you must have a white headlight that is bright enough to be observed from at least 300 feet away. At a minimum, you must have a red reflector on the rear.
- Riders under the age of 13 must be supervised.
- Ride on the permanent, attached seat, and do not allow another person to ride on your handlebars.
- No bicycle should carry more than one person at a time, for which it is equipped and designed.
- Do not transport a child under one year of age as a passenger on a bicycle on a highway. (There are exceptions to this law i.e. if the child is in a bicycle trailer or infant sling.)
- Do not attach yourself to a motor vehicle while on a bicycle.
- Ride as close to the right side of the road as you can while on a bicycle.
- Do not ride more than two abreast except if on a bicycle path.
- No person riding a bicycle should carry a package or item that prevents them from having at least one hand on the handlebars.
- Bicycles (sold or operated) must be equipped with a brake that will enable the cyclist to make the wheels skid to a stop on dry, level pavement.
- No bicycle shall be equipped or operated while equipped with a set of handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate his or her hands above his the operator's shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.
Georgia Bicycle Safety Tips
I highly encourage that people of all ages protect themselves by wearing a helmet. Avoid hazards to safe riding including rough pavement, drain grates, potentially opening car doors, etc., and exercise due care when passing a vehicle. Take proper precautions to minimize the chance of an accident with a car while cycling on the road. Unfortunately, even while taking all the proper recommended precautions, accidents can and do happen. Be prepared and know your rights if you are hit by a car while biking in Georgia.
Can You Sue if You Get Hit By a Car on a Bike?
Yes, you can sue for negligence if hit by a car on a bicycle. If they are determined to be at fault, the driver's car insurance will likely cover your medical bills and property damage. Types of incidents where drivers are typically found at fault:
- Drifting into the bike lane and striking a cyclist.
- Turning without first checking their rear-view mirror.
- Opening a car door on a cyclist.
- Running a red light or stop sign.
- Tailgating a cyclist.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident
- Wait for the police to arrive. You want your version of events in the police report.
- Obtain driver and witness contact information
- Document what happened and document your injuries. Pictures, pictures, pictures!
- Preserve Evidence. (Bike, clothing, etc.)
- Seek counsel from a qualified attorney in your area.
As mentioned previously, cyclists are often seen as a nuisance on the road and are commonly blamed on-scene for the accident. Bicyclists have the responsibility to adhere to laws, same as persons driving cars. They also have a right to space and safety on the roadway, same as persons driving cars. When these rights are violated due to the negligence of someone driving a motor vehicle, catastrophic injuries can occur. Common bicycling accident injuries include:
Minor Bicycle Accident Injuries
- Pain & difficulty moving
Catastrophic Bicycle Accident Injuries
- Skull fracture
- Rib fractures
- Facial fractures
- Dental fractures
- Cranial hemorrhage
- Ruptured spleen
- Bowel contusions
If you are injured while bicycling in Georgia, seek medical attention immediately and contact a bicycle accident attorney. Your physical, mental, and financial health are important to us.
Contact an experienced Atlanta Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Call (404) 618-0960 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. The purpose of this initial consultation is to:
- Answer any questions you may have about your potential case.
- Determine what your Georgia bicycle injury case may be worth.