How Georgia Is Trying to Prevent Bike Accidents


April 05, 2011

Recently the Three-Foot Safe Passing Bill passed unanimously in the Georgia House Public Safety Committee. The full house will be voting on the bill soon. Whether the bill will pass when it is put before the House for a full vote is still unclear. The pending legislation would require that drivers of cars maintain at least 3 feet of space between their car and a bicycle traveling on the roadway. If the bill becomes law, Georgia will become one of 16 states that establishes a minimum distance that must be maintained between cars and bicycles.

Many cyclists do not necessarily feel that passing the legislation will decrease the frequency of serious bicycle accidents with automobiles. Some cyclists fear that the legislation will not be well promoted so the general public will be unaware of the new law and fail to observe its safety requirements. Other bicyclists point out that many drivers find bikes a nuisance and fail to respect riders and wonder whether motorists will respect the space requirement.

Cars speeding too close to cyclists cause 1.2 percent of all bicycle accidents every year. While this may seem like a small percentage, 22 percent of those accidents result in catastrophic injuries or death. It may seem that it is a matter of basic road etiquette and common sense that a car should move so that a bicycle on the side of the road has more space. It is surprising many drivers fail to observe this basic safety practice. This often results in cyclists being struck by mirrors, run off the road or struck by the motor vehicle.

This law could help when trying to establish liability in an accident between a car and bicycle. If the car is issued a citation for violating the law for traveling too close, this may be the basis for finding the driver who violates the law negligent based on the doctrine of negligence per se. This doctrine provides for finding negligence based on a person’s violation of a safety statute when the group intended to be protected by the statute are injured by a violation. A driver who collides with a cyclist or runs the cyclist off the road because they are driving too close may well be liable for an accident based on a violation of the statute. Though some drivers may initially ignore the law if it passes, a few verdicts or significant settlements against negligent drivers who violate the rule may reshape driver attitudes and behavior.

Georgia is slowly trying to make its roads safer for cyclists, but if you are involved in a bicycle collision with an automobile and sustain serious injuries, you need the help of a good Georgia bicycle accident attorney. If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has suffered wrongful death in a Georgia bicycle collision with a car, Montlick and Associates can fight hard to protect your rights- as we have for thousands of people over the last 27 years. Our experienced team of attorneys and staff will carefully investigate your bicycle accident so that we can develop the best possible strategy as part of our continuing mission to be known as the top Atlanta bicycle accident law firm in Georgia.

The experienced Atlanta bicycle accident lawyers of Montlick and Associates are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.