Important Facts Atlanta Cycling Accident Victims Should Know
While bicycling is healthy, inexpensive and environmentally friendly, an alcohol impaired motorist or distracted driver can quickly turn a leisurely Sunday bike ride into a dangerous and frightening experience. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that during a recent one year period, motor vehicle collisions involving bicyclists claimed the lives of over 700 riders and caused injury to 49,000 other cyclists. During the same period, bicycle riders accounted for two percent of all traffic-related fatalities.
Although many communities in the area surrounding Atlanta are actively encouraging people to cycle, there are close to a dozen bicyclists a year who die in Georgia cycling accidents. Our experienced Atlanta bicycle accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing bike riders injured by careless and inattentive drivers for decades. We have provided some key information that all Georgia bicyclists should know.
What should I do if I am hit by the driver of a passenger car while riding my bike?
If you are struck while cycling, you should summon the police, so a law enforcement officer can investigate the crash and prepare a law enforcement accident report. Generally, you should take the same steps you would if you were involved in a traffic collision while driving a car. This means that you should get the motorist’s insurance and driver’s license information. If there are witnesses that saw the crash, you should obtain contact information for the witnesses. Assuming your cell phone has a camera, you should also snap photos of your injuries, bicycle, the vicinity and any damage to the car. When you speak to the police officer, you should share facts that you believe demonstrate the driver was at-fault, such as:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Using a cell phone while driving
- Exceeding the speed limit
Does the law favor the cyclist in a collision between a bicycle and motor vehicle?
A bicycle is treated like a “vehicle” under Georgia law so general traffic rules apply to cyclists with some limited exceptions. This means that as a cyclist you are expected to obey stop signs, traffic signals, right or way rules and other rules of the road. Rules related to intersections are particularly important because intersections constitute the most common location for bicycle accidents.
What if the driver does not have insurance?
While all Georgia drivers are required to carry certain minimum amounts of liability coverage, there are far too many uninsured drivers in our state who disregard this requirement. In some cases, our cycling accident lawyers might identify other viable defendants like the manufacturer of the bike or car, motor vehicle owner, employer of the driver or the public entity responsible for the roadway. Even in situations where there is no other responsible party, you might be able to pursue an uninsured motorist claim against your own auto insurance policy.
Am I required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle in Georgia?
Georgia has a mandatory helmet law that applies to cyclist but only riders under the age of 18. However, the prudent option is to always wear a helmet when riding. Georgia law also requires that a light be turned on at the front of a bike and that a reflector be located at the rear of a bike, so riders are more visible when riding at night.
Why do I need to contact an Atlanta cycling accident attorney if the police officer said I was at-fault?
While law enforcement officers are trained to analyze crash sites, they are certainly not infallible. Our personal injury attorneys conduct our own evaluation, so we might see the facts differently in term of responsibility for causing the accident. Even if a cyclist’s own negligence contributed to an accident, this does not necessarily preclude recovery. If the jury determines that both the driver and rider were at-fault, the cyclist can still recover provided his or her percentage of fault is less than fifty percent.
Put Our Law Firm's 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For You!
If you or your loved one has been injured in an Atlanta bicycle accident caused by a careless or inattentive driver, you might be entitled to financial compensation. Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, 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.