Georgia Bicycle Accidents: How Do I Stay Safe?


March 14, 2011

Many people consider bicycling to be an enjoyable form of recreation or a handy way to travel short distances. Cyclists must consider safety measures and traffic laws in order to share the road legally and safely with cars. Although cycling laws vary greatly by state, there are general safety practices all cyclists will find useful, and certain liabilities all cyclists face.

Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, represents those who suffer serious injury or wrongful death in bicycle accidents, whether in the Atlanta metro area or the most rural areas of Georgia. Our experienced bicycle accident lawyers work diligently for the best interests of our clients as part of our ongoing commitment to being known as the top personal injury law firm in Georgia.

The best thing a cyclist can do, regardless of where he or she will be riding, is to invest in good safety gear. The most important piece of safety equipment on the list is a bicycle helmet. Many states including Georgia have helmet laws, so riding without one can result in a citation as well as unnecessary injury. Under Georgia law, a helmet is only required for bicyclists who are 16 or younger. However a helmet is such a fundamental piece of safety equipment, riders of all ages can greatly reduce the risk of suffering serious injury in a bicycle collision with a car or other object, or a fall, by wearing a helmet.

Visibility of a cyclist is a very critical factor in preventing serious bicycle motor vehicle collisions. For this reason, a bicycle light is also required in Georgia and many other states because they are essential for safe night riding. There are bicycle lights that can be mounted on the handlebars and work like flashlights, and other lights that can be attached under the seat and to the spokes to make the cyclist more visible to motorists. Reflectors, reflective clothing, and light-colored or day-glow jackets and clothing also make riding safer. Cyclists need to be as visible as they can be; at one-seventh the size of a car, the more noticeable you are the less your chance of being struck by a car, truck or SUV.

Almost as important as being seen by other drivers, is your ability to see them. Cyclists can purchase mirrors to mount on their handlebars or helmet. These mirrors work like the side mirrors of a car and allow cyclists to see if they are about to be passed. Finally, cyclists should use hand signals. Just like cars must use turn signals to indicate where they are going, bicyclists should use hand signals to make those around them aware of their intentions. A hand signal can alert a driver of your intention to turn and avoid potentially fatal bicycle accidents in intersections.

Closely related to safety equipment and safe practices is the need for cyclists to know their local traffic laws. Many states, including Georgia, treat bicycles as motor vehicles- so the same traffic laws apply. For example, where a car would stop, a cyclist must also stop. Many states have a required passing distance both cyclists and motorists must obey. This is usually defined as a “safe distance” or given as three feet in many traffic codes. Cyclists also have a legal obligation to keep a proper lookout and exercise due care. Under Georgia law, you may be cited for drunk driving while you are riding your bicycle while under the influence of alcohol.

Bicyclists are exceptionally vulnerable in a collision with a motor vehicle so even the best safety equipment and careful compliance with traffic safety laws will not eliminate the risk of being involved in a serious Georgia bicycle accident. Cyclists who are involved in collisions with motorists should wait for the police to arrive and file an accident report. As with all traffic accidents, it is important to have photographs and proper police documentation. Cyclists who have uninsured motorist coverage on their automobile insurance typically will be covered by that policy if they are hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. The extent of that coverage will depend on their uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but it is a valuable thing to know when it comes time to pay for medical care and lost wages. It is also important to seek prompt medical attention because some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Generally, cyclists have the same legal rights and liabilities as they would if they were driving a car, truck or SUV.

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 will use its best efforts to obtain the compensation that you deserve. 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.

The experienced Atlanta Bicycle Accident Lawyers of Montlick and Associates is 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: Personal Injury

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.