Georgia Hit and Run Bicycle Accident: What Are Your Rights?
In the state of Georgia, bicycles are considered vehicles, and cyclists are vehicle operators with the right to be safely accommodated everywhere they wish to ride, just as every other vehicle operator.
If everyone would adhere to traffic regulations and apply common sense and courtesy when operating on Georgia roadways, then the network of roads that we have across the great state of Georgia could be shared by bicyclists and motorists alike in a safe manner.
Unfortunately, accidents happen everyday between motorists and bicycles. An average of more than 7,000 deaths and about 44,000 injuries are caused by bicycle-related accidents annually. The bikes almost always come out on the losing end. This result is predictable because, unlike the occupants of a vehicle, a cyclist is not protected by a several thousand pound shell of steel. The injuries sustained by a bike rider after being struck by a car can be devastating. The bike rider can be struck and then run over by the car. The impact of the vehicle also can cause the bicyclist to be thrown from the bike.
Some of the injuries that a cyclist can incur in a Georgia bicycle accident include:
- Traumatic brain or head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Bruises and road rash
- Amputated or deformed limbs
Hit and run auto accidents between motorists and bicycle riders are becoming all too common these days with many cyclists suffering serious injury. It is hard to believe that someone could strike anyone with his or her vehicle and then flee the scene to avoid responsibility, but it happens all the time.
As recently as a week ago, a woman, who had been drinking, was driving her SUV with her 7-year-old child and her boyfriend when she hit a cyclist and fled the scene. The cyclist was obeying traffic laws, wearing a reflective vest and had a light on the front and rear of his bicycle. The cyclist was hospitalized for his injuries. The woman's boyfriend later turned her into the police, and she was charged with hit-and-run with serious injury, failure to report the accident, endangering a child and drunken driving. The woman claimed she thought she had hit a mailbox or a trash can. Despite the cyclist having taken steps to protect himself and having done everything right, he was still involved in a collision with a motor vehicle.
There are some precautions to take when riding your bicycle on the roads of Georgia:
- Try not to ride at night. If you have to ride your bike at night, you should make sure you have reflective clothing, as well as lights on both the front and rear of your bike.
- Ride with traffic rather than against it.
- Ride in the middle of the bike lane.
- Do not ride too far to the left to be out in the road and do not ride too far to the right where you invite traffic to ride too close to you.
- Use hand signals when maneuvering and obey traffic laws.
Even if you obey all the rules and ride responsibly, some motorists will do nearly anything to avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes. It is important that if you are hit by a motorist that takes off that you speak to an experienced Georgia hit and run bicycle attorney right away. It gets harder and harder for police to track down a motorist that has struck someone and then driven away if they do not have a full report as soon as possible.
If the hit and run driver auto accident cannot be identified (or if the driver does not have enough insurance to pay for the injuries), it will be critical to determine if there are other available sources to obtain compensation for your injuries. If the design of the road or intersection is unsafe or the traffic lights are malfunctioning, a government entity may share responsibility for your injuries. Another motorist also may have contributed to the accident by engaging in unsafe driving behavior, such as making an unsafe lane change. This may have forced the hit and run driver to swerve into a bicyclist. An experienced Georgia hit and run accident attorney will investigate all of these potential sources of compensation. If no responsible parties can be identified, your Atlanta hit and run bicycle accident attorney may even be able to obtain compensation from your own uninsured motorist insurance or sometimes from the policy of a relative living in the same house. Typically, you may make a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage for damages suffered in a hit and run accident even if you are a bicyclist.
Our experienced Georgia hit and run bicycle attorneys 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 we 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. Our attorneys and staff will work hard to protect your interests and get you the compensation you deserve.