Biking can be a great way to get exercise, enjoy fresh air, and commute. However, riding a bike can also be dangerous, and you can also suffer serious injuries if you are in an accident with an automobile. In 2018, 854 bicyclists were killed in accidents with automobiles. There have also been many serious accidents and fatalities involving bicyclists and automobiles in metro Atlanta. Evidence suggests bike injuries are increasing in and around Atlanta.
What factors can make riding a bike more dangerous than being in a car?
One of the first issues is a lack of bike infrastructure. Few bike lanes mean that bikes often end up sharing the road with automobiles. In fact, in Georgia, bicycles are considered vehicles, the same classification as automobiles and trucks. Bikes are harder to see, so negligent drivers are even more likely to fail to notice a bicyclist and cause a crash. Even worse, aggressive drivers sometimes take out their aggression and intentionally drive recklessly around bicyclists.
As we all know, automobiles are significantly heavier than bikes. A typical passenger vehicle will weigh at least 4000 pounds. Commercial vehicles weigh more than 10,000 pounds and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. A bicycle will typically weigh no more than 40 pounds. Therefore, when automobiles impact bicycles, the forces imparted through the bicyclist will be many times that of the force imparted through the car. A passenger in an automobile is also protected by the frame, doors, and restraints. A bicyclist will be knocked to the ground, where he or she will suffer further injuries from striking the pavement.
How can I protect myself?
Georgia law requires anyone under 16 to wear a helmet while riding a bike on public roadways; however, it is a very good idea for everyone to wear a helmet when biking. Approximately 38% of adults who ride bicycles wear a helmet regularly. According to the CDC, helmets save nearly 2000 lives a year. Helmets reduce the risk of a serious head injury by almost 70 percent. Roughly three-fourths of fatal crashes involved a head injury, and 97 percent of those deaths involved bicyclists who were not wearing helmets. Wearing fluorescent clothing has been shown to reduce the chances of being involved in a bicycle crash.
Georgia Bike Laws
In Georgia, bicycles are considered vehicles, the same as automobiles- as such, the uniform rules of the road apply to bicyclists. That means that not only is riding a bike while intoxicated dangerous for your safety and those around you, but you can also be convicted of driving under the influence.
If you are over the age of 12, you are prohibited from riding on sidewalks.
When riding at night, you must have a white headlight that is bright enough to be observed from at least 300 feet away and, at a minimum, a red reflector on your ear. While a red light is not required for the rear of the bike, it is certainly a good idea to have one.
Bicyclists are generally required to ride as far to the right side of the roadway as possible. Bicyclists can ride two abreast on public roadways, but they are prohibited from riding more than two abreast except on bicycle paths, lanes, or part of the roadway set aside exclusively for bicycles.
Perhaps most importantly, Georgia law requires drivers to leave a “safe distance” when overtaking and passing a bicycle. Georgia law defines a safe distance as not less than three feet.
If you are injured while riding a bicycle due to the negligence of an automobile driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries under Georgia law. It is important to contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury law as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are preserved. The driver’s insurance company is not your friend and will probably try to take advantage of you if they can. Insurance companies, as a rule, are not concerned with your injuries, your medical treatment, or your pain. All they care about is paying out as little as possible on your claim. That is why you need to ensure you are treated fairly by engaging the services of a personal injury attorney.
If you are interested in hiring a bicycle accident lawyer to recover damages after a truck accident, get a free, no-obligation consultation with top bicycle accident lawyers at Rafi Law Firm to learn more. Rafi Law Firm has helped accident victims and their families recover millions of dollars during their lawsuits; check out recent case results here.
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