Bike riders have rights.
Vehicle often must yield to bikes. Bicyclists often have the right of way when operating on Georgia roads according to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294. Unfortunately, many automobile drivers assume that they always have the right of way and that bicyclists must always yield. When this occurs, accidents can happen leading to injuries.
A driver can be guilty of a misdemeanor when they operate their vehicle in a way violates the right of way where a collision with a bicyclist causes serious injury. A second or third offense may increase the punishment under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-77.
Negligent drivers can also be held liable for all injuries, economic and non-economic, and damages incurred by the cyclist as a result of the driver’s negligence. If you have been injured while riding a bicycle you should consult a bicycle injury attorney to determine if you have the right to recover from the at-fault driver or his insurance carrier for all of your medical expenses, lost wages pain, suffering, and other losses you have incurred.
Right of Way?
Many bicycle accidents occur when a vehicle turns into the path of an oncoming bike. This happens when a car passes a bicycle and then almost immediately turns right, directly into the bike’s path. An analysis of the accident scene, the traffic patterns and the laws governing the right of way for that particular situation determining who is at fault for such a collision requires.
Share the Road.
Many bicycle accidents occur when automobile drivers pass a bicycle in an unsafe or reckless manner. This is against Georgia law. A vehicle must pass a bicyclist at a “safe distance.” In Georgia this means more than three (3) feet away from the bike. And, the driver must maintain that safe distance until they have safely overtaken the bicycle. See O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56. Accidents can happen when automobiles fail to pass at a safe distance.
Georgia Bicycle Safety Laws
It is important for bicycle operators to know the law In order to ride safely. All cyclists should learn what they can and cannot lawfully do on their bike while on Georgia roadways. The bicycle right-of-way laws are general forth in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294. For example, when riding in a bicycle lane the cyclist must travel in the same direction as traffic according to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294(f). Also, under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-292(a) it is against the law in Georgia to allow a person to ride upon the handlebars.
Abundant online resources are available to educate yourself about these and other bike safety laws. A few of my favorites can be found here and here. The Georgia Governor’s Office on Highway Safety has some great resources which can be found at Bicycle Safety in Georgia. To stay safe as a cyclist it is important to educate yourself about the rules of the road.
Making Georgia roads safer for bicyclists
The community where you live may have an obligation for bike safety by keeping the roads safe. Since bicyclists are required to ride near the right side of the roadway, where most sewer grates are located, the Georgia legislature passed a law requiring each county and municipality to install all new grates on public roadways accommodating bicycle traffic. O.C.G.A. § 36-60-5 is designed to prevent crashes by preventing the addition of sewer grates with parallel bars where a bike tire might easily slide through. I might be able to help if this has happened to you.
Bicycle accidents often cause serious injuries
Bicyclists have a disadvantage in size compared to their counterparts in automobiles. An average car or light truck in the United States weighs 4,000 pounds or more. Because of this discrepancy, bicycle accidents often result in serious injuries to the bike rider. Besides just physical injuries, there are often medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Your only source of recovery may be to bring a negligence claim against the at-fault driver or their insurance company. An experienced personal injury attorney can help.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an bicycle/motorist accident and suffered injuries as a result, please give me a call or contact me online for a free evaluation of your potential bicycle injury case.