Caught In A Bicycle Traffic Incident?
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Championing the Rights of Bicycle Accident Victims in North Atlanta
Accidents involving bicycles have the potential to cause significant injuries. This is primarily due to the fact that when you are on a bicycle you do not have the same protections as you do when you are in a car. There is a clear, solid set of rules contained in the Georgia Drivers Manual that pertains to vehicle interactions with bicycle riders. You should know that bicycle rules may vary according to where you live.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Georgia:
- At an intersection, you must wait until the bicyclist is out of the intersection before making a turn. Generally, bicyclists should use arm signals to alert other motorists of their intentions. For example, left arm for a left turn, right arm for a right turn, and right or left arm pointed down to stop.
- When passing a bicycle, slow down and make sure the bicycle rider knows where you are. You should leave at least three feet in between your vehicle and the bicycle, and only pass when it is safe to do so. If you cannot leave three feet between your vehicle and the bicycle, you should wait until it is safe to do so.
- Always be on the lookout for bicyclists who appear to swerve or turn in front of you. This tends to happen when they do not have the opportunity to merge left due to traffic speed.
- When you meet a bicycle at night, you should dim your headlights.
Common Bicycle Accident Causes
Bike accidents happen all across the world. Many of which are caused by other motorists on the roads that could have prevented the incident had they taken better precautions. Below are some common causes of bicycle accidents caused by other motorists:
- Not using proper turn signals;
- Not using proper lanes;
- Speeding or tailgating;
- Distracted driving;
- Driving under the influence;
- Not properly yielding; and
While many bicyclists can avoid accidents with cars, some other factors could be a danger for bicyclists. Some factors can be in play that isn’t caused by other drivers or bicyclists. These are things created by construction workers, projects, city management, and other entities that manage our roads such as:
- Uneven roads;
- Unfilled potholes;
- Equipment left behind;
- Unmarked construction zones;
- No bicycle lanes; and
- Poor traffic signs or signals.
Regardless of the cause of your accident, our Atlanta bicycle accident attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
With the wide variety of causes and risks for bicycle accidents, injuries sustained are also widespread. Injuries such as cuts, lacerations, broken bones, concussions, head and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, road rash, and more can be caused by bicycle accidents in Atlanta. These accidents can bring on weeks, months, and in some rare cases, years of recovery and treatment.
Brain, spinal cord, and neck injuries can have serious, long-term effects on the victim of a bicycle accident. If you work with our experienced Atlanta bike accident attorney, we’ll investigate the cause of your accident and build a strong defense to help maximize your compensation.
Electric Bike Accident Statistics & Injuries
Electric bikes are steadily gaining popularity in Georgia. As more people are using them, there are naturally more accidents. While the injury pattern is similar to traditional bikes, they tend to be more severe.
E-Bike Accident Stats
Injuries on electric bikes have dramatically increased by 70% in a study performed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. That has led to almost 190,000 visits to the emergency room. Electric bikes accounted for 71 deaths been the years 2017 and 2020. The most common injuries include the head, neck, arms, and legs.
What Are The Dangers of Electric Bikes?
We all know that riding any bike carries risks, but research has shown riding an e-bike carries a higher risk of severe injury. Electric bike riders are 3 times more likely to end up hitting a pedestrian when compared with traditional bikes.
Additionally, E-bikes simply go faster and weigh more. That makes controlling them and stopping them more difficult. With increased speed and momentum it’s harder to stop than with a regular bike, and the injuries are more severe.
Are Electric Bikes Dangerous for Seniors?
Research indicates a correlation between the age of the electric bike user and increased craniocerebral trauma. A study suggested that older or untrained users with slower reflexes or control often have more accidents, and the injuries are more serious.
Electric Bike Laws In Georgia
The laws in Georgia regarding e-bikes are broken down according to 3 class levels.
Class 1 – only assists the user while peddling and cuts out at 20 mph.
Class 2 – is the same as class 1, but it can accelerate without peddling.
Class 3 – is an e-bike that assists the rider when peddling and stops at a speed of 28 mph.
- No license required
- Must be 15 or older to ride a class 3 electric bike
- Legally obligated to wear a helmet on Class 3
- Power output must not exceed 750w
- E-bikes are allowed to ride on the roads but must be as far right as practical or a finished shoulder. They are permitted on all marked bike paths
- They are not allowed on bicycle trails if they can do more than 20 mph
Comparative Negligence In A Bicycle Accident
While some states prohibit recovery where the plaintiff is somewhat responsible for the injuries, others have adopted a “comparative negligence” approach. Pure and modified comparative negligence are the two categories of comparative negligence. If a state uses a pure comparative method, the plaintiff’s damages will be lowered by the percentage of fault they bear.
The plaintiff can only recover under the modified comparative technique if they are less than 50% responsible for the injuries. The modified comparative negligence law is used in Georgia.
Filing For Compensation For Your Bicycle Crash Injuries
Although bicycle injury victims may be eligible for damages, each situation is unique. Your compensation is heavily influenced by the strength of your claim and the expertise of your attorney. In a personal injury case, accident victims may be able to collect some or all of the following damages:
- Loss of earnings;
- Medical expenses;
- Punative damages;
- Pain & suffering;
- Potential future earnings;
- Property damages; and
- Loss of everyday life activities.
You can file a lawsuit against a negligent person who caused your bicycle accident injury in Atlanta. You may not need to personally sue the driver as the insurance company will be the one responsible to pay for the damages of the at-fault driver. In order for this to happen make sure to do the following:
- Gather all evidence from the accident scene;
- Talk to any witnesses and get any information from them that you can;
- Contact the police and get a police report;
- Document your injuries; and
- Immediately contact a personal injury lawyer.
After you file your claim, the insurance company will come back with an offer. You may think it’s fair, but their first offer is always a low-ball offer. An experienced bicycle accident attorney like the ones at Ponton Law will make sure to negotiate with the insurance companies so that you’re compensated fairly for the injuries you have suffered.
OUR ATLANTA BICYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
You need to work with our Atlanta bicycle accident attorney who understands the rules and regulations in Georgia and throughout the Atlanta area. Contact Ponton Law at (404) 418-8507 if you have been injured in a bicycle accident today.
Bicycle Accident FAQs:
Q: Do bicycle riders have to follow the same traffic laws as vehicle drivers?
A: Yes. Traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to bicycles. You can check out Georgia law here: OCGA 40-6-291.
Q: Do the traffic laws apply if a bicycle is not being operated on a highway or path exclusive for bicycle use?
A: No. If it is not exclusively for a bicycle, such as the Silver Comet or the Beltline which also has pedestrians, then common law principles of negligence would apply. Learn more here: OCGA 40-6-290.
Q: Is it illegal to ride a bicycle in Atlanta while someone is riding on the handlebars?
A: Yes. Georgia law states that a person riding a bicycle must ride only on or astride a permanent seat attached to the bicycle, and no one may ride on the handlebars.
Q: If you’re riding your bicycle in Atlanta is it illegal to time myself to a moving vehicle on a Georgia road?
A: Yes. Under Georgia law, no individual riding on a roadway shall attach it or themself to any vehicle.
Q: When riding a bicycle in Atlanta, it is legal to ride on both sides of the road?
A: No. Georgia law requires you to be on the right side, except when turning left or avoiding hazards for safe cycling.
Q: Is it legal for me to carry a package while I’m riding my bicycle?
A: Yes, as long as you can keep at least one of your hands on the handlebars, then you’re fine.
Q: Do you have to wear a helmet if you’re riding a bicycle in Atlanta?
A: Yes, only if you are under 16, If you’re above 16 then you’re not required to wear a helmet.
Q: Is it legal for someone to ride their bicycle on the sidewalk?
A: Sadly, the answer is no. A person “shall not drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area.” A bicycle is considered a “vehicle” under Georgia law.