Bicycle Accident

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Accidents involving bicycles have the potential to cause significant injuries, primarily because when you are on a bicycle you do not have the same protections when you are riding in a car. There is a good set of rules contained in the Georgia Drivers Manual that pertain to vehicle interactions with bicycle riders. You should know that bicycle rules vary according to where you live.   

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Georgia:   

  • At an intersection, 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, make sure to slow down and make sure the bicycle rider knows where you are at. You should leave at least 3 feet in between your vehicle and the bicycle, and only pass when it is safe to do so.   If you cannot leave 3 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 is because 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 questions:

Q: Do car rules of the road, e.g., failure to yield, traffic signals, etc. apply to bikes?

A: Yes.   Traffic laws apply to bikes.   OCGA 40-6-291.     

Q: Do the rules apply if the bike is not being operated on a highway or path for the exclusive use of bikes?   

A: No.    OCGA 40-6-290.    If it 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.   

Q: Georgia law provides that a person riding a bike shall not allow another to ride on the handlebars, shall not have more than 1 person on a bike at a time, no persons under the age of 1 on the back of the bike, and infants between 1 and 4 must be properly secured.   If I am violating one of these rules, can I still make a claim?

A: Yes. Violations of these rules shall not constitute negligence per se, nor contributory negligence, or be considered evidence of negligence or liability.    OCGA 40-6-292.

Q: Is it illegal to attach a bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle to any vehicle on a Georgia road?

A: Yes. OCGA 40-6-293.

Q: When riding a bicycle, 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: Can you carry a package or bundle while riding a bicycle?

A: Yes, as long as you can keep at least one hand on the handlebars.   OCGA 40-6-295.

Q: Do I have to wear a helmet?

A: Yes if you are under 16, no if above.  OCGA 40-6-296.

Q: Can I legally ride my bicycle on the sidewalk?

A: No!  No person “shall not drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area.”  Bikes are “vehicles” under Georgia law.

You need an Atlanta, GA bicycle accident attorney who understands the rules and regulations in Georgia and throughout the Atlanta area. Contact Ponton Law at 404-806-2454 if you have been injured in a bicycle accident today.     

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