Did you know that in Georgia, as in many other states, bicycles are legal vehicles? This means not only that they have a right to use the roadways, but also that they must abide by the general vehicular traffic laws.
For example when the law uses the phrase “vehicle” it applies to both cars and bicycles and bicyclists need to follow the same rules as cars. For example they need to stop at traffic signals and stop signs.
The portions of the law that refer specifically to “motor vehicles” would not apply to bicycles and would include such items as licensing, registration, and insurance. Additionally, when a bicyclist is walking their bicycle they are considered to be pedestrians and then need to follow the laws and regulations covering pedestrians.
The 20 Pound Bicycle Always Loses Against a 2 Ton Vehicle
In 2013 there were 743 deaths and 48,000 injuries to cyclists in motor vehicle accidents according to the National Traffic & Highway Administration. It would be helpful if drivers were more informed about the other vehicles they share the road with so they understand how best to safely share the roadways.
Many experts agree there are 10 rules to follow when sharing the road with bicyclists. These safety rules include:
• Appreciate the vulnerability of the bicyclist – A vehicle may weigh 2 tons compared to the average weight of a 20 pound bicycle. The bicycle will always lose.
• Be informed about bicyclists rights – Bicyclists over 10 years of age have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists and are subject to the same rules and regulations.
• Motorists need to adjust their attitudes – Bicyclists are not nuisances that are in the way. They are human beings who could be friends or neighbors and have a right to be riding on the road.
• Think of the benefits of bicycles to cars – A bicycle may be replacing a car on the road, causes less wear & tear or the road, does not pollute, and can lessen traffic congestion.
• Take care when making a right turn – A cyclist may be a little behind and to the right of you and plan on riding straight ahead. Signal a right hand turn to alert the cyclist and prevent hitting a cyclist on the right side of your vehicle.
• Be careful making a left turn – Drivers making left hand turns when there is an oncoming bicyclist often think they have sufficient time to complete their turn but this is often not the case since they are misjudging the speed at which the bicycle is traveling.
• Give cyclists 3 feet of clearance – Pass slowly, smoothly, and allow for 3 feet of clearance. The 3 feet clearance rule gives a driver a “concrete” frame of reference.
• Be aware of all traffic around you including bicycles – Many drivers involved in bicycle accidents say, “I never saw him before I hit him”. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your cell phone or any electronic devices while driving.
• Look before you open your car door – Opening your car door into the path of a bicyclist can send the cyclist flying and many cyclists have been killed after being thrown into oncoming traffic. Always take a few seconds to check the driver’s side mirror to be certain there is no approaching bicyclist.
• Accept the fact that bicycles are here to stay – Bicycling is on the rise. Georgia with its moderate climate and varied terrain is a great place for recreational cycling as well as transportation year round.
If you or a family member has been injured riding a bicycle in a car accident, you should always get the advice of an Atlanta accident attorney. Traffic laws are not often well understood as well as the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists and motorists alike. Every car accident and/or bicycle accident has its own unique set of circumstances and you may be unaware that you are due much more in compensation for your injuries than the insurance companies are willing to tell you.
A personal injury attorney handles many types of accident injury cases where the injury was caused by another person or business whether through accident or intent including car and bicycle accidents. Personal injuries can be physical, emotional or a combination of both and the injured person is entitled to receive compensation for their damages.
Bicycle Accident Injuries? Atlanta Accident Attorney Joel Baskin On Your Side
Contact Atlanta accident attorney Joel Baskin for advice and help with your bicycle accident. Joel has served the Atlanta area including Cobb & Fulton Counties more than 20 years. Call today for a free initial consultation and see how Joel can help you.