Whether you commute on your bicycle or take scenic weekend rides, bicycling is an eco-friendly, healthy mode of transportation. Unfortunately, sharing the road with much larger and more powerful vehicles puts cyclists at a significant risk. Bicyclists injured in accidents involving motor vehicles often suffer life-altering and permanent injuries.
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, our bicycle accident attorneys will review your case at no cost. We pride ourselves on being a stable, supportive, and strong force in your recovery from a bicycle accident injury, relentlessly pursuing the compensation you need to get back on your feet.
Many bicycle accidents are preventable, making them all the more tragic. Both cyclists and motorists must make safety a priority in order for bicycling to remain a viable pastime and alternative to pollution-causing transportation.
Bike Laws that Drivers Need to Know
Misconceptions about bicycle laws are causal factors in many motorist-cyclist crashes. Clearing up misconceptions and practicing awareness could prevent many accidents.
Misconception #1: Bikers should stay off the road and on the sidewalk
This is contrary to Georgia and Alabama laws, which classify bicycles as vehicles. Bicycles are entitled to the same use of roads as motor vehicles. Additionally, for cyclists over the age of 12, it is illegal to ride on Georgia sidewalks, and all bicycle riding is banned from Alabama sidewalks.
Misconception #2: Motor vehicles have the right of way on the road.
This misconception makes some drivers intolerant of bikers, resulting in dangerous behaviors. Using a bike lane to pass or to park can be severely harmful to a bicyclist, or even fatal.
Secondly, Georgia and Alabama have a “3 Feet” rule, which obligates a motorist to maintain a distance of at least three feet between his or her vehicle and a cyclist. This rule is designed to prevent motorists from edging bikers off the road, clipping bikers, or causing other adverse consequences from not allowing a biker a safe lane of travel. If the road is too narrow to allow a buffer of three feet, the motorist is required to slow or wait until such a buffer can be given.
As a bicyclist, you must take reasonable precautions to avoid injury to yourself. A safe ride starts with a safe, responsible biker, which means you:
- Ensure your bike is in good working order before riding.
- Equip your bike with reflectors and flashing lights.
- Know bicycle laws.
- Dress appropriately in bright or reflective gear.
- Wear your helmet on every ride to avoid traumatic brain injury and other head injuries.
In addition to hitting the road prepared, keep the following in mind:
- Don’t assume a driver will yield to you – Many drivers aren’t looking out for bicyclists or are unaware of their obligation to yield. Legally having right of way won’t stop you from getting injured if a driver fails to follow the law.
- Ride with the flow of traffic, on the right side of the road.
- Be extra vigilant around intersections, driveways, and parking areas.
- Be aware – Roads have potholes, cracks, and other obstacles that can have serious consequences for a biker. If the hazard is created by construction or failure to properly maintain the roads and paths, there can be relief and compensation owed to an injured cyclist, especially if no warnings are posted.
Call Us for a Bicycle Accident Consultation in Georgia
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce can help you through the aftermath of a bicycle accident. We understand that coping with an injury or loss of a loved one makes it extremely difficult to deal with insurance claims, settlements, or a trial.
From your free initial consultation through the resolution of your case, we make ourselves available, so your questions and concerns get addressed at every stage of the process. Call us at 706-596-1446 to schedule your complimentary consultation.