Not only is biking a great form of exercise, but it is also a convenient method of transportation for Georgians of all ages. Unfortunately, bicycles offer little physical protection to riders and bike accidents leave some people badly injured.
When distracted motorists fail to keep their eyes on the road, they run a high risk of colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists. Even the smallest commuter vehicle can weigh 10 times what a bike rider weighs, and the bike rider has virtually no protection other than a helmet (if they’re wearing one).
Taking one’s eyes off the road for two seconds to respond to a text message is sometimes all it takes for a driver to severely wound or kill a bicyclist. Cell phones are not the only distractions for drivers. Other common distractors are other passengers, the radio and food/drinks.
Dooring occurs when someone opens a car door in front of an oncoming bicyclist, typically causing them to crash into the unexpected barrier. Fortunately, dooring is relatively easy to prevent if drivers and passengers look around for bike riders headed in their direction before opening their doors.
Not Looking Both Ways
Since cars cause so much damage, it is crucial for drivers to be aware of their surroundings when they are making turns. Even though pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk, they generally look both ways because they know the car could kill them. Cyclists should exercise the same caution when crossing driveways or streets. Make eye contact with drivers who may be turning in front of you. Be prepared to brake if you suspect a driver who is about to make a turn in front of you doesn’t see you coming.
Blind spot bicycle accidents are common because drivers cannot completely see the area around their vehicle. Windows, mirrors and cameras should allow drivers to see most of their surroundings, but an accident could happen if a driver fails to notice a bicyclist in their blind spot and turns or drifts into them. Walls, buildings and other objects also create blind spots when they obscure a driver’s view, especially when drivers are pulling out of parking lots or driveways.
Many modern vehicles have sensors that let drivers know if a biker, pedestrian, animal or another vehicle is in their blind spot or behind them. Despite these advancements, blind spot accidents persist because of technical limitations and human error.
Sometimes bicycle accidents are caused because the bicycle is damaged or certain components do not work properly. For instance, a rider could crash if the bike does not stop because of faulty brakes. Steering could be difficult if the handlebars are too tight or too loose. Cyclists may also have an accident if the bike’s chain is not properly greased, becomes kinked or an object gets caught in it.
Bicycle Laws in Georgia
Learning about Georgia’s bicycle laws could reduce or eliminate the likelihood of an accident and help Georgians commute more safely.
Bicycles Are Vehicles
Legally, bicycles are classified as vehicles in Georgia and must follow basic traffic laws. Some traffic laws only pertain to cars and other motor vehicles, but many apply to everyone on the road. For example, bicyclists are expected to stop at red lights and stop signs. Bike riders are also expected to ride in the same direction as traffic, even if they are in a bike lane.
Bicycle handlebars should not require the rider to lift his or her hands above their shoulders to hold onto them. Having the handlebars properly positioned helps improve one’s center of gravity and handling. Cyclists are expected to always keep at least one hand on the handlebars while riding.
Bike riders who are under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet. Helmets are optional for bicyclists over 16. Even if you’re not legally required to wear a helmet, you always should when you’re riding a bike. A helmet might reduce the severity of an injury, especially head injuries, if a cyclist is in an accident.
Find a Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Georgia
After getting into a bicycle accident, many people need a hand to get their life back on track. Focusing on recovery after a bicycle accident can be difficult when medical bills and everyday expenses are quickly piling up—especially if the incident causes you to miss work. If you or a loved one experienced a bicycle accident and live in Georgia, the Law Office of Johnny Phillips can help.
Contact our office at 833-JOHNNY3 (883-564-6693) for a free consultation.