The popularity of biking in Georgia is surging, but roadways need to be designed to allow cyclists adequate room to ride. Motorists also need better education on sharing the road to avoid tragic bicycle accidents in Atlanta and across the state.
In a 2012 Alliance for Biking & Walking report, Georgia ranked 45th in the nation when it comes to bicycle safety. The report noted that while 0.2 percent of work trips in Georgia are on foot or by bike, pedestrians and bicyclists account for 1.3 percent of traffic fatalities.
Five Common Types of Collisions to Avoid
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of the most common types of bicycle accident occurs when a cyclist is leaving a driveway or alley. Drivers may not immediately see the cyclist, leaving very little time to stop and avoid a crash. Bikers can help prevent this type of accident by stopping to look both right and left before entering a roadway.
Another common accident happens when a bike is going against traffic. Many children are injured in these types of accidents, because they do not recognize the danger. Georgia law requires that bicyclists ride “as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable.” Bikes must travel in the same direction as other motorized vehicles.
Accidents also frequently occur when cars try to pass a bike travelling in the same direction, especially if the bike is hard to see. This type of accident might happen at night or on a curvy or hilly roadway. Georgia law requires all bikes used at night or at dusk to have a white light on the front and a red light or reflector on the back. Staying visible is key to avoiding this type of accident.
Sudden left turns or swerves also cause accidents. These accidents can be avoided by using arm signals. A left turn is signaled by extending the left arm horizontally, parallel with the handlebars. A right turn is signaled either by extending the right arm horizontally, or by making an upward-pointing right angle with the left arm.
The final type of accident occurs when a bicycle does not follow traffic signs. Bicycles on the roadway have the same responsibility as other vehicles to obey traffic signals and signs.
State Bike Helmet Requirements
One way to reduce the chance of serious injury in a bicycle accident is to wear a helmet. Georgia law requires bicycle helmets for all riders or passengers under age 16. The law seeks to reduce the number of bicycle injuries to children. However, it is advisable that all bicycle riders and passengers wear helmets when riding.
Following a bicycle accident, you may not know what actually occurred. Serious injuries resulting from the crash can require long-term medical treatment. A consultation with a personal injury attorney ensures your rights are protected.