Cyclists and vehicle drivers must obey the same Georgia traffic laws. Unfortunately, many motorists see bicycle riders as a nuisance and treat them with little consideration on the roads. If you are a cycling enthusiast, it is crucial to be alert if you want to avoid severe injuries.
Although you might have legal grounds to sue a negligent driver who causes you to crash, the chances are good that the driver will assert that you were to blame. If you make bike safety a priority, you might avoid trouble.
How to share the roads with other vehicles safely
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the majority of fatal bicycle accidents happen in urban areas. Reasons for severe or fatal accidents include the following:
- If you ride without a helmet, chances of suffering traumatic brain injuries or other head trauma increase.
- You or a motorist failed to yield the right of way in an intersection or before making a left turn.
- A motorist pulled into the road from a side street or driveway, directly into your path.
- You or a motorist disregarded a stop sign or a red light.
- You were riding against the flow of traffic.
- A vehicle struck you in the bike lane.
- An occupant of a parked car opened the door without checking for cyclist. If you strike a car door, injuries could be severe, especially if it threw you into the way of other traffic.
The risks of riding after dark
According to the NHTSA, most of the lives lost in bicycle accidents happen after dark from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Take the following precautions to make sure you are visible:
- Wear bright colors during daylight hours to make sure motorists can see you.
- At night you could increase visibility by adding reflective gear to your clothing.
- Fit reflectors to your bicycle.
- Make sure your bike has a working white light in front and red rear light.
The top three safety precautions are:
- Wear a helmet
- Follow road rules
- Be visible
You can do no more to stay safe. You can only hope that the operators of cars and trucks that share the roads with you will be alert and considerate when it comes to cyclists. If not, you will be the one who drew the shortest straw.
Your legal rights
If you have to deal with the consequences of a car vs. bicycle accident, you could pursue a claim for financial relief through the Georgia civil justice system. This is a complicated field of the law, and it would not be surprising if the driver disputes your claim by saying that you were the negligent party.
Your best bet would be to utilize the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate the legal proceedings to recover your medical expenses, lost wages and other documented financial damages. The court might also include noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and other emotional damages in a monetary judgment.