Every day, millions of Americans use bicycles as a form of transportation or simply for exercise. Many of these trips take place in relatively urban areas, where bicyclists and motor vehicles are, by necessity, in close proximity to one another. Unfortunately, whenever this is the case, accidents between bicycles and other vehicles are bound to occur, sometimes resulting in serious injuries to the people involved.
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that almost 50,000 pedalcyclists were injured in accidents with motor vehicles in 2012. In most cases, the bicyclist is the party most seriously injured in these accidents, as they have little protection from the elements and can easily be thrown from their bikes.
Make Yourself Visible to Motorists, Especially at Night
While the presence of bicycles is always less obvious to drivers simply due to their smaller size, this can be particularly true at night. The fact that a car or truck’s vehicle body is usually outlined by symmetrically placed headlights, taillights, and turning signals make them easily recognizable to other drivers.
Lack of visibility during non-daylight hours is one of the most dangerous aspects of riding at night, but there are certain steps that cyclists can take to increase their visibility. These include the following:
- Wear retroreflective clothing;
- Always make sure your bike has reflectors on the front, back, and on both wheels;
- Ride with an illuminated headlamp and taillight, as required by Georgia law;
- Try and ride only on well-lit roads; and
- Always be as alert as possible. Never ride at night after consuming alcohol or if you are excessively fatigued.
The unfortunate reality is that accidents between bicyclists and motor vehicles are bound to happen, even under the best of circumstances. When they do, victims need to be able to establish that their bicycle accident was caused by someone else’s negligence in order to be able to successfully recover for their losses.
While many people may assume that it is always a bicyclist suing a motorist after an accident, this is not always the case. Both bicyclists and drivers are required to follow the rules of the road and either party can be held liable for any injuries or other losses that may be sustained. As a practical matter, however, bicyclists are unable to cause as serious of accidents or injuries as cars or trucks simply based on their mass and speeds.
Consequently, claims made against bicyclists generally do not involve as significant of damages, and in some cases may not be brought at all. A bicyclist may, however, negligently cause a chain reaction accident involving multiple vehicles, in which case he or she could potentially be held liable for all losses sustained.
Some of the more common kinds of negligence that both drivers and bicyclists may engage in include:
- Traveling with excessive speed under the circumstances;
- Failing to fully stop at stop signs;
- Failing to yield when required;
- Driving while impaired;
- Failing to observe traffic signals;
- Distracting driving or riding; and
- Failing to use turn signals or signaling an intention to turn or change lanes.
Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
Anyone who has been injured in an Atlanta auto or bicycle accident that they believe was caused by the negligence of another should discuss their case with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Georgia law limits the amount of time in which a claim arising from an accident can be brought, so any delay may jeopardize your ability to recover for your losses. We work hard to get each client we represent the full value of their personal injury claim. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, call Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLCtoday at (404) 869-8600.