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3 Ways Driver Negligence can Cause Bicycle Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 500,000 bicycle-related injuries that required emergency medical treatment in 2010. In major metropolitan areas like Atlanta, there are bound to be accidents between bicyclists and motor vehicles, even under the best of circumstances. Fortunately for injured bicyclists, they can often recover for their medical expenses and other losses by filing a legal claim against the motorist that caused their accident, provided it was caused by the negligence of the driver. Accident victims who are represented by personal injury attorneys often recover significantly more for their injuries than those who choose to represent themselves, so it is important for anyone injured in a bicycle accident to retain legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident happens.

There are a number of ways that a driver could negligently cause a bicycle accident in the Atlanta area. Below is some information about some of the more common reasons behind bicycle accidents.

Distracted driving – Distracted drivers cause accidents and injuries on a daily basis. In fact, the United States government estimates that well over 400,000 people were injured by distracted drivers in 2012 alone. The modern ubiquity of smart phones and other personal electronic devices has caused increased the incidence of distracted driving, but there are other types of distractions that are decidedly low-tech. Some of the other types of distracted driving that can easily cause accidents include:

  • Grooming
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Reading a map
  • Using onboard infotainment systems
  • Applying makeup
  • Looking for items in the car
  • Talking
  • Looking at people or scenery

In many cases, a driver will not readily admit that he or she was distracted, so it is important for victims to retain an attorney who understands how to obtain evidence of driver distraction.

Ignoring traffic laws – Traffic laws are designed to ensure the safe flow of traffic and make clear who has the right of way in a given situation. When drivers disregard these rules, it makes it nearly impossible for others to anticipate what they will do. Additionally, speeding is extremely dangerous, as the faster a vehicle travels the longer its stopping distance will be, often resulting in extremely dangerous conditions. Other examples of violations of traffic laws that could easily result in a car accident can include:

  • Ignoring traffic signals or stop signs;
  • Failure to yield the right of way;
  • Failure to signal turns or lane changes; and
  • Following too closely.

After an accident caused by a traffic violation, victims should be certain to obtain a police report regarding the incident and contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident.

Impaired driving – The vast majority of drivers understand that driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is against the law. Unfortunately, accidents caused by intoxicated drivers continue to occur, sometimes with devastating consequences. In addition to the criminal penalties associated with (DUI), drunk drivers who cause injury can also be held civilly liable by the victims they injure.