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Sandy Springs Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Millions of Americans ride bicycles every year, and many rely on it as a primary form of transportation. Riding a bike can help a person save money on gas, reduce their carbon emissions, and provide them with some good exercise, but it comes with risk. Cyclists share the roads with other vehicles, like cars and trucks, that often weigh a few thousand pounds, and if those drivers aren’t paying attention, they can cause serious, and even fatal, injuries.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, the Sandy Springs personal injury attorneys at Ashenden & Associates are here for you. We can help you file a claim against the driver responsible for the accident so you can receive fair compensation for your injuries. Call us at 770-394-8909 to schedule a free consultation with one of our bicycle accident attorneys today.
How Many Bicycle Accidents Happen in the U.S.?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1,000 bicyclists die and over 130,000 are injured on U.S. roads every year. In 2021, there were 966 bicyclist fatalities, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of those fatalities, about 6 in 7 occurred in urban areas, and about 61% of those fatalities occurred on weekdays.
Georgia Bicycle Accident Statistics
The NHTSA also reports that, in 2021, there were 15 bicycle fatalities in Georgia, making up 1.5% of the nation’s bike accident fatalities that year. While cities like Atlanta continue to make their roads more bicycle-friendly, 71% of 2021 Georgia bike accident fatalities occurred in urban areas.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Most bike accidents occur as a result of auto accidents where bicyclists are struck by other motor vehicles. Motor vehicle drivers can cause bike accidents if they:
- Fail to yield to bicyclists
- Open car doors in front of bicyclists (these are called dooring accidents);
- Drive distracted;
- Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Drive with excessive speed; or
- Hit a bicyclist intentionally out of rage.
Bicycle crashes can also be caused by poor visibility or a cyclist ignoring the rules of the road.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Bicycle accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, and since most bike riders only have a helmet to protect them, they often suffer from catastrophic injuries. Common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Road rash;
- Muscle sprains;
- Joint injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Facial injuries and fractures;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries; and
- Wrongful death.
Bicycle accident victims can suffer from serious injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, which can leave them with costly medical bills, as well as physical and emotional pain. Luckily, things like personal injury claims and bicycle accident lawsuits can help victims recover compensation from the person responsible for their injuries.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle accident, our Sandy Springs bicycle accident lawyers can help you seek justice. Call us today at 770-394-8909 or contact us online to get in touch with a Sandy Springs bike accident lawyer.
Georgia Bicycle Laws
Georgia law classifies bicycles as vehicles, meaning they are subject to the same traffic laws as cars and other motor vehicles. There are, however, specific guidelines for bike riders regarding where to ride their bikes, as well as how they can and cannot ride their bikes.
Right to the Road
Since bicycles are considered vehicles, they have every right to be on the road as other motor vehicles do. This also means that they have a responsibility to limit harm to other drivers, just as other drivers have a responsibility to limit harm to them.
Where to Ride
Georgia bicycle law requires all bicycle riders to keep as far to the right of the road unless they are turning left, overtaking a vehicle, or avoiding a hazard. Bicycle riders must also travel in the same direction as traffic, even in bike lanes.
How to Ride
Bicycle law prohibits bike riders from riding more than two abreast, meaning that a bike rider cannot ride alongside two other bicyclists, unless on a bike-designated path or part of the roadway. Additionally, every bike rider must stop at any stop sign or red light they encounter, just like every other vehicle. They must also signal when turning or coming to a stop.
All bicycles must be equipped with brakes that can make the bike skid on dry, level pavement. Any bike rider traveling at night must have either a red light or red reflector on the rear of their bike, as well as a front-facing white headlight visible for at least 300 feet.
All bicycle riders under the age of 16 are required to wear a well-fitting helmet. While not every bike rider is required to wear a helmet, helmets can seriously decrease the risk of injury in a bicycle crash.
Bicycle riders are not allowed to attach themselves to any other moving vehicle while riding. They are also required to keep at least one hand on their handlebars at all times. Since bicyclists are required to signal when they turn and stop, and they have to keep one hand on the bars at all times, they are not allowed to carry something that requires them to keep their hand off the handlebars while they ride.
Bicycle riders are subjected to the same alcohol-related driving regulations as other drivers, but may face lesser penalties than drivers in cars, trucks, boats, etc. Bicycle accidents occur as a result of both drunk bicyclists and drunk car/truck drivers, so it’s important that all drivers are sober and aware of their surroundings on the road at all times.
Can You Sue for a Bicycle Accident?
Yes, if you have been involved in a bicycle accident caused by another person’s negligent actions, you may be able to sue them for financial compensation. Georgia is what is called an at-fault state, meaning that when an accident occurs in Georgia, the person at-fault for the accident may be held liable for any personal injuries or property damage they caused.
Injured bicyclists have a few options on what they can do after their accident: they can either file a claim with their own insurance company, file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or sue the at-fault driver in a bicycle accident lawsuit.
Car insurance companies may provide compensation for any bicycle accident injuries their policyholder causes. If the driver did not have insurance coverage at the time of the accident, the injured cyclist may receive coverage if they had uninsured motorist coverage or MedPay insurance coverage. Additionally, they may also be able to receive coverage from their own health insurance or life insurance provider.
In serious bicycle accidents, however, injured bike riders may want to consider taking legal action to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. A bicycle accident attorney can help accident victims understand their legal options, help them file a claim, and even negotiate with insurance companies on their behalf. Bike accident lawyers can also help victims file a lawsuit, and will investigate the accident, review documents, and gather witnesses to help ensure they receive fair compensation for their damages.
The bicycle accident lawyers at Ashenden & Associates are prepared to help you through every step of the process and can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us at 770-394-8909 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.
Bicycle Accident Damages
Like other auto accident cases, victims in bicycle accident cases are able to recover compensation for both economic damages and non-economic damages. Injured bicyclists can recover compensation for things like:
- Past and future medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning ability;
- Assistive care, like in the case of a traumatic brain injury;
- Property damage;
- Emotional distress; and
- Burial costs, in the case of wrongful death.
Georgia Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents
Like other personal injury cases, a bicycle accident case must be filed within a certain time frame, known as the “statute of limitations.” In Georgia, an injured bicycle accident victim must file their claim within two years of the date the accident occurred. If they wait for more than two years to file a claim, they may forfeit their legal rights to compensation and cannot file a claim or lawsuit.