How Common Are Bicycle Accidents in Georgia?

Biking is an increasingly popular mode of transportation in Georgia, both for fitness reasons and increasing concerns about our carbon footprints. But cyclists are in a dangerous position when they are forced to share the roads with motor vehicles much larger, heavier, and faster than them. In fact, cyclists make up a startlingly disproportionate number of Georgia’s traffic fatalities. While bike accidents comprised fewer than 1% of all the state’s traffic accidents, bike crashes accounted for nearly 17% of traffic accident fatalities.

What’s also concerning is that bicycle accident fatalities appear to be on the rise in the state. Pedestrian fatalities rose by approximately 22% between 2015 and 2019. Half of those fatalities were Black pedestrians, making them more than twice as likely to be fatally wounded in bicycle accidents than white pedestrians in Georgia.

While you would think that most of these accidents would occur at traffic intersections. Actually, only 21% occurred at intersections. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the population, the majority of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities occurred in Atlanta.

Various cities can submit for consideration as a recognized Bicycle Friendly Community for biker safety and biking trails or lanes. There are four levels: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, with Platinum being the highest and most challenging rating to obtain. Columbus, GA, ranks at the Bronze level.

What Do State Laws Say About Bicycle Accidents?

Georgia recognizes bicycles as vehicles and, with a few exceptions, grants them the same right to the roadways as any other vehicle. The state asks that bicyclists ride at the far right side of the road, except when the cyclist deems it safe to overtake vehicles, turn, or avoid hazards. When bike lanes are present, the cyclist must ride in the same direction as the flow of motor vehicle traffic.

Georgia’s drivers have a duty of safety towards cyclists and pedestrians. These duties include maintaining a safe distance from the cyclists and avoiding bike lanes. Similarly, the cyclist owes certain duties to the drivers they share the roads with.

Not all accidents are the fault of automobile motorists. Bikers can make mistakes, too, including the failure to yield to oncoming traffic or riding against the flow of traffic.

Georgia is an at-fault state. The party found to be at fault will be held liable for damages. Proving fault is the most important legal action following a bicycle accident.

The state has modified comparative fault laws, too. Comparative fault means that both parties can be held responsible for an accident. Georgia’s modifications to comparative fault ask that an accident victim prove that they are responsible for less than 50% of the accident in order to recover damages.

What Are Common Causes for Bike Accidents?

Causes for accidents where the driver of an automobile is considered at fault for a bicycle accident:

  • A driver sideswipes a biker when passing them.
  • Aggressive driving, including driving too close to a biker, can result in unfortunate accidents.
  • Distracted driving, including texting while driving, is a common cause of many traffic accidents. Driver negligence is one of the most tragic causes of bike accident fatalities.
  • Making a right turn and failing to see the bicyclist.
  • Poor visibility, due to weather conditions or darkness, leads to a motorist striking the cyclist.
  • Roadway hazards, including potholes and debris, can result in a driver accidentally colliding with a biker.
  • Weather conditions making for wider turns or slower stopping.

Causes for accidents where the cyclist was at fault include:

  • A bicyclist rides against the flow of traffic.
  • A cyclist’s failure to yield.
  • A rider ignores a stop sign or red light.
  • Biking in dangerous weather conditions.
  • Biking under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Failure to signal before turning.
  • Inadequate reflectors and lighting on the bike or the rider.

Can a Bicycle Accident Victim Recover Compensation for Injuries and Lost Wages?

If you are capable of proving fault that an accident lies with the other party, you may be able to recover compensation with the help of a personal injury attorney. The financial settlement you recover can take the form of both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages may include:

  • Bicycle repairs or replacement.
  • Lost wages and lost future income.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Property damage.

Non-economic damages could include the following:

  • Disability or disfigurement.
  • Lost consortium or companionship.
  • Lost quality of life.
  • Mental anguish.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Wrongful death.

In cases involving extreme negligence, cruel intent, or accidents where a crime was being committed, it is possible also to pursue punitive damages.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Columbus, GA

The very first thing you should do following a bicycle accident is to make sure that you and others are not severely injured. It’s crucial that, even if you feel fine, you seek medical attention after an accident. Then, contact law enforcement and exchange insurance info with the other parties to the crash. After taking these steps, we strongly advise that you retain legal counsel for your injuries and accident claim.

The sooner you speak with experienced bicycle accident lawyers, the sooner they will be able to begin gathering evidence and crafting your legal case. The legal team of Go Big Injury Law has years of experience serving clients of accidents and injuries. As your legal representatives, we will take care of negotiations with insurance companies and pursue the maximum compensation for your accident claim.

To schedule a zero-obligation, free consultation, please contact our Columbus, GA, law offices at (800) 777-7777.