When most people think of car accident injuries, they think of injuries caused by two cars colliding with each other. After all, since most of us drive a personal vehicle to commute each day, this is our primary concern. However, riding a bicycle as a form of transportation has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially in large cities like Atlanta. While there are several advantages to cycling over driving an automobile, including being healthier, better for the environment, and just more fun all around, safety is not one of them. Cyclists face serious injury or even death when they are struck by automobiles.
Bicycle Accident Liability Basics
Bicycle accidents involve many of the same determinations of fault as auto accidents. In fact, bicycles are considered “vehicles” for legal purposes in Georgia, meaning that the general rules of vehicular traffic apply to bikes on the same basis as motor vehicles. This includes driving on the right side of the road, stopping at stop signs and lights, and using forward and rearward illumination at night.
In the vast majority of cases, accidents involving bicycles boil down to determinations of who had the right-of-way and whether there was negligence involved. Note that, just like regular motor vehicle accidents, negligence can be found on both sides. Examples of driver negligence include speeding, running stop signs or lights, drifting into bike lanes, and opening car doors into the path of an oncoming cyclist. Cyclist negligence can include cycling on the wrong side of the road, running stop signs and lights, and weaving in and out of traffic.
The Most Common Bicycle Accident Scenarios
• The right cross: This is the most common type of bicycle/vehicle accident. It occurs when a car pulls out from the right and either hits a cyclist or a cyclist hits the car. To minimize this risk, get a headlight for your bike and ride farther left into the lane.
• The left cross: This accident occurs when a car is approaching from the opposite direction and turns left in front of a cyclist or into the cyclist. If you’re a cyclist, minimize this risk by getting a headlight for your bike, not passing cars on the right, and making eye contact with the drivers opposite of you who are preparing to turn.
• The right hook: This happens when a car is passing to the left side of a cyclist and then makes an abrupt right turn just in front of the cyclist or directly into him. Minimize this risk by riding fully in the lane rather than too far to the right.
• Dooring: This accident occurs when a car that is parallel parked opens its door right in front of a cyclist, causing the cyclist to hit it or be forced into the path of a moving car. Avoid this by riding farther left into the lane.
• The wrong way: Occurs when a cyclist is riding on the wrong side of the road and a car pulling out from the left does not see him and hits him. You can avoid these kinds of accidents by never riding against traffic.
Contact an Atlanta Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident and suffered injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses, including your medical expenses, lost income, loss of quality of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. To schedule a free case evaluation with an Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer, call Slappey & Sadd today at 888-474-9616 or contact us online.