Many people throughout Atlanta, GA and its suburbs ride bicycles both for transportation and enjoyment. Unfortunately, this too often leads to injuries when bikes and automobiles mix. Many of these accidents may be preventable through a combination of education, communication, and preparation.
If you are seeking a bicycle accident lawyer to handle your personal injury case in the Greater Atlanta area, contact us today because we are here to help you. However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and we encourage you and your loved ones to enjoy cycling more safely in Georgia by following these 5 Bicycle Safety Tips.
Avoid Risk of Injury or Death Resulting From Bicycle Accidents
Bike accidents can often lead to long-lasting injuries or death. Serious injuries can include Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), neck injuries, fractures, ruptured discs, dislocated joints, and/or road rash. These injuries can have drastic and lasting negative effects on the injured person’s quality of life and capacity to complete normal work and life tasks we often take for granted. Wrongful death suits often follow bicycle accidents in which the cyclist has died following the collision.
Negligence on the part of the automobile driver or the bicyclist may contribute to an accident. Cyclists have relatively little to protect them in the event of a collision. While drivers need to watch out for and respect bicyclists on the road, there are important steps bicyclists need to take to ensure they can be clearly seen and understood by drivers of motor vehicles.
Tip #1: Know and Follow The Rules of The Road for Cyclists
Bicyclists should become familiar with Georgia’s Bike Laws. Note that only bicyclists 12 years of age or younger may ride on a sidewalk, meaning teenagers and adults must use the road when a bike lane or trail is not available. These bicyclists therefore must also be able to interact and communicate with drivers of motor vehicles regarding lane usage and turn signaling. Failure to follow the rules of the road may not only result in injury or death, but it could also lead to your responsibility for the accident’s occurrence.
Tip #2: Be Proactively Defensive & Predictable Around Automobile Drivers
Practice defensive riding. Avoid dangerous situations, and be aware of the vehicles around you. Drivers of vehicles at intersections may not see you, whether or not you have the right of way, and this applies to stationary or moving vehicles. Do not assume vehicles at an intersection are going to stop, even if they have a red light. Bold or nonchalant bicyclist behavior in the road can lead to accidents, and in the case of a collision these vehicles provide much more protection for their drivers than your bicycle provides for you.
Tip #3: Optimize Your Riding Locations & Routes for Safety
Whether you are riding your bicycle for transportation, for enjoyment, or for exercise will likely affect your riding locations. Downtown Atlanta’s bike sharing program places many more potential bicyclists on the roads near high-traffic areas. These bike riders should try to avoid the more dangerous routes when possible. If you are in a bicycle accident in downtown Atlanta, GA, you don’t need to search for “personal injury law firms near me” or “personal injury lawyers near me” because the Greathouse Trial Law downtown office is nearby. We are very familiar with the area, and we help bicyclists injured on these roads every day.
When riding your bicycle for enjoyment or exercise, you may do well to make use of Atlanta’s many bike routes and trails that can provide safer and more scenic experiences. Be aware that many children are likely to be playing outside, especially in the summer and whenever school is not in session. Take steps to ensure your kids are not riding their bikes in dangerous locations, and also be extra vigilant for these small bicyclists that are more likely to ride on sidewalks. Not only are they often harder to see, but they also are less likely to know how to effectively interact with vehicles to avoid dangerous situations.
Tip #4: Be Unmistakable and Clearly Visible At All Times By Using Reflectors and Lights, Whether It Is Day Or Night
As a bicyclist, you are less likely to be noticed. Most drivers are watching for other motor vehicles on the road, which take up more space in the lane and tend to travel at higher speeds. Drivers are also increasingly distracted by modern technology. A driver has to know they are encountering you in order to adjust, which means they first have to see you.
Bicyclists are smaller and harder to see than cars, and low visibility conditions like glaring sunlight during morning or evening rush hour can exacerbate this problem. Riding at night or dusk can also make you nearly invisible, so it is essential that you have working lights and reflectors on your bicycle that will make it impossible for drivers not to see you. Light-colored and reflective clothing can also help to make you more visible at night.
As many as 50% or more bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles happen during the day, as do most resulting fatalities during parts of the year. Using a highly visible daytime running light with flashing red or white optimized beam patterns can greatly improve your safety in daylight conditions if you are riding on a busy road or highway, allowing drivers to notice you long before they approach you.
Tip #5: Be Prepared in Case of a Collision or Injury
In the case of a crash, important items such as your phone, your wallet, or your ID may be lost or left at the scene after an ambulance takes you away. This can make communication and identification difficult for loved ones and medical personnel during an emergency. It is advisable to wear an ID tag with your identity, blood type, any allergies, and your emergency contact information. These can be ordered online from various sources.
Another preparation step is to purchase and wear a bicycle helmet. Ensure it fits you properly and is fastened correctly. Helmets have been shown to greatly reduce severity of head injuries resulting from bicycle accidents. Not all bicycle helmets provide the same level of protection. Keep your bike and its tires well maintained, and do not delay investing some time and effort into finding a helmet and other safety accessories that will help to protect you on the road.
If You Have Been Involved in a Bicycle Accident, Follow These Steps
The first thing you should do if you have been in a bicycle accident is seek medical attention. Be aware that injuries are not always immediately apparent; sometimes long-lasting injuries start to show symptoms several days after a collision. Your initial and follow-up visits with medical professionals also serve to provide thorough documentation that can be important to your case.
After seeking any necessary immediate medical attention, record the facts in a variety of ways, noting the exact location, the date, and the time of the accident. It is best if you are able to collect this information while you are still at the scene. If a driver was involved in the crash, collect all of their contact and insurance information. Do not accept any blame, do not apologize, and do not indicate that you may have contributed to the accident. Identify and gain contact information for any witnesses of the accident.
Take pictures and/or video of the scene if you can, capturing the conditions, injuries, or other damage to your bicycle and/or the vehicle. Be sure to safeguard these photos or videos.
Do not sign any documents or accept any settlement offers from insurance companies that may contact you. Doing so can prevent you from being able to receive a fair settlement. Insurance companies want to limit the amounts they have to pay out. Any such calls should be referred to your attorney
Greathouse Trial Law, LLC: Your Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Your next step is to contact an experienced Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer to discuss the best next steps you should take. When we partner with you, we will interface with the at-fault party’s insurance company to seek a fair settlement for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. While you focus on healing from your injuries, we can help you to seek economic and non-economic damages.
Contact Greathouse Trial Law today at (678) 310-2827or complete our online form for your free case evaluation. Our personal injury law firm aims to serve the great people of Atlanta and to give a voice to the voiceless.
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