Bicycles have many distinct advantages over cars. They’re cheaper, more maneuverable, easier to park, greener, and healthier. It’s no wonder that many Atlanta citizens choose to bike around the city. However, bicyclists are at a major disadvantage if they’re ever involved in a wreck. This is directly related to the exposure they face, as opposed to the occupants of a vehicle. Suffering from injuries is difficult enough, but if you believe the collision resulted from someone else’s negligence, the Atlanta bicycle accident lawyers from Bey & Associates, LLC are here for you.
When we represent our clients, we recognize that they’re worried about their futures. We’re here to stand up for them and let them know that there are people willing to fight for their rights. The claims process can take time, but it’s the most assured way of receiving compensation that covers all your crash-related losses—including future damages.
Before getting into the dangers of bicycle accidents and how we can help if you’ve been injured, you may be curious as to how many bicyclists are in Atlanta and what the city is doing to reduce the chances of crashes happening.
Are Bicyclists Safe in Georgia?
The Georgia Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Safety Action Plan from 2018 gives information on what bicycle safety looks like in the state and what they can do to improve safety.
In a survey done asking Georgia citizens about bicycles, it was found that about 13 percent of adults in Georgia will ride a bike once per month. 81 percent of people agreed they would ride their bikes if their communities had paths and bike lanes. They were also asked if they believed that bicyclist rights should be an important part of driver education and 66 percent agreed.
While this information can be used to move forward with making areas more bicycle-friendly, they also had to look at crash data.
Between 2005-2015, there were 5,834 bicycle accidents that involved vehicles in Georgia. 4,482 injuries occurred and 63 of them were fatal. About 48 percent of the crashes occurred in Georgia’s five biggest cities. Also within that time frame, about 77 percent of crashes caused injuries. The mean age for those crashes was 31 years old and 72 percent were male.
One of the biggest takeaways from this report is that the bicyclist was assigned fault 51 percent of the time. If a bicyclist is in a wreck in Atlanta, they need a bicycle accident attorney who will represent them so they can get a fair settlement. Often times, collisions are the result of a negligent driver. Proving so, however, can be a challenge without proper legal representation. When you work with Bey & Associates, LLC, we’ll thoroughly investigate the incident and build a case that proves you were wronged and are owed compensation for your losses.
Types of Bike Crashes
Part of building a strong claim involves understanding the type of accident you were in. When we examine your case, we’ll identify the type. This will help us determine why and how the incident happened.
- Stop Sign Crashes. The most frequent crash type involving bicycles happens at stop signs. Cyclists are easily injured when negligent drivers disregard stop signs and travel through them without stopping or looking.
- Failure to Yield. In some situations, bicyclists are struck when riding into an intersection without yielding. If a car is traveling fast or is closer than the cyclist realizes, an accident can occur.
- Dooring. Dooring collisions are most common on narrow, city streets. If a driver or passenger neglects to check before opening, a person in a bicycle could hit the door. This often results in broken bones and head injuries.
- Left Cross. When a motorist and bicyclist approach each other from opposite directions, there’s a chance the motorist won’t see the bike.
- Right Hook. When a car is making right-hand turns, the driver could cut a bicycle off or turn directly into the rider.
Common Bicycle Collision Locations
Negligence can happen anywhere. There are, however, a few areas where bicyclists and drivers need to be aware that they are sharing the road. This way, they can keep in mind that they may encounter each other and be prepared, which could reduce the chance of a collision.
City streets are a main area to watch out for. Many people choose to ride their bikes around the city for easier navigation. Drivers need to know that bicyclists have every right to be on the road with them and they need to be given space. If a car is passing a bicyclist, they need to give them an adequate amount of space to safely pass, which is usually three feet.
Intersections are also dangerous for bicyclists. Drivers making left-hand turns may not see a bicyclist coming toward them. Often, drivers may not expect to see bicyclists. Therefore, they’re not keeping a watchful eye out for them. They’re a much smaller object than another car, so drivers can easily miss them and possibly cause a bicycle wreck.
Our personal injury attorneys are well-versed in the common ways bicyclists are injured. We know how to investigate the case, starting with the location of where the accident happened. We’ll take your story and any reports into account to piece together how it occurred and how you were hurt.
What Happens When a Driver Collides with a Bicyclist?
The severity of injuries can depend on the driver’s speed and the size of their vehicle. But this doesn’t mean that small vehicles traveling at slow speeds always leave a bicyclist unharmed. Since the bicyclist has considerably less protection, as the most they may be able to do is to wear a helmet and thick, long-sleeved clothing, any collision can prove fatal.
A collision will likely knock the bicyclist off balance, and they’ll fall to the ground. High-speed accidents may throw them from their bikes. There are two major impacts that harm bicyclists. The initial impact from the car hitting them and the impact of when they hit the ground.
The results of the impacts can be devastating. Bicyclists can sustain serious trauma to their brain, neck, and spine. A traumatic brain injury can result in severe impairment of cognitive or motor function. If the spine or neck is damaged and a spinal cord injury is present, the patient could be dealing with varying degrees of impairment. Catastrophic injuries often result in life-long disabilities.
There’s also the high chance that bones will break, or sprains will occur if they try to catch themselves to prevent them from falling. Severe scrapes or bruises can also occur. While most broken bones are treated by setting the bone and placing a cast, some require surgery. Recovery is often extended if this is the case, and physical therapy may be necessary.
When injuries like this happen, the victim will likely need immediate medical attention. Then, the road to recovery can begin. When you file a claim, your legal representative will look into your medical records and calculate your damages for the wreck. We’ll use this to fight for your fair settlement. We also represent families of victims who lost their lives to bicycle accident injuries.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists
Whether you regularly use your bicycle to travel or you only pull it out on a sunny weekend, it’s important to understand how to ride safely and reduce your risks of getting injured by a vehicle. Prior to hopping on, always check your equipment. This means adjusting the seat properly and locking it in place, checking the tire inflation, and ensuring the necessary reflectors are present.
It’s also important to plan on being seen. This means wearing bright clothing and riding only during the day, if possible. Wearing a helmet is necessary, regardless of your age or skill level. Your helmet should meet the requirements set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Once you’re on the road, be sure to follow all traffic rules. Keep in mind that bicyclists must follow the same rules as motorists. Keep alert at all times, and use hand signals to alert drivers of your intentions.
Even when you ride your bicycle responsibly, there’s still the chance of getting into a wreck because of a reckless driver. When that happens, we’re here for you.
Recover Compensation for Your Injuries
After a collision, you may think that the situation is straightforward. The driver was negligent, hit you in a wreck, and caused your injuries. Since they were responsible, you’d think that their insurance should pay for your injuries. At the scene of the wreck, the driver may seem cordial and like they’ll work with you. However, you may find that when it comes to file a claim, their story has changed.
There may be instances where the driver is trying to assign some of the fault to you. They could claim that you disobeyed traffic laws or were doing something illegal that contributed to the wreck and your injuries. Accusations such as this can possibly result in you getting less compensation than you deserve. That’s why it’s so important to have a bicycle accident lawyer in Atlanta on your side.
We’ll look into your case and find out the truth about what happened. If you weren’t at fault, we’ll do everything we can to prove it. The negligent driver needs to be held accountable for their actions and you deserve a settlement that will let you recover in peace.
Getting started on your claim as quickly as possible has many benefits. Waiting too long could possibly surpass the statute of limitations. In general, Georgia citizens have two years from the date of the incident to file a claim. If you wait too long and miss that window, your case may not be reviewed, and you won’t be able to seek compensation. When you have us at your side soon after the accident, you can rest assured that we’ll have the important deadlines covered. We may also be able to find physical evidence from the scene of the incident that supports your claim.
You can get in touch with us today for a free consultation of your case. In this meeting, we’ll go over what happened to you and what options you have for the future.