Bicycle Accident Lawyer Atlanta GA
If you’re in need of a bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta GA residents trust, you want a seasoned trial lawyer on your side.
The kind of bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta GA residents are proud to have serving their community can be found at Butler Tobin. Motorists injure and kill thousands of bicyclists every year in traffic accidents. Bicyclists don’t have a lot of protection. Other than a helmet which reduces the risk of trauma to the head, even the most experienced bicyclist faces real risks when he takes to the road. The most recent federal statistics available show that bicycle fatalities have been rising year-over-year.
Bicycles and Cars: Sharing the Road
While bicyclists are entitled to share the roads, not all car drivers respect those cycling privileges. Too often, car drivers use aggressive maneuvers like speeding up behind a bicycle rider or driving to pass around the bicycle driver. Those poor decisions often sadly lead to catastrophic consequences. A car driver’s negligent or reckless driving makes him liable for the injuries he causes. A bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta GA cyclists know and trust will make sure to hold the right individuals accountable.
Sometimes a bicycle accident is as straightforward as it seems—the driver was following too closely, or failed to yield the right of way resulting in the accident. Sometimes the accident is caused by something more than an impatient driver. An accident investigation and actual on-site inspection of the road may show that it was a poor road design or defective product that was the primary cause. And sometimes an accident is caused by a drunk driver who recklessly strikes a bicyclist but flees the scene. In any of these situations, you will want a bicycle accident lawyer that Atlanta GA residents count on.
Georgia Bicycle Laws
With experience, a bicycle accident lawyer gets a feel for which laws come up most often. Below is a list of the Georgia bicycle laws that we deal with most often.
- Cars must leave at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56.
- It is legal for a bicycle to ride on the paved shoulder of the road (although a bicyclist is not required to ride on a paved shoulder) under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-291.
- Cars must yield to bicyclists in bicycle lanes under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-55.
- In general, bicycles and cars are subject to the same rules of the road according to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-290.
- Generally, bicyclists must stay on the right side of the roadway under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294(b).
- Sidewalks are for pedestrians, not bicyclists, under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-144.
- Certain safety equipment is required for bicycles under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-296.
- With certain exceptions for young children, bicycles can’t legally carry more people than they’re designed for, as established by O.C.G.A. § 40-6-292. That means no passengers on axle foot bars or handlebars.
Risks Associated with Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle safety is a real issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Atlanta GA, adolescents and young adults (15-19 years) and adults over 40 have the highest bicycle death rates. Also according to the CDC, male cyclists face a much higher likelihood of suffering an injury than females. And finally, the CDC credits the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with finding that most bicycle deaths occur in urban areas and at non-intersection locations. If you have suffered an injury because of a bicycle accident, you want to talk to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer Atlanta GA cyclists trust.
Bicycling does a lot of good for cities like Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Jonesboro, and Sandy Springs (where we have offices). First, bicyclists cut down on pollution, which has long been a problem in Georgia’s biggest metropolitan area. Second, bicycling keeps people healthy, which is a good thing for taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Third, bicyclists facilitate a sense of local community and tend to support local businesses, like the businesses that have sprung up along Atlanta’s Beltline and the rails-to-trails projects (like the Silver Comet Trail) in other parts of Georgia. Where bicyclists and pedestrians have a safe space to travel, pollution goes down, health goes up, and communities grow stronger.
For all of the good that bicyclists do for the Georgia cities where they pedal, bicyclists face significant risks. All too often, a bicycle accident lawyer sees the results of those risks. Even if a bicyclist is wearing a helmet, the bicyclist has little protection if struck by a motor vehicle. The bicyclist can be injured from the impact of the car itself, or from the bicyclist’s impact with the ground or pavement when, after the collision, the bicyclist returns to earth. If drivers fail to obey the three-foot rule, truck or car mirrors can strike bicyclists, causing direct injuries or knocking the bicyclist down. Potholes or cracks in the pavement can also trip bicyclists, sending them flying over their handlebars and headed for a possible head or neck injury. We have a personal friend (a business lawyer in Atlanta) who suffered a serious injury in a bicycle accident caused by a roadway defect.
Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents are more common with bicyclists than cars, unfortunately. In the course of our work as bicycle accident lawyers, we’ve come to believe that there are two reasons for that. First, drivers tend to believe that they can outrun a bicycle. Sometimes an at-fault driver would not necessarily run from another car because he or she would be afraid of being chased. But a driver may run away from a collision with a bicyclist because the car driver thinks that he or she will be able to speed away.
Second, drivers tend to be more afraid after colliding with a bicycle. The reason is that drivers know, as a matter of common sense, that there is a significant chance the the bicyclist is badly hurt. You would hope that, given this higher-than-usual risk of a severe injury, drivers could be counted on to stop and help. Of course, many do. But not all—some percentage of drivers become afraid of the consequences of the collision and drive off.
We have seen some really good police work in the context of bicycle accidents. In one of our cases, a hit-and-run driver was caught because a police officer picked up pieces of the car’s bumper from the scene of the collision, kept those pieces in his patrol car, and then waited at a nearby intersection for several mornings around the same time of day that the collision had occurred. Finally he saw a car matching the bicyclist’s description that had damage to the bumper. He stopped the car, matched up the pieces, and arrested the driver.
When an at-fault hit-and-run driver gets caught, the driver is of course responsible for the consequences of his or her actions. The driver’s auto insurance company must pay for the bicyclists medical bills, pain and suffering, and interference with daily living. Often, a hit-and-run driver will also be subject to punitive damages.
Even if a hit-and-run driver escapes, there may still be insurance available to help an injured bicyclist. Although not everyone knows it, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer recognizes that a bicyclist’s auto insurance policy may be used to help the bicyclist even though he or she was not in an “auto.” The reason is that if the bicyclist has uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage (often called “UM” insurance), then that insurance company is usually required to make the insurance coverage available as long as the collision was “related to” an automobile (such as the automobile that hit the bicyclist). This UM insurance can be a huge help, and is often available not only in a hit-and-run bicycle accident, but even after bicycle collisions in which the at-fault driver stopped or was caught.
We often find that clients have UM insurance that they didn’t even know about. That can happen in three ways. First, and most simply, many people just aren’t sure what kind of insurance they have (being told you have “full coverage” doesn’t actually mean anything). Second, if your insurance company didn’t have you sign a written rejection of UM insurance coverage then, as a matter of Georgia law, you are deemed to have it. Third, even if you don’t have UM coverage yourself, you can use the UM policy of any relative who lives in the same household as you (we call this the “resident relative” rule). These paths to UM insurance coverage can be very helpful for a bicycle accident lawyer and his clients.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, we may be able to help. We’ll talk with you for free. Call us at (404) 587-8423 or click the button below.