We know bicycle accidents. Our firm has handled cases on both sides—we have handled cases in which a motor vehicle driver was at fault for injuring a bicyclist, and cases in which the bicyclist was at fault for injuring a pedestrian. We have handled hit-and-run cases in which the bicyclist was injured, cases in which a bicyclist was falsely accused of having improper equipment, and cases in which automobile drivers and bicyclists failed to obey Georgia’s rules of the road. And we have satisfied clients to show for it.
We Support Bicycle Safety
Bicycling holds promise. Done correctly, bicycling can ease traffic congestion, improve air quality, and provide exercise for the American public. But it needs to be safe cycling. Drivers must respect bicyclists, bicyclists must respect drivers, and government should provide infrastructure that will allow drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to travel in harmony.
Cities and counties, across Georgia and particularly in Atlanta, should support these multiple modes of transportation. And increasingly, they do. The city of Atlanta has committed itself to becoming more bicycle-friendly by putting in bicycle lanes in some of the areas where they are needed most. Beyond that, the movement toward creating trails around the city to be shared by bicyclists and pedestrians has made Atlanta more hospitable to bicycles. For instance, the Beltline project makes commuting and recreational bicycling a more reasonable possibility. Rails-to-trails projects around the state (like the Silver Comet Trail leading from Atlanta, Georgia to Weaver, Alabama) create even more cycling opportunities.
Given the promise of bicycling, Butler Tobin is proud to sponsor the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, which works with public and private partners to make bicycle travel safer for everyone.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Safety requires rules, and rules require enforcement. That’s where we come in. When motorists pull out in front of a bicycle because they didn’t see it, that’s negligence. When a motorist swerves off the road and strikes a bicyclist, that’s negligence. When a bicycle blows through a stop light and strikes a pedestrian, that’s also negligence. When someone’s negligence hurts an innocent person, the person at fault (and usually that person’s insurance company) should be held accountable.
Below are some of the more important rules that establish how motor vehicles should interact with bicycles with citations to Georgia law.
- When a car passes a bicycle, the car must leave at least three feet of space. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56.
- When a bicycle is in a bicycle lane, cars must yield to it. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-55.
- Bicycles may legally ride upon the paved shoulder of the road. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-291.
- Generally, bicycles must obey the same rules that cars must obey. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-290.
- Generally, bicyclists must stay on the right side of the roadway. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-294(b).
- Bicycles must have certain safety equipment. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-296.
- If a bicycle is built for one person, only one person can ride it—no passengers on handlebars or axle foot pegs! But children under one can ride in a sling or trailer. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-292.
- Bicycles should not be ridden on sidewalks. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-144.
- And unfortunately, despite how much fun the person in this video seems to be having, it is illegal to tow a bicycle (or skateboard, or rollerblader, or sled) behind a car. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-293.
Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents
Hit-and-run accidents are unfortunately common in bicycle collisions. That is true for two reasons. First, motorists may fear that the injuries to the bicyclist are likely to be severe, and may want to avoid responsibility for the collision. Second, many motorists assume that they can outrun a bicyclist—especially after a collision. Sometimes the motorist gets away. If the motorist is caught, however, the consequences can be severe. In the context of a lawsuit, hitting-and-running it may also authorize punitive damages.
Even if the motorist is never caught, a bicyclist may have options. Although many people don’t know it, the uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist / UM insurance that a person buys for his or her automobile may cover you if a car violates the rules of the road and collides with you. This UM auto insurance can be available because even though you were on a bicycle, the collision was still “related to” the an automobile—i.e., the automobile that hit you. The availability of this insurance coverage can be a relief for a bicyclist who faces mounting medical bills, time missed from work, and significant pain. Also, in some of our cases, we have seen law enforcement catch motorists long after the hit-and-run occurred—so don’t give up hope! Here‘s one example of a case Butler Tobin successfully resolved!
Atlanta’s Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a bicycle accident, we invite you to call us for a free consultation. Our firm charges no legal fees unless we take your case and we are able recover money for you. If you are a member of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, you may be eligible for a discount on top of that.