Bicycles afford their riders the same protections as pedestrians, even when their riding behavior is more aligned with that of a motor vehicle. In many respects, the roads on which bicyclists ride are similar to the sidewalks and streets pedestrians walk on. Just as those sidewalks are designated for pedestrians, some areas of Atlanta have dedicated bike lanes.
However, like pedestrians, bicyclists are incredibly susceptible to injury from being struck by a negligent motor vehicle driver. It is important for riders to understand the potential dangers of bicycling in Atlanta in order to avoid accidents and the need to pursue a civil case.
Understanding and Managing Risk
Bicyclists can sometimes mitigate the increased risks of injury by knowing the bicycle they are riding. A great place to start is looking at the manufacturer’s recommendations for their bicycle and getting familiar with its various features, as well as with its general maneuverability. Before going on a longer trip, it may be a good idea to take a test ride to become familiar with how the bike maneuvers, how it rides on roadways compared to bicycle paths, how the steering mechanisms work, and how good the brakes are.
When riding a bicycle at night, it is especially important for riders to have the right equipment. For example, if a person is operating a bicycle between sunset and sunrise, they should have a light on their bike visible from at least 300 feet away, which could significantly decrease the risk of a fatal or incapacitating injury. We recommend riders also read literature and standards that pertain to riding bicycles before setting out on a trip.
The Impact of Weather Conditions
Wet weather conditions—such as rain, sleet, ice, or snow—often make riding a bike significantly less safe. These severe conditions impact safety because they affect maneuverability, particularly a rider’s propensity to slide or fall in ways they likely would not have to worry about in dry conditions.
A cyclist can protect themselves in severe weather conditions by making sure they have the proper gear, are not riding their bicycle too fast or unsafely, and are abiding by the rules of the road. Specifically, they should be riding in the same direction as nearby traffic and obeying the motor vehicle laws applicable to the Atlanta area.
If an accident happens in poor weather conditions, it could have a significant impact on liability in an ensuing civil case. Depending on the situation, the defendant’s defense strategy may be to argue that the plaintiff never should have operated their bicycle under the conditions present during their accident, since those conditions were more likely to cause an injurious accident. If a suit is filed, it is important that we establish the conditions within which the accident occurred.
What Are the Dangers of Riding Next to Automobiles?
Automobile drivers often are ignorant of bicyclists using their hands as turn signals but riders have few other options of indicating where they are going. Car drivers should know to look out for cyclists using their hands as turn signals. Bicyclists may need to cross or change lanes, especially if they are turning left, and those making right-hand turns should be allowed to make the turn without being passed immediately.
Using bicycles is both environmentally friendly and can help reduce the traffic problem in Atlanta. However, the attitude of drivers is mixed. It can be frustrating when bicyclists do not follow traffic laws, which could potentially lead to road rage or some other form of reckless driving. It is important for drivers to keep a safe distance from the rider, usually at least three feet.
Another potential danger of bicycling in Atlanta is riding on the sidewalk. Although individuals bike on the sidewalk all the time, it is against the law because it makes it hard for drivers to see them, which can lead to collisions if a cyclist suddenly turns into the road. Despite the fact that it angers many motorists, bicyclists must ride in traffic if no specialized bike lane is available.
Stay Aware of Potential Dangers of Bicycling in Atlanta with an Attorney
Bicycling can be a healthy and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation, but that does not mean riding is a risk-free endeavor. Knowing the risks associated with bicycling in the city of Atlanta can go a long way towards keeping you safe on the road. If you were injured in an Atlanta bicycle accident, you may be able to file a suit for civil compensation. Talk to one of our knowledgeable attorneys today about what may be possible in your situation.