Although bicycle riders are more vulnerable to injury than motor vehicle drivers, they are still held to the same standards. The traffic laws for bicyclists in Atlanta are not appreciatively different, but there are some rules in place that are meant to make them safer. If you require legal assistance to determine if you could be deemed at-fault for an accident, a determined bicycle accident attorney could work with you on your case.
Applying Traffic Laws to Bicycles
In Atlanta, the Georgia motor vehicle laws apply to bicyclists as well. Bicyclists have to ride on the right-hand side of the road, with the flow of traffic, and are required to obey traffic signs and signals. Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on sidewalks and they must use hand signals to signal where they are turning. However, they can move into the lane if they intend to make a left-hand turn.
In addition, riders under the age of 16 must wear a helmet that complies with the standards set by the American National Standards Institute. Riders over the age of 16 are not required to wear a helmet, although it is in their best personal interest to wear one.
Why Should Cyclists Follow Traffic Laws?
Local bicyclists should also follow traffic laws because it helps drivers to see them. A bicycle riding with traffic is much less likely to get into a wreck because it is easy for drivers who are going with the flow of traffic to see those bicycles and follow them. A rider coming straight on to them might not provide enough time to adjust.
A bicyclist following or not following the laws can impact an injury case. Georgia follows the doctrine of comparative fault. If a bicyclist was not following the traffic laws, a jury could put some fault on that bicycle rider, and their final damages award would be reduced by that percentage. If they are 50 percent or more at fault, then they would not be able to recover for any injuries.
Evidence That Could Prove Fault
There is a great deal of evidence that a defense lawyer could use to prove that a bicyclist is potentially at fault. If the investigating officer gave the citation to the bicyclist for not complying with traffic laws, such as riding against the flow of traffic or riding on the sidewalk, that could be used against them.
If the cyclist had a camera such as GoPro attached, or if the car has an active dash cam, that video would be an invaluable piece of evidence. A lawyer should also check the accident area for potential traffic cameras or surveillance cameras from nearby establishments.
Can Wearing a Helmet Impact a Case?
The failure to wear a helmet is not considered negligence by Georgia law. If someone was not wearing a helmet, they cannot be determined to be at fault for the collision. Despite this, all bicyclists are encouraged to wear a helmet even if not wearing one has no legal impact on the case. Wearing one can reduce the chance of sustaining a traumatic brain injury or even dying in an accident.
If it is determined that an Atlanta bicycle rider also violated some traffic laws, a jury may place fault on the rider. If the bicycle rider is under 50 percent at fault, then an injury case is still viable and that rider will be allowed to recover for the percentage of the injuries the motor vehicle driver is at fault for.
Let an Attorney Advise You on the Traffic Laws for Bicyclists in Atlanta
Motorists and cyclists are expected to follow roughly the same rules when sharing a road. When one person knows how the other will react in certain situations, both of them will be safer. A lawyer could go over the traffic laws for bicyclists in Atlanta and determine who should be deemed the at-fault party after a crash. To learn more about what to do in this situation, call our office as soon as possible.