DeKalb County has created bicycle trails and bike lanes to make it easier and safer for bicyclists to ride. These measures cover only a small percentage of the routes that bicyclists travel every day in DeKalb County to get to work and school or just for recreation. Much of the time, bicycles share the roads with larger, heavier motorized vehicles.
When those vehicles collide with a bike, it is the bicyclist who suffers. If you have been hurt in a bike collision, it is a good idea to speak to a knowledgeable DeKalb County bicycle accident lawyer soon to find out whether you may have a claim for damages. Evidence becomes harder to locate as time passes, and a detail-oriented personal injury attorney could help collect and preserve evidence so that it may be used to help you get all the compensation you deserve.
Legal Duties of Motorists to Protect Bicyclists
Since bicycles frequently operate on roads with trucks and cars and have little protection to protect the rider in a crash, state lawmakers have enacted certain laws to help protect bicyclists. If the driver of another vehicle violates one of these laws, that violation could be used by a skilled attorney to help establish liability for the bicycle accident.
What is a “Safe Distance”?
One of the most important laws for bicycle safety is found in Georgia Code Annotated §40-6-56. This section requires motorists who are passing bicycles to allow a “safe distance” between themselves and the bicycle. A safe distance is defined as at least three feet. Another key statute is Georgia Code Annotated §40-6-55, which requires motorists to yield to anyone operating a bicycle in a designated bike lane.
Duties Imposed on DeKalb County Cyclists
State laws regarding bicycles also impose duties on the bicyclists themselves for their own safety and to avoid roadway congestion. Ga. Code Ann. §40-6-294 requires those riding bicycles on a public road to stay as close to the right side of the road as practical, unless making a turn, passing a vehicle, or avoiding a hazardous condition. This statute also prohibits bicyclists from riding more than two abreast unless participating in a special permitted event.
What Laws Exist Specific to Bicyclists?
Ga. Code Ann. §40-6-295 also specifies that those riding bicycles on the roads may not carry any item that prevents them from keeping one hand on the handlebars and Ga. Code Ann. §40-6-296 makes it illegal to ride a bicycle when the handlebars are so high that the steering grips elevate riders’ hands higher than their shoulders. This same section also requires riders to use a headlight visible from 300 feet away when operating at night.
Failure to follow these and other rules could conceivably be considered contributory negligence on the part of the bicyclist. While contributory negligence may reduce the amount of compensation received by an injured bicyclist, it usually will not completely bar recovery. A Dekalb County bicycle accident lawyer could explain how these factors may affect a bicycle accident claim.
How a DeKalb County Bicycle Accident Attorney Could Help
When it is established that the actions of a motorist or any other person substantially contributed to the cause of a bicycle accident, then the injured cyclist may be entitled to recover compensation to offset a variety of consequences stemming from the accident.
To create the best case for recovery, it is important to begin collecting evidence as soon as possible. A DeKalb County bicycle accident lawyer could assist with the process and advocate on behalf of the injured to help recover compensation to assist with future needs. For a free case evaluation to learn more, call now.