Bicycling is often viewed as a leisurely activity for many people. However, that should not lull anyone into a false sense of security, as bicycle accidents are common and could leave devastating injuries in severe cases. It is important for riders of all ages and skill levels to know the potential dangers of this activity. Consider talking with a skilled bike collision attorney to learn about staying safe while riding a bicycle in Savannah.
Rules of the Road for Cyclists
Bicycles are considered vehicles in Savannah and are subject to some particular laws. They are required to keep on the right-hand side of the lane except when turning left or avoiding hazards in the road. Cyclists are also required to ride in bicycle lanes if those are provided and riders under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet.
A bicyclist is allowed to pass a car on the side of the road, whereas a motorcycle is prohibited from doing so, even though both are considered vehicles that have to follow general traffic laws. However, neither motorcycles nor bicycles are allowed on sidewalks.
Bicycles share the road with motorized vehicles that are larger and faster, putting them at a severe disadvantage in the event of an accident. There is also no requirement for adults to wear helmets and that can contribute to the possibility of head injuries.
The Use of Helmets in Savannah
Bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet while riding a bike under state law. Although adults are not required to, it is a smart and safe practice to wear them to reduce the chance of an accident which can cause traumatic brain injuries.
Georgia is a comparative negligence state, meaning the defense team may try to use the lack of a helmet as evidence that the plaintiff was partially responsible for their own injury. However, the law forbids this fact from being used as negligence.
A rider could find out if the helmet is defective if they see cracks or if it no longer fits over their head properly. If a helmet is found to be defective, they should replace it immediately. If an injury occurred with a defective helmet, the cyclist might have a claim against the manufacturer as well.
Beyond helmets, a cyclist should wear proper protective equipment, always be aware of their surroundings, use caution when approaching streets, and consider taking a bicycle safety class.
Why Are Bike Accidents So Different from Other Vehicle Accidents?
Bicycle accidents can be catastrophic because a rider does not have the same protection as motor vehicle drivers. Bicyclists are often exposed to the elements, including adverse weather. If a bike rider crash, they can sustain major damage from the pavement or roll into the road where they are vulnerable to other vehicles. As with motorcycle collisions and other automobile accidents, the injuries bicyclists could sustain may vary. A severe bike crash can produce head trauma, major orthopedic injuries, broken legs, and broken arms. Bruises, scrapes, burns, and road rash are also commonly seen.
Bicycle accidents occur more often than those involving pedestrians because bicycles often share the road with motorized vehicles. Motorists do not always look out for smaller travelers or provide enough space when passing. Even when drivers are paying attention, cyclists can pull out onto the road without warning, allowing for little reaction time.
What Should Cyclists Do in Bad Weather?
In rainy or foggy weather, it is not only harder for a cyclist to see in front of them but it is also harder for motorists to see nearby bicycles. Cyclists should avoid going out in poor weather whenever possible. If they must, bicyclists should stay safe by wearing reflective gear and clothing, while also putting reflectors on the bike, as required by law. A local bike crash attorney could look at weather reports to determine the visibility available at the time of an accident.
Consult with an Attorney to Learn About Staying Safe on Bicycles in Savannah
Nobody should have to fear for their safety when they go out for a bike ride in Savannah. Although accidents do happen, there are numerous things you could do to keep safe and avoid a collision. To learn more about staying safe while riding a bicycle in Savannah while also protecting yourself legally, call today.