Bicyclists vs. Motor Vehicles – The Battle to Share the Road
It’s no surprise that a large amount of bicycle accidents occur because of cars. However, it is surprising that a fair amount of bicycle accidents occur because of parked cars. Regardless of how it happens, bicycle accidents can cause serious injury and can result in a personal injury claim.
Georgia Bicycle Traffic Law
Under Georgia law, a bicycle is legally treated as a vehicle. This means that bicyclists are required to abide by all traffic signals, stop signs and other traffic laws that a person driving a car has to follow. If a cyclist is walking their bike, they are considered a pedestrian and must follow all pedestrian laws and regulations.
While cyclists have many of the same rights as motor vehicle drivers, they are prohibited from riding on highways and other high-speed areas. Cyclists are not able to protect their bodies as much, allowing even a slow moving vehicle to cause major injury to a cyclist.
While most cities have designated bike lanes, many still relegate cyclists to sidewalks or bike paths in order to hopefully avoid a collision. No matter where they are pedaling, cyclists are required to ride with the flow of traffic and it is mandatory for riders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet.
The “Three Feet” Rule of Riding
According to Georgia law, other moving vehicles are required to give a bicyclist at least three feet when a cyclist’s path is being obstructed or is blocked by another vehicle. This rule can be tweaked a bit when a vehicle makes a clear effort to keep the cyclist safe by taking an action like slowing down.
When an accident does happen, it can be difficult to determine if the parties involved were at least three feet away from each other. The distance is usually what eventually leads to a decision in court if a lawsuit should happen.
Parked Cars Can Cause Injury
Sometimes a vehicle doesn’t have to be in motion to cause a cyclist serious injury. A car can be parked illegally or in a tow-away zone, affecting the “three feet rule” and causing an accident. . Cyclists can also be injured by someone flinging their door open without checking their surroundings and subsequently hitting a cyclist pedaling down the street. If someone is getting out of a car, the door should only be opened long enough to hop in the car, drop off or collect items from the vehicle.
The BWH Difference
Accidents like the ones discussed above are typically caused because someone was negligent. If you or a loved one has been involved in a cyclist accident, it’s important to not only receive medical help, but legal counsel as well. At Buzzell, Welsh & Hill, we have years of experience in dealing with insurance companies and the courtroom. We’re here to answer any of your questions and get you the settlement that you deserve. Call today for your free consultation!