Snellville Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Bicycle Accident Lawyers Serving Snellville Injured Victims
While there are several bicycle paths and trails in Gwinnett County, bicycling to work or to other destinations usually requires bicyclists to ride on a highway or local street. County officials are discussing a dedicated bicycle path that would stretch from Loganville to Stone Mountain, but bicyclists who travel around Gwinnet County today must share roads with cars and trucks. Our Snellville bicycle accident lawyer helps bicycle riders seriously injured by another driver’s negligence.
When bicyclists are injured or experience wrongful death in traffic accidents, drivers are legally liable when their violation of a traffic safety law (or any other act of careless driving) was a primary cause of the accident.
What Georgia Laws Govern Bicycle Accidents?
Bicycles are “vehicles” under Georgia law. O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(75). Any Georgia traffic law that applies generally to “vehicles,” not just to “motor vehicles,” applies to bicycles. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-291(a). An exception to that rule is that bicycles, unlike motor vehicles, can be operated on the shoulder of a road. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-291(b).
Except for controlled-access roads where the Department of Transportation or a local ordinance prohibits bicycle operation, bicyclists have the same right to travel on roads as other vehicles. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-51(a). Subject to certain exceptions, a bicyclist must “ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable.” O.C.G.A. § 40-6-51(b). Exceptions include making a left turn, riding outside of a right turn lane when the bicyclist is not turning right, and avoiding obstacles in the road.
Drivers have a duty under Georgia law to watch for bicycles on the road and to exercise reasonable care to avoid collisions. Riders may not assume that the road is clear of traffic (including bicycle riders), but must “maintain a diligent lookout” for other vehicles. Leggett v. Brewton, 104 Ga. App. 580 (1961). Drivers are negligent when they collide with a bicycle because they were not watching the road.
When a driver passes a bicyclist, Georgia law requires the driver to maintain a distance of at least three feet between the driver’s vehicle and the bicycle until the driver is “safely past the overtaken bicycle.” O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56. When a bicyclist is riding in a separate bike lane, drivers have an obligation to yield to the bicycle. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-55. A driver who wants to turn right but must pass through a bike lane to complete the turn must, therefore, yield to a bicycle that is occupying the lane.
Drivers violate Georgia Code § 40-6-49 by tailgating bicyclists. Many bicycle collisions are caused by drivers who crash into the rear of a bicycle because they were following “more closely than is reasonable and prudent.”
Any other violation of a traffic safety law, or any other act of careless driving, can make a driver liable for a collision with a bicyclist.
Can Someone Other than a Driver Be Liable for a Georgia Bicycle Accident?
Most serious bicycle accidents involve cars or trucks colliding with a bicycle. However, any negligent act that causes injury to a bicycle rider can create liability. For example, someone who pushes a hand truck stacked with boxes into the path of a bicyclist might negligently cause an injury by failing to observe the oncoming bicycle rider.
When minors are injured in a bicycle accident, a childcare provider who should have been supervising the child might also be liable for the child’s injuries. Corporations that provide childcare services will generally have insurance coverage for acts of negligence that injure children in their care. As the Georgia Court of Appeals noted in State Farm Fire and Cas. Co. v. Bauman, 313 Ga. App. 771 (2012), whether an individual’s homeowner’s insurance will cover negligent supervision of a child who is injured in a bicycle accident will depend on the terms of the policy.
Property owners might also be liable for a bicycle accident that is caused by the negligent maintenance of a property. For example, a bicycle tire became caught in a grill that extended across the entrance to a shopping mall parking lot. The spaces between the bars of the grill ran in the same direction as traffic, creating a hazard for bicyclists. The bicyclist was thrown from the bike and suffered serious facial injuries. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict finding that the mall owners were negligent in positioning the grill in a way that would endanger unsuspecting bicycle riders. Pembrook Management, Inc. v. Cossaboon, 157 Ga. App. 675 (1981).
What Happens If the Bicycle Rider Was at Fault for an Accident?
Bicycle riders may share responsibility for an accident when they violate traffic safety laws or are otherwise careless. A bicyclist who is 50% or more at fault for an accident cannot recover compensation for accident injuries. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33(e).
If the bicycle rider is less than 50% at fault, compensation is reduced in proportion to the rider’s share of responsibility for the accident. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33(a). A bicyclist who is 30% at fault will, therefore, recover 70% of full compensation.
What Bicycle Accident Injuries Does Tobin Injury Law Handle?
Collisions with a bicyclist often cause serious injuries. Even when bicyclists wear a helmet, brain injuries can devastate the lives of accident victims. Facial injuries, including broken teeth, torn rotator cuffs, broken noses, and facial scarring are common outcomes. Spinal injuries may result in paralysis.
Our experienced Snellville personal injury lawyers help collision victims obtain the compensation they need to rebuild their lives. We focus on serious injuries so that we can devote our time to helping the accident victims who need us the most.
When a bicycle accident is fatal, our Snellville wrongful death lawyers help families obtain the compensation that the victim would want them to have. Our Georgia Wrongful Death Law FAQ explains how wrongful death compensation can be pursued and distributed under Georgia law.
Contact a Snellville Bicycle Accident Attorney
When you’ve been injured, time is of the essence. If you need medical treatment, or if you are currently under medical care and the bills are starting to mount, you need an aggressive advocate in your corner. Call our Snellville bicycle accident lawyer today at (678) 263-3733 to speak with a Snellville bicycle accident attorney. You can also email us, or fill out our convenient online form.