Over the years, cycling has become a popular recreational activity and mode of transportation. However, the increased the number of cyclists on the road also accompanies a rise in auto-bicycle accidents. In the event of a collision, bikers are relatively unprotected compared to vehicle occupants and often suffer significant injuries.
If you were struck while biking, let an experienced attorney at Smith Hulsey advise you on a civil claim for damages. A skilled Gainesville bicycle accident lawyer could be key in getting you the compensation you need to recover from your losses.
Bikers have the right to be on Gainesville roadways and are subject to the same general safe operating rules as any other motor vehicle. However, there are obvious differences between bicycles and motor vehicles, particularly when an accident occurs. Bikes cannot provide the same protection to their riders as cars, and they also cannot inflict the same harm to others on the road.
Recognizing these differences, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated spells out specific actions that motorists must undertake to prevent auto-bike collisions. For instance, cyclists may ride in roads that have a shoulder but are not required to do so, according to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-291. If they choose to ride in the traffic lane, motorists must adjust their driving to share the road safely.
Additionally, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56 instructs motorists to give bicycle riders sufficient space (at least three feet) when passing. Drivers must also yield to riders in designated bicycle lanes under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-55.
When motorists violate these safe operating rules, they put cyclists at risk of grave injury. In the event of a collision, a knowledgeable local attorney could help an injured biker determine whether any traffic statues were broken.
In addition to driver safety regulations, Georgia law also sets out expectations for bike riders. To promote safety on the road and prevent auto collisions, cyclists must:
Unfortunately, severe accidents can happen even when following these rules and other safety practices. After a traffic collision in Gainesville, injured bikers should seek experienced legal support to help maximize their compensation in settlement negotiations or court judgments.
Although a driver’s violation of road safety laws may support a liability claim against them, an injured cyclist could also be found partially negligent for an accident, resulting in a reduction or complete loss of damages. Georgia’s comparative negligence law in O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 states that a plaintiff could have their award reduced to reflect their level of fault in the traffic crash.
For example, if a cyclist is found 40 percent responsible for an accident where $100,000 is awarded in compensation, 40 percent will be subtracted from the total and the injured party will receive only $60,000. However, if the cyclist bears 50 percent or more of the blame, they will receive nothing. By working with a strong legal advocate, bicycle accident victims in Gainesville may be better prepared to address these attempts to shift blame and undermine damages awards.
Despite laws meant to safeguard riders, some bicycle collisions are unavoidable. When motorists violate safety regulations or drive negligently, they put cyclists at risk of devastating injuries. The supportive legal team at Smith Hulsey understands the impact these incidents can have on your life, and we are here to help you hold reckless drivers accountable. Call a Gainesville bicycle accident lawyer today to discuss your situation.
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