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Bicycle Versus Auto Collision In Atlanta Intersections

Bicycle HelmetOn a per capita basis, Georgia recorded an annual average of about 1.7 cyclist deaths per million residents.  In 2012, there were 17 fatal bicycle accidents[1] in the state of Georgia, up from 14 fatal bicycle accidents in 2011.

Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[2] indicates that slightly more than 10 percent of serious bicycle accidents involve vehicles, and they usually result in the most serious injuries to the cyclists.

Atlanta Intersection Crashes

Although intersections may represent a relatively small portion of a cyclist’s travel route, they are where a cyclist is most at risk of getting hit by a car or otherwise involved in a car accident. Only 11% of bicycle accidents involve a collision with a car but of these, 45% take place in intersections.

In order to minimize the risk of intersection accidents with cars, cyclists need to maximize their visibility, understand the rules of the road, learn to recognize some of the most dangerous intersection hazards, and take safety precautions when approaching and riding through an intersection.

How to Avoid Bike Accidents in Fulton County Intersections?

Intersections pose a special risk to bicyclists for many reasons:

  • Cars often underestimate the speed of a bike
  • Cars often do not expect bikes to be on the road so car drivers are not watching for bikes
  • Even if cars are on the lookout for bicyclists, they sometimes do not see them because bikes are smaller and can blend into the background based on the biker’s clothing, the sun, as well as other factors.

Cyclists should keep this in mind and take extra precautions to avoid accidents at intersections by:

  • Increasing the visibility of the bike and cyclist with front and rear lamps, reflective clothing, and brightly colored clothing.  It may seem silly, but bikes are small and easy to see through even during the day. Yellow or orange reflective vests really make a big difference as do reflective leg bands
  • Being on the lookout for vehicles, road debris and other dangers
  • Riding defensively
  • Learning to execute emergency maneuvers to avoid collisions
  • Don’t ride on the sidewalk because when you come off the sidewalk to cross the street at an intersection, a bicycle can be invisible to turning motorists
  • Do not pass on the right. It is important as a bicyclist not to overtake slow-moving vehicles on the right as doing so makes you invisible to left-turning motorists at intersections
  • Keep both hands on the handlebars to maintain maximum control of the bicycle
  • Equip the bike with mirrors and check them frequently while riding
  • Know the hand signals and make them consistently before turning
  • Pay attention in the late afternoon and evening hours when the sun can cause visibility problems for drivers.

Who is at Fault in Atlanta – the Bike or the Car?

Legally speaking, in the state of Georgia, a bicycle is considered to be a “vehicle” and therefore, just like motorists, cyclists must follow the rules of the road[3]. When it comes to collisions occurring at intersections, liability usually boils down to who had the right-of-way between the car or the bike.

  • No traffic signals: When two vehicles approach an intersection not controlled by a traffic signal, the vehicle arriving first has the right-of-way.  If the vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way.
  • Traffic signals: The right-of-way at intersections controlled by signals is determined by the traffic signal.  If a signal sensor is unable to detect the presence of a bicycle, the cyclist can position the bicycle closer to the sensors embedded in the road or wait until it is safe to cross at the crosswalk.

Call an Atlanta Bicycle Accident Attorney 

If you or someone you love has been injured or even killed as a result of a bicycle versus vehicle collision, it is important to talk to an experienced Atlanta bicycle accident attorney who can review the case and collect all of the compensation to which you are entitled.

References:

[1] http://www.governing.com/gov-data/transportation-infrastructure/most-bicycle-cyclist-deaths-per-capita-by-state-data.html
[2] http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/bicycle/index.html
[3] http://www.bicyclegeorgia.com/galaw.html

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