All motorists should be aware that Georgia’s 3-foot law and O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56 have been amended to further protect bicycle riders on the road. The changes are outlined as:
(a) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a bicycle shall approach the bicycle with due caution and shall proceed as follows:
(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the bicycle if possible in the existing road and traffic conditions; or
(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be at least ten miles per hour less than the posted speed limit or 25 miles per hour, whichever is more, and proceed around the bicycle with at least three feet between such vehicle and the bicycle at all times.
(b) Any violation of this Code section shall be a misdemeanor punished by a fine of not more than $250.00.
OCGA § 40-6-56
Amended by 2021 Ga. Laws 221,§ 1, eff. 7/1/2021.
This amendment encourages motorists to make a lane change when overtaking any cyclists on the road. However, traffic and road conditions may pose a risk if drivers are not careful when making this lane change.
Georgia’s Current Bicycle Laws
In Georgia, bicycles are treated as vehicles and cyclists are expected to follow the same rules as drivers of motor vehicles. Both motorists and cyclists share responsibility for everyone’s safety while riding on the roads. Some of Georgia’s laws for bicycle riders are:
- Cyclists must ride in the same direction of traffic
- Cyclists must not share their lane with more than one other cyclist by their side
- Anyone under the age of 16 must wear a helmet
- Cyclists also must yield to stop signs, red lights, and traffic signs
- Cyclists must give turn signals to motorists
- Proper reflectors and headlights must be worn when riding in weather conditions that affect visibility
Even minor accidents with bicycles on the road can result in serious injuries. Negligent drivers as well as negligent cyclists can be found at fault in an accident because both are considered to be driving motor vehicles on the road. Bicycle accident survivors are entitled to filing a personal injury claim just as an automobile accident case because both parties owe each other a duty to responsibly drive a motor vehicle.
The CDC reports that bicycle accidents and injuries result in nearly $10 billion in medical bill losses each year. Like automobile accidents, cyclists and drivers alike will have to prove they are less than 50% at fault in the accident to recover compensation.
Motorists can be found at fault if they:
- Fail to give the cyclists adequate space when passing
- Fail to reduce their speed when passing cyclists
- Fail to adhere to cyclists signals
Cyclists can be found at fault if they:
- Fail to give appropriate turn and stop signals
- Fail to ride with caution on the farthest side of the road along traffic
- Fail to yield to oncoming traffic
Both parties are entitled to compensation that covers medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more in the event of a bicycle accident that was not their fault. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney is your best option to help you prove the other party was responsible for your injuries.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney after a Bicycle Accident
Southside Injury attorneys offer a more personal and individualized experience. Southside Injury attorneys are available to their clients from the very start. Unlike with other personal injury firms, from the first time you call or step into our office, you will speak with an actual attorney, not a paralegal or assistant. While paralegals and assistants regularly assist in the handling of each and every case and are a great resource for our clients, we pride ourselves in being personally available. We get to know our clients, develop relationships with them, and offer a personalized approach to the handling of each and every case. In being available to our clients at every stage of the process, we are able to help them avoid the typical pitfalls that lead to devaluation, which increases the value of each and every case. Give us a call today for a free case evaluation.
Call or contact the law office of Southside Injury Attorneys for experienced attorneys that can help hen you’ve been injured. We have six convenient locations in McDonough, Stockbridge, Peachtree City, Jackson, Barnesville, and Griffin. We serve clients all over the state as one of Georgia’s most respected law firms.
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