For many people in Georgia, cycling is an efficient, healthy, and enjoyable way to get around. For others, it is their exercise of choice or an occasional leisure activity. Whatever the reason cyclists are going for a ride, they should remember that it can be a dangerous activity. Bicycle accidents can be devastating because cyclists are in such a vulnerable position. Drivers have an enormous responsibility to be alert for cyclists and to safely share the road with them. But it is also important for cyclists to do their part by exercising caution when riding and following the rules of the road.
Things to Remember When Riding Your Bicycle
- Follow the Rules. Many people don’t realize that bicycles are considered “vehicles” under Georgia law and that cyclists must generally follow the same rules of the road as those governing motor vehicles. There are also several special laws that apply specifically to cyclists. Cyclists should be aware of these rules and follow them.
- Communicate With Drivers. Even drivers that are paying attention sometimes hit cyclists. It happens most often when a driver had no idea what a cyclist was doing. Cyclists should make appropriate hand signals and when possible, attempt to make eye contact with drivers before crossing through an intersection.
- Maintain Control of Your Bicycle. Yes, this one is obvious. But it is worth repeating. Accidents are caused every day because a cyclist was going too fast, was distracted and lost focus, or attempted to do something unsafe. Georgia has several laws intended to prevent cyclists from losing control. For instance, it is illegal for more than one person to ride a single-person bicycle at the same time, cyclists cannot legally attach themselves to a motor vehicle as they ride, it is illegal for cyclists to ride if they are carrying something that prevents them from being able to hold both hands on the handlebars at once, and cyclists can get a DWI just like motor vehicle drivers.
- Ride as Close to the Right Side of the Road as Possible. Cyclists should stay as far to the right as they safely can, except when turning left or avoiding hazards. This safety rule is also legally required.
- Wear a Helmet. You can reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet. In Georgia, riders under the age of 16 are legally required to wear a helmet.
- Be Visible. It is always a good idea to wear brightly colored clothing when cycling. If you ride at night, you should have a light and reflectors as well.
- Ride With Traffic. It is safer to ride with traffic. If you are riding against traffic, drivers will not be expecting you and may not notice you. By riding against traffic, you also reduce reaction time to avoid an accident.
If You Have Been in a Bicycle Accident, Williams Elleby, Can Help
Unfortunately, even safe cyclists get into accidents. If you have been in a bicycle accident and been injured as a result, it is important to be aware of your legal rights and options. For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, call Williams Elleby, at 833-LEGALGA today.