When a car hits a person riding a bike, police responding to the accident typically hear the driver's version of what happened and who was at fault. The bicyclist is usually too injured to say anything.
To understand who was really at fault, you need to know your rights as a bicyclist in Georgia. Those rights are important when determining who is responsible for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Even if you were partially at fault, you still have the right to seek compensation for your losses, as long as you were not more than 50 percent at fault.
As a bicyclist in Georgia, your rights depend on whether you were walking or riding your bike at the time of the accident. If you were riding, you have many of the same rights as drivers of motor vehicles. If you were walking your bike, you are a pedestrian and have the rights as other pedestrians.
The following summarizes the rules of the road for Georgia bicyclists:
- You should ride in the same direction as traffic, as close to the right side of the roadway as possible, unless you are going around an obstruction such as a parked vehicle or making a left turn.
- Bicyclists should not ride more than two abreast.
- If the roadway contains a bicycle path, you should ride in the marked path rather than on the roadway
- If you are riding at nighttime, your bike should be equipped with a light on the front that is visible from 300 feet away. The rear should contain a reflector that is visible from the same distance.
- No person under the age of 16 should operate a bike without protective headgear meeting American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation standards.
The rules for bicyclists may vary on some roadways and in some municipalities. As long as you are riding legally, drivers of motor vehicle are required to yield to you when you have the right of way. If you are walking your bike in a crosswalk, you are protected by the same laws that protect pedestrians.
To protect your rights to full compensation after a car-bike collision, it's important to seek prompt legal advice from a lawyer who is experienced in handling bicycle accident cases. The law firm of Perrotta & Cahn, Attorneys at Law in Cartersville, Georgia, offers a free initial consultation to discuss your accident case.