Safety Tips for Bicycle Riding on Georgia Roadways
In April, a University of Georgia professor was killed when a pick-up truck rammed her from behind, tossing her and her bicycle across the road. The bicyclist was doing everything right and was following the rules of the road.
In May, a motorcycle tried to pass a bicyclist just as the bicyclist was turning left. Even though the bicyclist had the right-of-way, had signaled, and was doing everything correctly, the motorcyclist crashed into the bicyclist, landing them both in the hospital with serious injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day in the U.S., approximately three bicyclists are killed and another 467,000 are injured. If you are a bicyclist on Georgia roads, there are measures you can take that will increase your chances of enjoying a safe ride.
Safety Tips for Bicycle Riders
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety provides a checklist for all bicyclists and advises them to make sure their bicycle itself is safe to ride. This includes checking everything from the handlebars to the tires. Once you know that your bicycle is safe to ride, the NHTSA provides these other tips for making your bicycle ride a pleasant one with low risks:
- Be sure the bicycle fits. A bike that is too big is hard to control.
- Wear a helmet. Georgia law does not require this of riders over the age of 16. But, even though not legally required, it is one of the best protections against traumatic brain injuries. The helmet must be fitted and worn correctly. The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has a video you can watch, and it also provides written instructions, so that you can choose a helmet that will property fit.
- Be prepared. Before you take off, be sure your shoe laces are tied and not flopping around. Fix your pant legs so they will stay out of the bicycle chain. All items you are taking with you should be strapped to the bike securely or in a backpack. Tie your long hair back so it will not blow into your face.
- Plan your route. Choose a route that you know will have fewer cars traveling at slower speeds. If you can get there by riding on a bike lane or on a bike path, all the better.
- Follow the rules of the road. In Georgia, bicycles that are ridden on the roadway, or in a designated bicycle lane, are classified as vehicles. This means you must follow all the same rules as those who are driving cars including going with the flow of traffic, not against it; obeying all street signs and signals, and signaling when you are making a turn.
- Stay off of the sidewalk. If you are older than 12 years old, it is illegal for you to ride your bike on the sidewalk.
- Be visible. If you ride at night, use front and rear lights. Anytime you ride, wear bright or reflective colors.
- Ride defensively. Assume that motorists do not see you. There are a lot of distracted drivers on the road and a bicycle may be out of their line of vision.
- Don’t get distracted. Do not listen to music or talk on the phone while riding. You need to be alert not just with your eyes, but with your ears as well.
- Look ahead for hazards. Watch for potholes, debris in the road, train tracks, grates, or even pebbles. Be aware of cars backing out of driveways. Assume they cannot see you.
- Watch out for pedestrians. Provide a warning to a pedestrian by calling out “on your left” just before and while passing.
You can download a copy of the Georgia Bike’s publication “Bicyclist Pocket Guide.” This gives you an overview of all the Georgia laws applicable to bicycling on roadways, bike lanes, or bike paths. It also tells you what to do if the unfortunate thing happens and you are in a bicycle crash, or if you come upon another bicyclist who has just crashed.
Our Bicycle Injury Attorneys Can Help
No matter how safely you ride, and how closely you follow all the rules, you still may be injured in an accident when another vehicle driver is negligent and does not follow the rules of the road. When that happens, contact the bicycle injury attorneys at Georgia Trial Attorneys for a free consultation. We will help you receive compensation you deserve.