Cycling is a popular recreational pursuit for some and a serious business for others. With more cyclists than ever on the road, bicycle accidents can happen when cyclists and motorists are sharing the same roadways. In 2012, 33,561 bicycle accidents across the nation resulted in 726 fatalities, accounting for two percent of all traffic fatalities that year. In Georgia alone, bicycle accidents were on the rise, increasing 28 percent in 2012 over the previous year. If you are involved in a bicycle accident, you should keep your wits about you and concentrate on taking these important steps.
Follow Traffic Laws
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Following Georgia traffic laws can help prevent serious injury down the road. When cycling, keep these rules of the road in mind:
- Your bicycle is considered to be a vehicle under Georgia law. You must follow all rules regarding stop signs, lights, etc., just as you would if you were driving your vehicle.
- If cycling at night, ensure that your bicycle has proper headlights, taillights, and reflectors to increase your visibility.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Bicyclists are required to keep to the side of the road.
By following appropriate laws, you not only significantly reduce the possibility of a serious accident, but also reduce or eliminate your fault if an accident should occur.
Call the Police
If an accident occurs, even if damage seems minimal or nonexistent, call the police and wait at the scene for them to arrive. They will create a police report which is an important record of damage, injuries, events and information about the parties involved. Make certain that you give the responding officers as much detail as possible. This record may be important in the future if you have sustained injuries as a result of the accident.
Collect Driver and Witness Data
The police report may not contain contact information for the driver and the bystanders. Gather this information yourself in case you need it down the road. Full names, addresses and phone numbers are essential.
Seek Medical Attention
You may feel fine immediately after the accident. Your mind and body may be in shock, leaving you unaware of potential injury or duress. Seek immediate medical attention, for medical records are important documentation of an accident and the extent of the injuries sustained as a result.
Preserve the Evidence from the Crash
Do not dispose of or wash anything related to the accident including your helmet or clothing. Do not relinquish possession of your bicycle to anyone other than your lawyer or have it repaired after the accident.
Obtain Professional Help
Bicycle accidents can involve complicated legal matters. Should you find yourself in need of a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, contact us at McAleer Law to discuss your case. We are experienced personal injury attorneys in Atlanta and Decatur who will work to obtain the best outcome possible in your case.