Bicycle Lane Accidents and City Liability

Holding the city accountable for bicycle lane accidents: Start your journey to justice and full compensation with Dressie Law Firm.

Navigating bicycle lane accidents and city liability can be tricky. Call us today so that we can offer you legal representation for fair compensation. webp to jpg (3) gif maker
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A Deeper Understanding of Bicycle Lane Accidents and City Liability

Georgia ranks 24th out of 50 on the League of American Cyclists list of bicycle-friendly states. While not ideal, the state has stepped up its efforts to promote its biking culture. We’re talking about everything from dedicated biking lanes to comprehensive litigation to protect cyclist’s rights. However, this hasn’t done much to prevent cycling accidents.

Georgia has seen an uptake in bicycle accidents, with a 150% increase from 2020 to 2021. Georgia considers bicycles as vehicles, so the same rules apply to bicycles as they would to a car or truck. The state’s city liability law also holds cities accountable for defective bike lanes leading to accidents. If you were injured in a bike lane accident, you may be eligible for compensation.

Navigating Georgia’s personal injury claims is easier said than done. Thankfully, Dressie Law Firm can help you file your claim and fight for you to bring you justice. We have handled countless personal injury lawsuits and claims and recovered over $30,000,000. We can help you, too.

If you have been injured in a bike accident, keep reading to learn more about bicycle lane accidents and when the city can be liable. For personalized legal guidance 

    Understanding Bicycle Lane Accidents

    Bicycle lane accidents encompass any accidents that occur within designated bike lanes, including:

    • Bike colliding with one or more motor vehicles

    • Bicycle riders colliding with each other

    • Motorists opening their doors into the pathway of cyclists

    • Cyclist collisions with pedestrian

    • Bicycle accidents caused by poorly maintained infrastructure

    The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) has extensively researched bicycle accidents in the country. Their 2019 Safety Research Report sheds light on the worrying trend of bicycle accidents in the country. It also addresses other emerging issues relevant to bicycle accidents.

    According to the report, cyclist fatalities have been mostly increasing since 2010, save from a tiny dip in 2014 and 2017. By 2016, the NTSB registered 0.26 fatalities for every 100,000 people, accounting for 2.3% (852 of 37,806) of all traffic fatalities. In 2018, the number climbed to 857, but out of 36,560 fatalities, meaning the fatality rate remained at 2.3%. 2021 to 2022 saw the highest jump, a 1.9% increase from 948 in 2021 to 966 in 2022.

    Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Georgia

    Despite being a convenient form of transportation and a great exercise, bicycles offer no external protection. As such, accidents involving bicycles often result in serious injuries and sometimes death to the biker. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in Georgia include:

    Distracted Driving

    Drivers who don’t keep their eyes on the road will likely collide with other cars, pedestrians, and passing cyclists. Most distracted driving cases occur due to texting or fidgeting with the navigation system.

    Small cars can weigh more than ten times the weight of a bicycle plus its rider, so even minor sideswipes can lead to severe injuries.

    Driver Error

    Sometimes, cycling accidents occur just because drivers don’t notice cyclists on the road. Maybe the cyclist is inconspicuous, or the driver is too focused on the road ahead. In some cases, driver error occurs because the driver is tired and accidentally turns into the cyclist’s pathway.

    Inadequate Bicycle Lanes:

    Narrow or poorly designed bicycle lanes may expose cyclists to vehicular traffic, increasing the risk of collisions. Potholes, cracks, or uneven road surfaces can also lead to loss of control, falls, and serious injuries for cyclists.

    Bicycle Defects

    Faulty bicycle components are another cause of bicycle crashes in Georgia. For instance, having handlebars that are too tight compromises the bicycle’s control. Faulty brakes are another common reason for bicycle accidents. Regular maintenance and inspections can mitigate against such accidents.

    City Liability in Bicycle Lane Accidents

    Liability refers to legal responsibility for an event or action that causes harm or damage. For bicycle accidents, the liable party is the one who caused the accident. This is usually the violating driver. However, sometimes, the city may be liable for cycling accidents in certain cases.

    The city plays a crucial role in mitigating bicycle accidents. The law dictates that cities maintain and improve transport infrastructure for public safety. For bicycles, this means creating well-designed and properly marked designated bike lanes. It also means separated paths and cycling-friendly intersections. Providing cyclists with dedicated spaces encourages responsible biking.

    Failure to fulfill their duties of providing and maintaining safe bicycle lanes may lead to accidents. In such cases, the city would be liable. The Georgia Tort Claims Act of 1992 allows residents to sue a local government in certain situations. For bicycle lane accidents, you can sue the city if:

    • You got injured in a bicycle accident because of defective or inadequate bicycle lanes.

    • The city failed to perform its duties in maintaining bicycle lanes.

    However, determining liability isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. For starters, you only have six months from the date of your injury to file a claim against the city. Doing so is difficult when you’re recovering from your injuries.

    What’s more, establishing that the city owed a duty of care and determining the standard of care can be complex. There’s also the issue of proving the city’s negligence directly led to your accident. Your case falls flat if you can’t clearly connect the city’s conduct and the damage suffered.

    To establish negligence, you must prove the following elements:

    1. Duty of care: The city authorities owe you a duty of care using the bicycle lanes. This duty includes ensuring the safety and proper maintenance of these designated lanes.
    2. Breach of duty: The city failed to fulfill its duty of care, indicating a breach. This breach could involve inadequate maintenance, lack of proper signage, or failure to address known hazards within the bicycle lanes.
    3. Causation: The city’s breach of duty was a direct cause of the bicycle accident. This involves showing that the city’s actions or omissions were a substantial factor in the incident and that the harm was foreseeable.
    4. Damages: You suffered actual damages or injuries due to the city’s negligence. These damages may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, or property damage.

    Georgia follows the modified comparative negligence rule. This means that even when you might have contributed to the accident, you can still recover damages, provided you are not more than 49% at fault. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.

    Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident

    The steps you take after your bicycle accident are crucial in securing your personal injury claim. Here are a couple of steps to take after getting involved in a bicycle accident.

    Contact Emergency Services

    First, You’ll want to get out of harm’s way and contact emergency services. If you’re not too badly hurt, you can self-administer first aid while waiting for paramedics.

    Wait for the Police to Arrive

    The law requires you and the other party to remain at the scene until police arrive. Leaving the scene makes it more challenging to track down the at-fault party. It also raises eyebrows about who was indeed at fault.

    Don’t Accept Blame or Negotiate With the Motorist

    Resist the urge to negotiate with the motorist regardless of how profusely they apologize. Also, don’t accept blame at any point.

    Get the Other Driver’s Information

    Exchange information with the driver to keep in touch. Be sure to get their name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance policy number.

    Obtain Witness Information

    Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses around the scene. These witnesses will provide crucial evidence for advancing your claim.

    Take Photos and Videos of the Scene

    Use your smartphone to take photos or videos of the scene. Take photos of the vehicle that crashed into you, particularly the license plate. You’ll also want to take photos of your damaged bicycle, injuries sustained, and potholes, if applicable.

    Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

    Once you’ve gathered enough evidence, contact a personal injury attorney. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will provide legal advice on pursuing your claim. The lawyers at the Dressie Law Firm will assess the incident and initiate a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. That way, you stand a chance of receiving compensation for your damages.

    Safety Tips for Cyclists

    Cyclists can enhance their safety on the road by adopting responsible riding practices. Here are a couple of safety tips for cyclists:

    • Bike riders can stay conspicuous by wearing reflectors and having reflective stickers
    • Always wear a helmet and safety gear to reduce the risk of a severe injury should you crash
    • Cyclists and motorists should obey traffic laws and share the road responsibly
    • Use appropriate hand signals when turning and stopping to alert motorists and pedestrians
    • Regularly inspect and maintain your bicycle, specifically the brakes, tires, and handlebars
    • Ride straight and avoid sudden maneuvers, especially in busy sections

    Your Go-To Bicycle Accident Lawyer

    If you have been injured while riding on a bike lane, you may be able to hold the city accountable and recover damages. To do so, you must first prove the city’s negligence and file a personal injury claim. Let our bicycle accident lawyers at Dressie Law Firm help you.

    We have handled bicycle accident cases across Georgia and obtained favorable outcomes. Throughout our 20 years of representing personal injury victims in Atlanta and across the state, we recovered $30,000,00 in damages for our clients. If you are looking to obtain maximum compensation for your losses, Dressie Law Firm is who you should call.

    Contact Dressie Law Firm today so we can schedule a free consultation and initiate your claim as soon as possible. Fair compensation is your legal right!

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!