Pedestrians and bicyclists are arguably the most vulnerable group of roadway users. They have very little protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them, which means it is crucial to regularly review safety tips. Regardless of whether you live in an urban area of Georgia or a more rural area, pedestrian and bicycle safety is paramount. Here, we want to review some common ways to prevent a bicycle or pedestrian accident as well as some of the basic laws in Georgia that you need to be aware of.
How to Prevent an Accident
There are various strategies that bicyclists and pedestrians can take to help ensure that they remain safe. This includes the following:
- Following all applicable bicycle and pedestrian laws in Georgia.
- Wearing brightly colored clothing to ensure visibility at all times of the day.
- Using lights or reflective clothing if bicycling or walking at night.
- Staying out of all vehicle blind spots because these are areas where a driver will not see a bicyclist or pedestrian.
- Staying alert and undistracted. This includes not staring at a cell phone or another device and not using earbuds that could prevent a person from hearing approaching danger.
- Never riding or walking while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Laws in Georgia
Bicycles are generally considered “full vehicles” when it comes to state law. This means that not only do bicyclists have to abide by all traffic laws when they are on the roadway, but motorists have to treat bicyclists with the same respect that they do other vehicles. Bicyclists must stop at appropriate stop signs and traffic signals, use appropriate hand signals when turning, and ride as near to the right of the roadway as is safe and practical. Bicyclists are required to travel in the same direction as the flow of traffic, even in bike lanes.
In Georgia, drivers must be cautious of pedestrians. Pedestrians are required to use appropriate crosswalks when they are available. This means stopping and waiting for a walk signal. If there is no crosswalk or signal, pedestrians should only cross the road when it is safe to do so. No pedestrian is allowed to leave the curb or other place of safety and dart out into traffic. Contrary to popular belief, jaywalking is not even mentioned in Georgia law, and it is usually perfectly legal to cross in areas where there are no crosswalks so long as pedestrians yield to traffic.
What to do in Case of an Accident
If you have been involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, there are various steps that you need to take in the immediate aftermath to ensure your well-being and to make sure that you receive the compensation you need. Briefly, these steps include the following:
- Wait for the police. It is crucial for law enforcement officials to come to the scene of any bicycle or pedestrian crash so they can conduct an investigation and determine liability.
- Seek immediate medical care. Any bicyclist or pedestrian involved in an accident must seek immediate medical care, even if they do not feel any pain after the incident.
- Gather information. If it is possible to do so at the scene of the crash, various types of evidence can be gathered. This can include the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses and the driver’s license number, as well as the insurance information of any driver involved. Additionally, those involved in these collisions should use a phone or another type of camera to take pictures of anything relevant, including vehicles involved, injuries, damage, traffic and weather conditions, causes of the crash, etc.
- Contact an attorney. A skilled Newnan pedestrian accident lawyer should be contacted as soon as possible after a collision occurs. An attorney can use their resources to fully investigate the incident and help injury victims secure the compensation they need.