While Savannah, GA is a wonderful city for cycling because of limited traffic and a relatively flat terrain, collisions with automobiles happen fairly frequently. One only has to look in the newspaper every couple of weeks to see that there has been some type of collision with a vehicle involving a cyclist. As an avid cyclist in Savannah, I can tell you that I far too often hear of accidents involving fellow cyclists, who may have a collision with a vehicle that results in a broken bone or could result in death.
The collision between a cyclist and a vehicle is about the same as between a pedestrian and a vehicle. While pedestrian accidents, nationwide, are far more common, that is only because pedestrians are far more common than bicyclists on our streets and bike lanes. Our law firm is dedicated to trying to increase awareness of the perils that cyclists face and to making drivers more aware that cyclists may be using the roadway and they need to pay attention.
In Georgia, you have to yield the right of way to a cyclist, which is generally about two feet from the edge of the road to the left. That is the right of way and you have to yield the right of way to pedestrians and cyclists, so as not to give rise to the danger of a collision. There are general safety zones that are usually marked, as far as a bike lane or a crosswalk, and these are spaces that are officially set apart from the roadway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and cyclists.
Nationwide, there is a movement called two yards, which is basically to give two yards of distance between your vehicle and any pedestrian or cyclist on the side of the road. We always ask that people give cyclists as much of a deference as they safely can when they are passing.
A big problem with cyclists is that automobile drivers are sometimes confused about how to respond to a cyclist in the roadway. For instance, cyclists who are able to move with the speed of traffic when traffic is moving at 10 to 15 miles an hour. The safest thing for the cyclist is to just remain in the line of traffic in front of the vehicle and behind another vehicle. It is actually safer to be there, as you’re more visible and you’re moving with traffic. That sometimes confuses drivers and they don’t know that they have to respect that cyclist the same as they would a motorcycle or automobile.
The biggest problem that we see in the cycling community is distracted driving. There is far more technology in your vehicle now than there used to be. Almost everyone uses some form of GPS device to see where they’re going. These are often on your phone or located somewhere on your dash. People are almost always using their cellphone while driving. Even if they’re using a hands-free device, evidence shows that they are still committing a lot of their attention span to that conversation and not what they’re seeing on the roadway. Distracted driving poses a special risk to cyclists because it’s very easy for someone who is using a cellphone or looking down at their dash and move over two feet to the curb, where a cyclist may be traveling.
Another common injury you see with cyclists is what we call getting doored. That is people exiting their vehicles and not looking to see if there is any traffic about to pass by their door. Cyclists are very often not in the middle of the road but to the right, using the area of the curb, so they’re much closer to the parked cars on the street. When a car is parked on the street and the driver goes to exit, and they’re not looking behind them, it’s very possible that they will open their door and the cyclist will run into the door because that is the part of the roadway that they are authorized to use.
For more information on Cycling Accidents In Chatham County, GA, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (706) 770-6669 today.