Officials in Georgia are concerned about an increase in the number of fatalities from bicycle accidents. They say that 18 bicyclists were killed last year, up 28 percent from the previous year. More than 500 were injured and there were 47 cases of hit-and-run accidents involving cyclists. Authorities say that the rise in the number of deaths is probably due to an increase in bicycle use. They expect the increasing popularity of cycling to continue as an alternative form of transportation that is healthy, cheap and good for the environment.
Georgia passed legislation a few years ago in an attempt to make the roads safer for bicyclists. One provision requires that motorists leave at least three feet of space between the car and bicycle when passing. Bicyclists, in turn, are required to ride as close as possible to the right side of the road and if riding at night, to use headlights and a rear reflector.
In 11 of the 18 cases of bicycle fatalities in 2012, the cyclist was deemed at fault due to violations such as running red lights or cycling at night without the proper night gear. In the other seven cases, however, motorists were apparently to blame. At least one was charged with vehicular homicide.
Motorcycle accidents are also of concern. While cars have an “external skeleton” that protects the driver and passengers in a crash, motorcyclists and bicyclists are exposed in the event of a collision.
In some cases, severe injury or death is the result of driver negligence or distracted driving. Personal injury lawyers try to help the victims of these accidents, who often face loss of income or medical bills.
Source: Times-Herald, “Fatalities Rise For Bicyclists In Georgia,” Sarah Fay Campbell, June 16, 2013