Do Motor Vehicle Drivers Have Legal Obligations to Bicyclists?


All too often in Atlanta, careful bicyclists are involved in bicycle accidents due to the negligence of a motor vehicle driver. There is little in terms of safety equipment on a bicycle to protect a rider during an accident; there are no seatbelts, no airbags, and no walls to shield the bicyclist during an impact. Since bicyclists are substantially more vulnerable to harm than the occupant of vehicle, bicyclists often suffer significant injuries when they are hit by a negligent driver of a motor vehicle. Anyone who has been injured in a bicycle accident needs to speak to an experienced Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible about his or her particular situation, injuries, and how to obtain financial compensation.

Do Motor Vehicle Drivers Have Legal Obligations to Bicyclists?

Any bicycle accident attorney in Atlanta can tell you that motor vehicle drivers owe a legal duty of care to bicyclists. To say this another way, motor vehicle drivers have legal obligations when it comes to how they treat the bicyclist who share the roads with them. When motor vehicle drivers act negligently and do not provide bicyclists with the respect that they deserve, bicyclists are the ones who get injured and their personal injuries are often severe.

For all intents and purposes, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle under Georgia law, and as such, bicyclists are entitled to the same legal rights and responsibilities that motor vehicles operators have to other drivers when on public roads. Bicyclists must adhere to all the rules of the road by which motor vehicle operators regularly abide, and if a bicyclist violates a traffic law, he or she will be subject to the same penalties as motor vehicle drivers. However, bicyclists that violate traffic laws will not have their driving privileges penalized for breaking traffic laws while on a bicycle.

On the other side of that coin, motor vehicle operators have an obligation to treat bicyclist as they would treat any other motor vehicle sharing the roadway. This means that motor vehicle operators need to be on the lookout for bicyclists and need to treat them appropriately as per traffic law. For instance, motor vehicle drivers are required by law to provide any bicyclist who is riding on the roadway with at least three feet of safe passing distance when overtaking the bicyclist. When a motor vehicle operator gets too close to a bicyclist on the roadway, it can result in an aggressive driving charge, which is a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature in Georgia.

When You Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney in Atlanta

When bicyclists are involved in accidents in Georgia, they need the help of a skilled Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer to ensure that they get the justice that they deserve from the negligent driver who injured them. Feel free to contact a bicycle accident attorney serving Atlanta at The Angell Law Firm please feel free to call (770) 217-4954 today for a free consultation today.

(image courtesy of Chris Becker)