May is National Bike Month, which is a time to highlight biking safety and the benefits of bicycling. With the recent scare of a gasoline shortage in Georgia, it is the perfect time to encourage people to give cycling a try.
The week of May 17-23 is “Bike to Work Week.” While biking to work might help with gas shortages, there is still a concern for safety when it comes to biking around traffic.
Knowing the streets and areas where it is safest to ride in your community can reduce the likelihood of a bicycle accident and injury. For Maconites, the organization Bike Walk Macon is leading the way to help make biking and walking safer. They are educating the public, organizing community events, and providing information about how and where to bike safely. I would encourage everyone to visit their online Macon Bike Map here. It provides a list of streets in Macon that have Bike Lanes, Sharrows, Biking Trails, and areas for Bike Parking.
Safety Tips for Drivers Sharing the Road with Bicycles
Bike Lanes: Most drivers know what a bike lane is – it is a reserved lane with the painted picture of a bike, with or without a diamond shape above it. Bike lanes in Georgia are for the exclusive use of bicyclists. Motor vehicle drivers must yield to a bicyclist within a bike lane on a roadway.
Sharrows: Most drivers have probably driven in sharrow lanes but may not understand how they are used. A Sharrow (share + arrow) looks like a bike lane without being a bike lane, which can cause confusion for drivers. Like a bike lane, it is a painted road marking, but it has two chevrons (inverted V-shapes) above the bicycle. Unlike traditional bike lanes, it is not reserved exclusively for bikes. Instead, it is intended to alert vehicle drivers that they may be sharing the roadway with cyclists and that the cyclists have the same rights as them.
For cyclists, sharrows point to where the recommended bike routes go, it helps them avoid wrong-way riding, and it positions cyclists away from dangerous situations, such as storm drains, people opening car doors, and vehicles passing too closely. Sharrows are a good alternative when a street is too narrow to accommodate a separate bike lane.
Rules and Safety Tips for Cyclists Sharing the Road with Vehicles
Bicycles are considered vehicles and therefore subject to the same rules and laws that cars are:
- Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic, not against it.
- They are required to stop for traffic lights and stop signs.
- Are not allowed to ride on sidewalks if over the age of 12.
- Should use hand signals to alert drivers where they are going.
- Should ride in a straight line unless they are turning.
Safe and Legal Biking Information:
- Wear a Helmet – it is required by law if 16 or younger.
- Install Bike Lights – Required in Georgia if in low visibility (a white front light and red back light or reflector)
- Use a Bike Lock – Suggested to keep your bike from being stolen. Make sure to secure the lock to the rack and through the bike’s frame triangle and wheel.
- Do a Bike-Check before riding – check tire pressure, ensure brakes are working, that the chain is running smoothly, and the quick release lever is pulled closed.
- Recommended – Carry a Cell Phone, Identification & Emergency Contact Information.
If Involved in a Bike Crash
- Call 911– it should be reported to the police just as a car accident would. The police report is documentation about the details of the incident.
- Record the names & numbers of witnesses.
- Take pictures of the crash scene & surrounding area. If safe to do so, leave your bike undisturbed so the responding office can see its condition.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you have been injured. Make sure to provide details of your complaint to medical personnel.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Georgia
Unlike occupants of a motor vehicle, cyclists are not protected by a steel cage, seat belts, or airbags. Because of their exposure, cyclists are more likely to suffer serious injury if involved in a crash. If you have been injured in a bike accident in Georgia, contact a bicycle accident lawyer at Gautreaux Law. We have the experience and resources to investigate bicycle crashes and get you fully compensated for your injuries. 478-238-9758 or 888-876-6935.