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Bicyclists face highest risks if involved in car accidents

Every time bicyclists take to the Georgia roads, they put their lives on the line. Even if they wear helmets, the lack of protection typically leaves cyclists severely injured or dead if they are involved in car accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 467,000 bicyclists were injured in crashes in 2015, and more than 1,000 lost their lives nationwide.

Statistics show that most bicycle-related deaths occur in the age group 50 to 59 years, while most of the nonfatal injuries happen to children and adolescents between five and 14 years old. They also report that more males than females are injured and killed in bicycle accidents, and most fatal bicycle accidents happen in urban areas, but not in intersections. Almost 40% of cyclist deaths involved alcohol impairment of either riders or vehicle operators.

Safety authorities say many lives can be saved if all bicyclists wear helmets. However, in Georgia, wearing a bicycle helmet is optional. Those older than 16 years can ride without helmets, and although state law requires riders up to age 16 to wear ANSI compliant helmets, no criminal penalties are in place for those who ride without them. Active lighting on bicycles and riders with reflective clothing are more visible and might be at a reduced risk of being struck by cars.

Unfortunately, many motorists have little tolerance for bicyclists, and many bicycles vs. car accidents involve negligent drivers. Injured victims of such accidents or the surviving families of those who lost their lives might have grounds to pursue claims for damage recovery through the Georgia civil justice system. An experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the legal proceedings to recover financial and emotional damages.