Bicycling is a popular activity in America not only as a competitive sport, but also as a recreational exercise and a means of transportation. In a busy city like Atlanta, where commuting is getting more expensive and time consuming each year, cycling offers an attractive alternative to hours of driving in heavy traffic.
Unfortunately, too many bicycle accidents involving motorized vehicles occur every year, and in many cases the accidents are preventable. As a cyclist, being involved in a collision with a motor vehicle can result in severe injuries such as compound fractures, severe muscle or tendon damage, head and spinal trauma, or death. That’s why a full 65% of cyclists report feeling unsafe while commuting, and their fears are not unfounded.
The hard facts
When cyclists are hit by motorists, the sheer mass of the vehicle often causes severe injury and death. According to data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, in 2017 pedalcyclist fatalities accounted for 2.1% of all motor vehicle accidents, and 75% happened in urban areas.
Sadly, alcohol was involved either for the motorist or the cyclist in 37% of the fatalities that year. A full 96% of pedalcyclists were killed in single vehicle accidents, and 82% of the time they were hit by the front of the vehicle.
Losing a loved one in a preventable bicycle accident
Although biking accidents in Georgia are lower than the national average, there are more cyclists on the road every year. Importantly, some parts of the city of Atlanta still do not have accommodations for bikers, such as bike lanes and buffered bikeways. Unfortunately, motor vehicular accidents involving cyclists are usually catastrophic, and often lead to death or severe injury.
Coping with the unexpected loss of a loved one involved in a tragic accident is difficult enough. If the accident was due to inattention, recklessness, elevated alcohol levels or other forms of negligence, it is possible for the family of the deceased to pursue a wrongful death claim. Although not a criminal proceeding, finding negligence on the part of the other party can result in a judgement that holds them financially responsible for the medical care, funeral expenses and even projected lifetime lost earnings of the deceased.
In Georgia, the immediate family can file a wrongful death claim within two years of your loved one’s death. Working with experienced counsel can help those families understand their legal options and pursue much needed compensation.