Whether cycling for pleasure or as an alternative to traditional vehicle commuting, operating a bike on public roads presents a specific set of challenges and hazards. As gasoline prices rise and more commuters turn to low-cost and ecologically harmonious forms of travel, the focus on road safety for bicyclists has increased. When traveling on roads, whether operating a car or bike, operators are entitled to safe and passable roadways, with sufficient warning of damage or other unsafe conditions. In the absence of this level of care on the part of the town or city, serious accidents can occur.
Accidents Related to Potholes:
Potholes are a fact of life for most drivers and cyclists and are especially dangerous to those using two-wheeled forms of transportation, and must be swiftly and thoroughly eliminated to avoid injury and accidents. In the event a cyclist is injured due to a pothole caused by insufficient street repair, they may have recourse for a claim. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the town created unsafe road conditions by incorrectly or insufficiently repairing road damage, or by failing to give sufficient warning of dangerous conditions to cyclists and motorists. In the presence of these conditions, the cyclist may be entitled to compensation in the event of injury.
Accidents Related to Railroad Tracks:
Obstructions such as railroad tracks pose a similar threat to cyclists. Railroad tracks, often abandoned when their use is no longer required, must be covered or situated in such a way that their presence does not pose a risk to travelers. Railroad tracks that run in the same direction as traffic must be covered in order to prevent tires from becoming lodged in the space created by the track and road. If the tracks are still in use, signage must be placed to alert travelers to dangerous conditions.
Accidents Related to Sewer Grates:
For similar reasons, sewer grates must not run parallel to traffic. Sewer grates that do pose a risk must be secured by cross grates or other protective measures to ensure that cyclists can safely navigate the public roadway without fear of being thrown from the bike or diverted into traffic.
Who Is Responsible for the Bike Accident?
In all the above cases, the town or municipality is responsible for creating a safe commuting environment for all travelers, including those commuting on two wheels. Should a cyclist be involved in an accident due to the negligence of the government body or entity responsible for road maintenance, they must pursue a claim in order to be compensated for any medical expenses or other damages they may incur as a result of the negligence.
What to Do After You’ve Been in a Bike Accident:
In the event you are injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to follow the same procedures as a motorist this includes:
Talking to a police officer at the scene of the accident (especially if the accident involves another motorist or commuter) and having your version of events documented.
- Take pictures at the scene of the accident.
- Do not make repairs to your damaged bicycle until such time as it is no longer needed as evidence.
- Maintain any other evidence, i.e. clothing items.
- Report to a physician or emergency room to have any injuries treated and documented.
Ty Wilson is an Atlanta bike accident lawyer | Savannah bike accident lawyer who is dedicated to helping the injured and the families of the injured. He provides lots of free information on his website and with this books and reports. Call his office at 1-866-937-5454 to order or just visit www.tywilsonlaw.com.