Bicycle accidents can occur anywhere in Augusta, but some roads are notorious for their dangerous traffic conditions. For instance, Peach Orchard and Tobacco roads see their share fair of traffic accidents, most notably, a recent fatal motorcycle collision.
Riding at night is also particularly risky for cyclists. Knowing where bike accidents can happen in Augusta, avoiding common pitfalls, and being alert can prevent collisions. If you are hurt, you can consult a bicycle accident attorney about your losses and find ways to recover compensation.
Dangerous Roads in Augusta for Accidents
Although any road is dangerous road for bicyclists, motorists, or pedestrians if someone does not practice defensive driving, some Augusta roadways are more prone to accidents than others.
These roads include:
- Deans Bridge Road
- Gordon Highway
- Peach Orchard Road
- Mike Padgett Highway
Mike Padgett Highway in particular is known for accidents of all kinds, including a recent fatal bicycle accident, according to WRDW News. WRDW even reports that Augusta locals call the road the Mike Padgett “Die-way,” because collisions are so prevalent. Poor lighting is also cited as a contributing factor, making cyclists and pedestrians hard to see.
Similarly, residents have complained about lacking traffic signals on Peach Orchard Road, which 31,500 vehicles travel daily, according to Fox 54 News. Many intersections along the road have seen crashes as a result.
What Types of Places Are Prone to Bicycle Accidents in Augusta?
Aside from certain roadways, bicycle accidents in Augusta frequently:
Happen In Poorly Lit Areas
As noted, Mike Padgett Highway is often singled out as a dangerous road due to its lack of lighting and visibility. This makes it especially dangerous for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists poor visibility as a contributing factor in many bike accidents.
Georgia law notes that all motorists must use their headlights under certain conditions. For instance, a motorist must use their headlights after sunset and before sunrise. Failing to use their headlights and striking a bicyclist could make a motorist liable for any resulting damages. It could also make them non-compliant with state law, warranting other penalties, such as fines.
Occur at Intersections
The CDC notes that most bicycle accidents happen at intersections. The density of traffic, combined with moving vehicles, puts bicyclists at risk. Still, motorists must do everything in their power to prevent accidents, including those involving cyclists.
If a motorist’s negligence causes an accident, they could bear financial liability for the injured party’s damages. Alternatively, if poor roadway conditions caused a crash, the injured party could sue the agency responsible for maintaining the street.
Involve Intoxicated Drivers
Georgia law outlaws drunk driving—and for a good reason: it increases the risk of traffic accidents. The CDC notes that nearly one-third of all bicycle accidents involve intoxicated motorists. When someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds .08 percent, the law considers them legally intoxicated.
All motorists must drive with clear physical and cognitive facilities. Failure could constitute negligence.
Other Reasons Why Bicycle Accidents Happen in Augusta
According to the Augusta Chronicle, fatalities on Georgia’s roads have increased, with recent annual statistics listing 32 fatal bicycle accidents. The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety listed Richmond County as one of the top 10 counties for traffic accident fatalities.
In addition to the risk factors listed above, some elements that can also increase bicycle accident injuries and fatalities include:
- Failing to yield
- Making illegal or improper turns
- Failing to look before changing lanes
- Running traffic lights or stop signs
- Ignoring other signs and signals
- Failing to adapt to road conditions
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Driving while distracted
- Driving while impaired
The CDC, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and even local Augusta news stations list the latter three as particularly dangerous road behaviors.
Distracted Drivers Don’t See Bicyclists
All motorists must keep their full attention on driving. Even taking their eyes off the road for a few seconds can increase the risk of a serious collision. The NHTSA points out that a vehicle traveling 55 miles per hour can drive the length of a football field in just five seconds.
For these reasons, Georgia law restricts certain forms of distracted driving, such as texting behind the wheel.
Distracted driving also includes:
- Using social media
- Changing the car’s music
- Looking at a GPS
- Operating a rideshare app
- Applying makeup
- Talking to others in the vehicle
All of these seem like harmless behaviors, but they put bicyclists, as well as others on the road, at risk of serious injuries. Negligence can form the basis of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, with attorneys using witness testimony, phone and text records, social media posts, and other evidence to demonstrate the at-fault driver’s liability.
Speeding Is Especially Egregious in Augusta
The higher a vehicle’s speed, the higher the damages can be in an accident. Bicycle accidents can happen in parts of Augusta where drivers do not heed the speed limit.
Furthermore, negligent speeding is more than just going over the speed limit.
Failure to slow down can also constitute negligence in:
- Heavy traffic or slow-moving traffic
- Construction zones that require motorists to slow down
- A school zone with children present
- A pre-existing accident zone that compels motorists to drive with caution
- Poor weather conditions that impair a roadway’s visibility
Bicycle Accidents in Augusta Can Cause These Conditions
Depending on the severity of an accident, bicycle accident victims can suffer:
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Facial injuries
- Dental damage
- Internal injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Mayo Clinic also lists bicycle accidents as a common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can completely disrupt a person’s life, affecting their mood, sleep, motor skills, and communication abilities. TBIs and spinal cord injuries can leave victims requiring constant assistance in daily tasks, perhaps for the rest of their lives.
You can include the cost of medical care and necessary in-home assistance in your compensation claim. You can also pursue the cost of anything you spent out of pocket to accommodate your condition.
You Have Options as an Injured Claimant in Augusta
Here’s what you should know about pursuing legal action after a collision:
Another Party Could Hold Liability for Your Losses
As an injured bicyclist, you have the right to hold another party accountable for your losses.
The financially responsible party in your case may include:
- A motorist. The NHTSA reports that most car accidents result from drivers’ negligence. More likely than not, if a driver hit you, they should pay for your losses.
- A government agency. All government agencies must maintain public roadways. This includes repaving roads, keeping areas well-lit, and filling potholes.
- A product manufacturer. Sometimes, a car’s defective parts can cause an accident. For instance, faulty brakes can prevent someone from stopping in time to prevent a collision. In that instance, the injured party could file a product liability claim against the parts manufacturer.
Sometimes, more than one party could hold liability for an injured claimant’s losses. In that situation, managing communications between multiple parties can get complicated. In that instance, it could benefit you to partner with a lawyer. They can field all communications from those involved in your case and pursue the damages you need.
You Could Resolve Your Case Through an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
All motorists in Georgia must carry liability insurance. So, after being struck on your bicycle, you could file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. Many personal injury cases resolve through insurance negotiations. However, if yours doesn’t, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
You generally have two years to file a lawsuit following your traffic accident. However, some exceptions could give you more or less time to act. Again, by working with a lawyer, you can file your case within the appropriate deadline and take action that benefits your case.
You Could Qualify for Damages Following an Augusta Bike Accident
A bicycle accident can transform your quality of life, affecting your career, plans for the future, and relationships with loved ones.
The law allows you to seek compensation for your economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost income, including side income and tips
- Reduced quality of life
- Property damage costs, such as the cost of replacing your bicycle
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Scarring and disability
- Reduced future earning capacity
Depending on your situation, you could also recoup damages following your loved one’s fatal bicycle accident. Compensable losses in that case could include funeral costs, burial fees, and other related expenses.
How Much You Can Recover Depends on Your Situation
Georgia does not limit how much you can seek following a bicycle accident in Augusta. Yet, how much you can recover depends on your situation. There is no one-size-fits-all settlement value for bicycle accident cases.
When calculating your compensable losses, including pain and suffering, your lawyer may consider:
- Your missed time from work
- The loss of independence
- The severity of your condition
- Changes to your personal life
- Negative effects on your relationships
- Chronic pain
- The development of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Experiencing a bicycle accident and then suffering through the trauma of an injury and treatment can have a profound effect on your quality of life. You may even find yourself afraid to go near the street where your bike accident happened in Augusta.
This personal fallout, on top of the medical losses you suffered, is compensable through a personal injury claim or lawsuit following a bicycle accident. Your attorney can walk you through the claims process from beginning to end.
Why Partner With an Augusta Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
You don’t have to manage the claims process in the aftermath of a bicycle accident alone. As noted, you can entrust your case to a legal professional who can seek compensation for your losses.
To advance and resolve your case, they can help you by:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Obtaining the police report
- Reconstructing your accident with the help of field experts
- Reviewing your medical records
- Reviewing the liable insurance policy’s terms
- Filing your insurance claim
- Gathering supporting evidence
- Conducting negotiations
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary
- Strategizing a court case
You Could Secure Legal Help on a Contingency-Fee Basis
The aftermath of a bicycle accident can cost thousands of dollars. You may have concerns about affording legal help while juggling medical bills and missed time from work.
You may find solace in that many lawyers work on contingency.
In this arrangement:
- You don’t pay hourly rates to secure a lawyer’s help.
- A lawyer doesn’t charge anything until your case ends.
- A portion of your settlement pays for your lawyer’s time and insights.
Many lawyers also offer free case reviews where, at no obligation, you can learn about your options.
Make Augusta’s Roads Safer for Bicyclists – Speak Up for Your Rights
It doesn’t matter where your bike accident happened in Augusta. As an injured claimant, you have legal options when it comes to seeking compensation. As you consider your legal options, arm yourself with knowledge, pay attention to risk factors, and stand up if you are hurt. And you can connect with the law firm in Augusta.
Taking legal action following a bicycle accident can help improve Georgia’s roads for others, highlighting common problems and ensuring they don’t affect others. Too often, others view bicyclists as secondary to drivers. Yet, by knowing your rights, you can fight for financial recovery and justice.