Whether you ride your bicycle for fitness or your child rides a bike to school, being a cyclist requires a certain level of safety awareness. Beyond just wearing a helmet, cyclists must be aware of their surroundings and oncoming cars and trucks if they hope to avoid a serious bicycle accident while on the road. Recently, Governor Nathan Deal released a statement reminding Georgians of the need to prevent cycling and pedestrian accidents, bringing attention to the responsibilities shared by drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.
Fatal and Serious Georgia Pedestrian Accidents
In 2012, an estimated 132 people died in pedestrian accidents in Georgia. That’s more than 1 in 10 of all traffic deaths. At 11%, it’s below the national average of 14%, according to the statement from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, but it’s still cause for concern.
Most of the accidents involving cars hitting bicyclists and pedestrians occur at night. Pedestrians and cyclists should wear reflective clothing, head lamps and make themselves as visible as possible to motorists.
In a recent year, 70% of pedestrian fatalities across the nation happened at night.
As a cyclist, if you do have to ride in the street, make sure you ride with the flow of traffic. A new law in the state requires vehicles to pass cyclists with at least 3 feet of clearance, though it isn’t clear whether or not drivers know about the new regulation.
Pedestrians should always be aware of where they cross a street, choosing a crosswalk whenever possible, and a lighted intersection over a dark area. Making eye contact with drivers before you cross ensures that they see you. Also, minimize distractions while you are walking, and make sure you can hear approaching traffic.
When a cyclist is hit by a car or when a pedestrian is involved in an accident, the driver of the vehicle often shoulders the blame. No matter who is at fault, collisions with cars can cause serious or fatal injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians. Prevention should be the top priority.
Georgia Bike Shop Owner Says “Safety is Inexpensive and Invaluable”
A blinking LED light for your bicycle costs less than $10. A reflective t-shirt can be found for a similarly low price. These items aren’t required by law, but they can significantly increase your visibility and make riding, walking, or jogging at night considerably safer.
According to WALB, bike shop owner Gene Kirk is one of many in the state who market safety as a top priority to their customers. He says his shop stresses the need for helmets, reflective gear, and overall safety to each of its customers.
Drivers should always be on the lookout for cyclists and pedestrians. After all, if someone is killed or seriously injured, there’s a good chance the accident was preventable. But cyclists and pedestrians also have a duty to stay alert, practice smart riding (or walking), and exercise caution.