Bike lanes can help protect cyclists from injury.
Atlanta's new Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Cycle Track recently received national recognition for being one of the best bicycle infrastructure projects in the country.
Specifically, People For Bikes ranked the MLK Cycle Track the 14th best new bike lane in the country in 2023.
"The MLK (Cycle Track) is the centerpiece of a brand new protected bike grid that didn't exist a year ago and will soon connect downtown Atlanta to Mechanicsville, Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, and the BeltLine," wrote Jason Dozier, the District 4 Atlanta City Councilmember, according to an Urbanize Atlanta article about the People For Bikes recognition. "
What makes the MLK Cycle Track bike lane so special? Are there other bike lane improvement projects slated for Atlanta? And just how common are bicycle accidents in Atlanta and the rest of Georgia?
Our experienced Atlanta bicycle accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. explain.
Atlanta MLK Cycle Track enhances 'safety and accessibility in the city center'
Completed last fall, the two-way protected bicycle lane in downtown Atlanta was installed on the south side of MLK Drive between Forsyth Street and Capitol Avenue.
Protected bicycle lanes have a physical barrier between bicycle lanes and car lanes used by motorized vehicles. As a result, cyclists don't have to worry about being hit by a car while riding a bike.
The new bike lane enhances "safety and accessibility in the city center," according to People For Bikes.
The MLK Cycle Track was a collaboration between the City of Atlanta Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District.
The project first began in late 2022, according to Stacy Grolimund, senior project manager with Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, as quoted by People For Bikes.
Other future Atlanta bike lane projects
Atlanta cyclists who are eager for more bike lanes like the MLK Cycle Track will be pleased to know that other bicycle infrastructure projects are slated for the city in the future.
According to Atlanta officials interviewed by People For Bikes, the MLK Cycle Track "project is part of a more extensive planned network that will ultimately provide direct access to State Farm Arena, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Georgia World Congress Center, and westside neighborhoods like Vine City."
Bicycle accidents in Atlanta and Georgia
Bicycle accidents are an all-too-common occurrence in Atlanta and across Georgia. Shockingly, in 2019 alone, 17 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in Atlanta involved bicyclists and pedestrians, as reported by Ride Safe Georgia.
Statewide statistics paint an equally concerning picture, with an average of 22 bicyclists losing their lives each year in fatal accidents across Georgia, based on data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2012 to 2021.
Why do bicycle accidents happen?
Bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles can occur due to various factors, with drivers often responsible for these collisions. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents involving being struck by a car include:
- Distracted drivers: Drivers not paying attention to the road, particularly if they are distracted by activities such as texting while driving or using their mobile phones, put everyone on the road at risk.
- Speeding drivers: Motorists traveling at excessive speeds may not have adequate time to stop or avoid colliding with cyclists, especially when sudden maneuvers are necessary.
- Aggressive drivers: Some drivers exhibit aggressive behavior and may not share the road safely with cyclists, leading to hazardous situations and potential accidents.
- Drunk drivers: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time, significantly increasing the risk of accidents involving cyclists and other road users.
- Violating traffic laws: Drivers who disregard traffic signals, such as running red lights or failing to stop at stop signs, pose a significant threat to pedestrians and cyclists, particularly at intersections where such collisions commonly occur.
Types of bicycle accidents
Bicycle accidents can occur in various scenarios, but certain situations pose a particularly high risk to cyclists:
- Right hook: This type of accident occurs when a driver turns right without noticing a cyclist traveling alongside them on the right side. At intersections, the cyclist may continue straight while the vehicle turns, resulting in a collision.
- Left/right cross collision: These accidents happen when a vehicle turns left or right across the path of an oncoming cyclist. Failure to maintain an appropriate speed and distance from cyclists can lead to collisions at intersections or junctions.
- Changing lanes without looking: Cyclists are vulnerable to accidents when drivers change lanes without checking their blind spots. If a cyclist is in the driver's blind spot, they may be struck suddenly during the lane change.
- Failing to yield: Accidents occur when drivers neglect to yield the right of way to cyclists, especially at intersections and crosswalks.
- Driving too close to the bike lane: Close proximity to the bike lane or designated cycling areas increases the risk of collisions. This may force cyclists off the road or result in sideswipe accidents if there is insufficient space for both vehicles and bicycles.
Our bicycle accident attorneys fight for injured cyclists
You might assume you don't need a bicycle accident lawyer to recover your losses if a driver hits you or a loved one while riding a bike in Atlanta, especially if the driver was clearly at fault.
However, navigating the aftermath of a bicycle accident involving injuries can quickly become complex. Often, the responsible driver denies liability, or their insurance company shifts the blame onto the cyclist.
Whatever the circumstances of your case, our Atlanta bicycle accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. can help you find the best way forward. We know the laws that apply to bicycle accidents in Georgia. We know which legal strategies can be the most effective. That's why we have such a strong track record of success.
Our case results speak for themselves. Since our law firm was founded in 1993, we have recovered more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for Georgia families. If you've been injured, get the Atlanta law firm that Georgia trusts. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation to see how an Atlanta bicycle accident attorney can help you.