Accident Reminds Us of Bicycle Safety

Cherokee County authorities identified a man killed in an accident between a bicycle and a van November 10 as Andres Martinez.

Martinez, a twenty-seven year old from Woodstock, was riding north on the sidewalk adjacent to the southbound lanes when he collided with a van turning right out of a parking lot. He died of head trauma. He was not wearing a helmet.

According to police spokesman Paul Brown, the driver of the van is not expected to face charges.

Martinez is one of the 700 or so people who die every year as a result of bicycle related injuries, according to the CDC. Another 500,000 or more people are treated yearly in emergency departments. Children under fifteen years of age account for 59 percent of these injuries, showing the young to be particular vulnerable in this regard, though adult cyclists such as Martinez are clearly also at risk.

It is important for both cyclists and motorists to remember bicycle safety, and to share to road with mutual respect and awareness. For cyclists, the stakes are especially high.

Cyclists should always protect themselves. Riders should always wear a helmet, and wear it correctly. The brain is fragile, and even a minor fall could potentially leave you with a serious, even life-threatening injury.

Beyond that, it is important to do everything within your power to make sure you can maintain control of your bicycle. Make sure your bicycle is the right size, and properly adjusted to fit you – this will make your bicycle both more comfortable, and less likely to escape control.

Never ride your bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Just as with driving a car, substances which impair your reaction time and decision making skills put you at greater risk of losing control and having an accident.

Be visible and alert.

Bright colors, lights and reflectors can do a great deal to improve your visibility to motorists, particularly in bad lighting. Yellow and lime green are good colors for riding, because they will not fade or lose their visibility in poor lighting. At night, or in fading light, red can appear black, and makes a poor choice for riding attire.

Even if you are obeying the traffic laws and do everything correctly, other drivers may not. As a cyclist, you are at greater risk of injury or death than the motorist. Be aware of them, and ready to stop or take evasive action if it becomes necessary.

Ride with traffic. This will make you more visible to drivers entering the road and changing lanes. While the driver of the van in this case ought to have been aware of Martinez, Martinez increased his chances of not being seen by being where he wasn’t expected to be.

Cyclists must obey STOP signs and traffic signals. Rushing through yellow lights may not give you time to clear the intersection before the light changes; respect them accordingly.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a careless driver while riding a bicycle, it is important to talk to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Call (404) 531-9700 to schedule your free consultation at MLN Law.