Articles Posted in Bicycle safety

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iStock_000001912776XSmall-300x207There has been a resurgence of bicycle riding in American cities for several years now. Bike lanes and share the road efforts have been underway literally in every state in our nation. The renown National Geographic magazine has been documenting some pretty amazing cycling in the past few years. In an article a couple of years ago, one writer asked, “Are Bikes the New Tour Bus?” The writer advocated that riding a bike is the best way to see a city. City riding is not the only cycling that has been on the rise in recent years. Longer cycling adventures, not just city riding or day rides, are also a big part of cycling in America.

One adventurous rider and writer for the NatGeo, decided to traverse our big country on the 40th anniversary of what is called the TransAmerica bike trail. As in the days of the first railroad, this trail crosses our big nation and was the great project of the Adventure Cycling Association several decades ago. This thriving nonprofit organization is on a mission to provide information and support to those wanting to ride just about anywhere in the United States. Not only do they provide maps and routes, they have guided tours that cyclists can join for a great riding experience.

If you are considering a long or a shorter ride, lots of information is available these days to make your ride more comfortable and safe. Bike riding on a long ride requires planning, but rest assured there are many others out there who have gathered lots of information for avid cyclists to review before getting out on a major ride.

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1214589454Q2B5aOFor those who have waited for the winter to end before taking their bicycles out, rest assured the weather will improve and more riders will be out in earnest soon. Whether you are an experienced rider or just got your first great bike and can’t wait to get out on the Georgia roads or trails, safety comes first. So what do experienced riders and responders recommend for those going out for the season? Here are some safety tips we collected from safety experts to keep your ride fun and injury-free.

Think safety before going out on your bike. The Centers for Disease Control has a list of preventative measures to protect your head. So, start at the top and make sure you protect against head injuries. These can occur when a rider falls. Even a fall that doesn’t cause other injuries and seems uneventful can turn out to be harmful or even deadly. Just as in skiing accidents, a rider can fall and have a brain bleed and not know it. So, if you are riding and fall and your helmet is damaged, that could be a sign that your head was hit harder than you think. And it is what happens inside your skull that is the worry. If you begin having a headache, that is a sign that your brain could be affected by the fall. Other issues that could signal a brain injury include blurred or impaired vision. You or a riding partner should contact 911 so that you can get checked out for injury.

Another area of concern in a fall are spinal issues. If you have experienced a fall and believe you might be injured do a couple of things to rule out your spine. Try to turn your head slowly to make sure you have normal range of motion. If you do not, stop moving your head and contact 911. If you have any numbness or tingling in your limbs, this could be a symptom of spinal injury so contact medical help.

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1214589454Q2B5aOIt is nearly summer in Atlanta and charming pale blue bikes are about to sweep across our city. Cyclists and cycling enthusiasts will be pleased to know that this week Atlanta joins other cities around the country in the bike share craze. Atlantans will have the opportunity to rent a bike any time we need one, just about. Today, Woodruff Park is the site of the opening. Initially, there will be ten locations around town at which the public can rent or return a bike. There will be 100 bikes in the program to start with. The intention is to increase the program later this year.

Other cities around the country have had bike share programs in place which are successful and well-received. The system is user-friendly. It merely requires establishing an account with Relay Bike Share and following the directions to establish a code. When a user rents a bike, he or she uses the code to unlock the bike. Reservations can be made for a bike and returned to the various locations available at the present time.

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Thumbnail image for 1214589454Q2B5aO.jpgIn addition to the great exercise and community that we can share while riding bikes in Georgia, we also share a high priority on rider safety. Making sure that the equipment you are using, from your bike to all the other things you might need, are safe and sound is step one in getting out to ride this season. This is the second in a series on getting ready to bike in Georgia.

In my work as a Gwinnett County bicycle injury lawyer, I know first hand what happens when something goes wrong on an outing that should be a wonderful experience. So, let’s take a little time to make sure that you have what you need.

First, your bike. Amazingly, some people do not realize the importance of checking out your bike every season. It is very important that you and your family ride bikes that are correctly fit for each person. Fit requires the ability to not only straddle your bike while you are standing, but to ensure that bike, be sure you can straddle your frame while standing. There are several other key fit tests that you will need to make sure bikes fit their riders, so best bet is to go to a bike shop that can check measurements and ensure the correct fit.

Once you have your bike and you know it’s a great fit, it is important to make sure it is working properly. Before you start riding this season have someone with knowledge, if you don’t have that knowledge yourself, check out your bike.

Obviously, one of the most important areas of mechanical safety for you as a rider is your brakes. You need to be able to stop quickly. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated mandates how your bicycle brakes should function. OCGA section 40-6-296 (b) states that “[e]very bicycle sold or operated shall be equipped with a
brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level pavement.” It is a good idea to test your bike’s functioning in this regard and make sure you can come to a skidded stop on dry pavement that is level. If necessary, replace your brake cables and your brake pads. These can become worn and make braking more difficult and therefore, put you and others at risk.

Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Checking the tire pressure on a very regular basis will help eliminate issues with your tires.

It is crucial that you make sure to wear a helmet when you ride your bike. Many many serious head and brain injuries occur in the absence of a helmet. Helmets cut down the likelihood of these injuries in very significant numbers. Helmets are required to meet certain safety standards and you want one that has the approval of consumer agencies. Make sure your helmet has a Consumer Product Safety Commission, ASTM, or Snell sticker.

Helmet use is so important that Georgia law also requires them in certain circumstances. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-296 (e)(1), states that “[n]o person under the age of 16 years shall operate or be a passenger on a bicycle on a highway, bicycle path, or sidewalk under the jurisdiction or control of this state or any local political subdivision thereof without wearing a bicycle helmet.” The fit of your helmet is also very important. The helmet needs to be a bit snug. It also should be no more than an inch above your eyebrows to best protect you in the event of an accident.

Another area of mechanical safety is your bike’s gears. Make sure they are adjusted properly in general and particularly since our roads can be hilly in parts of Georgia.

Next post we will continue to share things you need to know about cycling in Georgia from the law to your emergency equipment. Until then, please ride safely!!!

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bicycles on georgia roadGeorgians know that our state is a fabulous place for cycling. Our great climate gives us more options to ride throughout the year. And we also enjoy terrain that includes both mountainous regions in the north and flat coastal regions in the south. But as a Georgia bicycle accident lawyer, I am also very aware that there is a great deal to know about safe biking before we get on the road. And now that we are full-swing into the best seasons of the year, I wanted to provide a series of posts about biking in our state.

Georgians are fortunate to have so many cycling opportunities — and here are only a few. Only last month, Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) brought cyclists together for a great ride and lots of fun in the Spring Tune-Up ride. Next month, BRAG brings on one of the greatest cross-state tours in the United States. This “annual odyssey of discovery” takes riders across Georgia by bicycle and is a family-oriented tour in which riders travel their own pace, but on a route set by BRAG’s experts. Riders stay in tents on college campuses or in motels along the route. Tour de Georgia is also a multi-day stage race which brings in a field of professional racers from all over the globe. Yet another fun cycling event is the Rock Eagle Ramble which spans a total of 62 miles, but can also be ridden in smaller increments.

Georgia has many cycling enthusiasts and local organizations that support riding and riders. Even our Georgia Department of Transportation gets into the Georgia cycling excitement by providing riders with great information, not to mention efforts to keep the roads bike-safe. Collaborating with cyclers and with planners, efforts are being made to ensure that motor vehicles and bikes can safely share our roads.

Safety is first and foremost with biking, since often we are sharing the road with motor vehicles. Over the next few posts, I want to remind readers about various aspects of biking safety and that begins with selecting and riding the right bike for you and for the circumstances in which you plan to ride.

If you are about to start biking or are in the market for a new bike, experts recommend that you make sure to choose the right bike for you and the type of riding you are going to do. Consider whether you need a road bike — whether that is a racing bike for speed or a touring bike for longer trips — depending on the types of trips you intend to take. Perhaps you want to ride off road and need a mountain bike. These bikes are built specifically for this type of ride, but you really need to be sure this is the type of bike you want since these bikes are not meant for road biking. Another option is a hybrid bike that is something between road and mountain and will ride well for city or road biking and paved trail riding. Recumbent bikes are lower to the ground and we often see these bikes with a flag on the back to improve visibility.

Electric bikes are also an option and these are becoming more popular. These bikes are powered by electric motors, but are not scooters and still need pedal power. These bikes are in a specific class on their own. Georgia defines these bikes as a two- or three-wheeled device with fully operative pedals and a small electric motor. However, the motor may not be greater than 1000 watts and cannot be greater than 100 pounds.

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-1-1 defines an electric assisted bicycle as: “A device with two or three wheels which has a saddle and fully operative pedals for human propulsion and also has an electric motor. For such a device to be considered an electric assisted bicycle, it shall meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as set forth in 49 C.F.R. Section 571, et seq., and shall operate in such a manner that the electric motor disengages or ceases to function when the brakes are applied. The electric motor in an electric assisted bicycle shall: (A) Have a power output of not more than 1,000 watts; (B) Be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground; and (C) Be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device at or more than 20 miles per hour.”

In future posts we will share more information on Georgia cycling. Ride safely and enjoy!!


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1214589454Q2B5aO.jpgGeorgia on Two Wheels is dedicated to providing our readers with information and news about riding motorcycles and bikes in our beautiful state. As an avid bike rider and Atlanta bicycle injury and accident lawyer, I enjoy bringing readers information on bicycle riding laws and safety. Autumn is a wonderful time of year for cycling as the temperatures fall and the leaves do as well.

Just so you know, the Georgia Department of Transportation is a great place to start when getting ready to ride in Georgia. Bicyclists and pedestrians can get more information at the DOT website. I will be sharing more information on these topics from time to time, but to get started, please check out the great information there. There are detailed plans for many counties in our region for bicyclists and pedestrians, including Cobb County, Dekalb County and metro Atlanta.

In addition, riders need to be aware that there are many Georgia bicycle laws. So before getting out to ride on our streets and roadways, please check out the requirements for equipment and safety. In this post, we will review a few of the critical laws with regard to equipment and in future posts we will share some of the rules of the road for bicycles.

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