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Are Atlanta Bike Riders Disregarding Driver Rights?

Many people ride bikes for their commute because they want to get exercise or because they believe it is better for the environment. Bikers have been vocal about encouraging local municipalities to improve conditions for riders and have largely been successful in getting bicycle lanes installed and ensuring that lawmakers consider the needs of riders. In fact, just recently, Atlanta was chosen for a bike lane project that WABE reports will result in the construction of safer bike lanes in the

Some drivers, however, are questioning whether bike riders may have gone too far. In several recent articles in the Washington Post, bikers have been described as "bullies" and as trying to "rule the road." If bikers do indeed behave in an aggressive way and fail to follow the rules, this could affect their right to recover compensation after a collision. A personal injury lawyer can help those involved in a bike accident to determine who is to blame.

Criticisms of Bicycle Riders

According to the Washington Post, bike riders have pushed to have bicycle lanes installed in places where parking previously was located, causing shortages of convenient parking in some areas. Bicycle riders are also accused of traveling too slowly on busy streets during rush hour and not respecting motorists who want the bikers to get out of the way. The columnist even suggests that "bikers routinely worm their way to the front of a line of cars waiting at a red light" and then poke along at a "snail's pace" and hold up traffic when the light turns green.

In a separate article also picking on bike riders in the same newspaper, a columnist lamented that bicycle riders frequently ride on sidewalks where pedestrians travel.

Yet another columnist complained about "bicycle ninjas" who ride without lights at night or when visibility is low. This makes the bicycle riders difficult to see and puts pedestrians at risk as well as increases the chances of a bike accident occurring. Some of these bikers may also go the wrong way in bike lanes and ride on sidewalks even when they are difficult to see.

These criticisms seem to suggest that some bicycle riders have a sense of entitlement and it is disrupting the orderly operations of the road. The reality, however, is that bicycle riders still face significant dangers even though bike lanes have become more common.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 726 bicycle riders killed in 2012 and another 49,000 got hurt in motor vehicle collisions. While bike riders made up just two percent of people killed and two percent of people injured in traffic accidents, the number of fatalities is on the rise. In 2012, for example, there were six percent more bicycle riders killed in collisions as compared with the prior year. Urban areas are the most dangerous for riders, with 69 percent of all deaths occurring in urban areas.

Both bicycle riders and drivers need to be respectful of each other and need to obey the rules of the road. The risk of accidents can be reduced only if everyone is careful.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation.

Atlanta Accident Risks - Driving With Pets

Driving with your pet in the car may seem harmless, but the reality is that you put yourself, your animal and other motorists at risk. If you have your pet in the vehicle with you, your dog needs to be restrained for his own safety as well as to avoid increasing the risk of a dangerous accident. dog-1442782-m

Pets can turn into projectiles if a collision occurs, and pets can also be a major distraction and increase the risk of an accident happening. If you are involved in a collision with someone who was distracted by a pet in the car, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer for information about making a car accident claim.

The Risks of Driving with Pets

AAA Pet Spot provides some important information about driving with a pet in the car. According to a survey of pet owners, 65 percent of pet owners who took their dog in their vehicle had engaged in at least one distracting behavior while their pet was in the car, although only 29 percent admitted they were distracted by the animal.

Distracting behaviors included petting their dog while driving, which 52 percent of respondents said they did. A total of 17 percent of drivers said they let their pet sit in their lap while operating their vehicle, and 13 percent said that they had given food or treats to their dog as they drove. Finally, four percent of drivers said that they had played with their dog as they were operating their vehicle.

When dogs go in the car, many of them are not restrained. A full 84 percent of survey respondents said that they had taken their dog on a variety of different car trips including running errands and going on leisure trips. Despite this, only 16 percent had any kind of pet restraint system that they used in their vehicle.

As Esurance points out, an unrestrained dog could not only be killed in a collision but could also seriously injure or kill others in the car at the time. A 10-pound dog that is not restrained could generate as much as 500 pounds of force if he is in a vehicle that crashes while the car is traveling at 50 miles-per-hour. If the dog weighs 80 pounds, the animal can generate 2,400 pounds of force even in a slow-moving crash where the vehicle is traveling only 30 miles per hour.

Drivers with pets need to be aware of these dangers. Keeping their animal restrained can both prevent distractions and ensure that a dog doesn't fly around a car when a crash happens. There are different types of pet restraints that can be used in the car including a pet crate and special pet seat belts. Human seat belts should not be used to try to restrain pets as this can be dangerous and ineffective.

Drivers who plan to travel with their pets need to be aware of the risks and should ensure they are taking precautions to keep their animals, and themselves, safe.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit to schedule a free consultation.