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Look to Auto Insurance--for Bicycle Accidents


Riding a bike is good exercise and enjoyable, and can be a good way to commute to work, town, or social engagements. Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous: in 2019 in the state of Georgia, 21 bicyclists were fatally injured in crashes with motor vehicles. On average, 24 fatal bicycle crashes occurred per year between 2015-2019. According to the 2018 City of Atlanta Annual bicycle Report, there were 40 crashes involving cyclists in Atlanta; 72% of those resulted in injuries, and 5% of those were fatal.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that deaths among bicyclists 20 years and older have tripled since 1975, and that 90% of the deaths from bicycle crashes in 2019 were among those 20 and older. Delving a little deeper reveals that: (1) 62% of the fatalities in 2019 were not wearing helmets; (2) 21% of those 16 years and older had a blood alcohol content over the legal limit; (3) 78% of the fatalities occurred in urban areas; and (4) 35% of the fatalities occurred at intersections.


Georgia law requires that drivers carry a bodily injury liability insurance policy of at least:

$25,000 per person for bodily injury;

$50,000 per accident for bodily injury;

$25,000 per accident for property damage.

In a serious accident, or in an accident with multiple people injured, these minimum requirements will not be enough to provide full compensation. In addition, you could be involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver, making the at-fault driver unidentifiable.

In these scenarios, you might be able to pursue compensation for bodily injury and property damage through your own UM/UIM policy. Although Georgia law does not require UM/UIM coverage, the law does require that it be offered when drivers first purchase their policies. Therefore, unless you have opted out of coverage in writing, you likely have UM/UIM coverage in your auto insurance policy. A personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have coverage, what kind (e.g. traditional or stacking) it is, and what it will cover.


In order to recover compensation for bodily injury and property damages caused by an at-fault driver in a bicycle crash, the liability of the driver must first be established. Georgia is a modified comparative fault state, so a cyclist must be <50% at fault in order to recover for injuries and damages.

According to Georgia laws found at Title 40 Section 6 in the Georgia Code, bicyclists can be found at fault if they:

1. ride against traffic;

2. fail to signal before turns;

3. ignore stop signs, yield signs, or red lights;

4. ride without caution in hazardous road and/or weather conditions;

5. have inadequate lighting or reflectors on their bicycle.

For cyclists, the key to not being at fault—and not getting into accidents—is to remember that riding a bicycle in traffic is much like driving a car: road signs/signals must be obeyed; road and weather conditions must be heeded; and a bicycle, like a motor vehicle, must go with traffic. Substitute a helmet for a seatbelt and you are on your way!

If you are a cyclist, and are injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, even if some fault for the accident is attributed to you, you can still recover compensation as long as your portion of the fault is less than half of the entire fault for the accident. Additionally, even if the at-fault driver does not have adequate levels of insurance coverage, UM/UIM in your own auto insurance can be used to achieve full compensation.


If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.

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Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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