Are you planning to cycle in the Lawrenceville area? This primer will cover the Gwinnett County bicycle infrastructure and important crash statistics to keep in mind. 

Despite its bicycle-friendly design, serious bike accidents still happen throughout the area. Understanding how and where they occur can help you stay safe, whether you’re on the greenway, one of Georgia’s state bicycle routes, or your neighborhood streets.

Bicycle Infrastructure in Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County

Gwinnett County is a bicycle-friendly area with tons of bike paths and multi-use paths. The county’s Destination 2040 plan includes many efforts to expand bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. A tiered Bike Priority Network map was developed to identify planned trail projects in the area. 

Lawrenceville is home to several popular bike paths and routes in addition to dedicated bike lanes on local roads: 

  • Georgia State Bicycle Route 70 (Northern Crescent): This state bike route stretches 66 miles from Acworth to Snellville, passing through Lawrenceville. 
  • Grizzly Parkway (formerly Collins Hill Extension): The parkway serves Georgia Gwinnett College with bike lanes and multi-use trails. 
  • Harris Greenway Trail: This 5-mile paved multi-use path links local parks, neighborhoods, businesses, and other trail systems. 

One of the county’s signature trails is the Western Gwinnett Bikeway, which connects several major parks like the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

How Common Are Bicycle Accidents in Lawrenceville, GA?

According to the nonprofit Georgia Bikes, there were 736 bicycle accidents throughout Georgia in 2021 that caused 1,146 serious injuries and 18 bicyclist deaths. That’s down from 35 fatalities from the previous year. 26 of these crashes and 51 serious injuries happened in Gwinnett County. 

Georgia averages 25 bicyclist fatalities every year, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Bicyclists between 55 and 64 suffered the highest rate of fatalities and serious injuries, followed by the 45 to 54 age group. However, children aged 10 to 14 had the highest rate of injuries treated at trauma care centers. 

Thanks to mild weather year-round, bicycle accidents can happen any time of the year in Lawrenceville. 31% of bicycle accidents occur in the fall. Spring and summer each account for 26% of crashes. Daytime is the most likely time for bike accidents, and 70% of accidents happen on weekdays. 

In 2020, 90% of bicyclists involved in an accident were using safety equipment such as a helmet, lighting, or reflective clothing. 60% of bicyclists killed in an accident were not wearing a helmet. 

Where Do Bike Accidents Happen in the Greater Atlanta Area?

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s 2020 report on non-motorist accidents in the state broke down collisions into three main groups: the 10-county Atlanta area, rural counties, and other urban counties. Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County are in the Atlanta area. 

Most bicycle accidents happened on four types of roadways in the area: 

  • Local roads (34%): These roadways connect to the larger roadway systems like arterial and collector roads, but they give direct access to adjacent land. They aren’t designed for through traffic or long trips. 
  • Minor arterial roads (30%): These roadways connect to larger arterial roads, but they’re designed for moderate-length trips within a specific area. They often connect cities or towns within an urban area. 
  • Principal arterial roads (18%): These roadways are a class below highways and interstates with high traffic volume. They connect urban areas with rural areas and serve major activity centers. 
  • Collector roads (14%): These roadways move traffic from local to arterial roads and provide access to residential areas. They usually have a speed limit of 25 to 45 mph with low to moderate traffic. 

As you might expect, 64% of bike crashes in the area happen on local and minor streets, not major roadways. Bicyclists using these roads may be riding in their neighborhood or commuting to a nearby job. 

Like car accidents, bicycle accidents are most likely to happen at intersections. 62% of bike crashes in the Lawrenceville area occur in intersections compared to 34% outside of intersections. 

Common Causes of Lawrenceville Bicycle Accidents

As a cyclist, it’s vital to understand what causes most bicycle accidents so you can take steps to stay safe. Bicyclists in Georgia have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and both may be responsible for a crash. In fact, cyclists are about as likely as drivers to cause an accident. 

Common causes of bicycle accidents in Lawrenceville and the surrounding areas include: 

  • Failure to yield the right of way: This may happen at an intersection when a driver does not see a bicycle. Always confirm a driver sees you before crossing at an intersection. 
  • Improper lane change: This may happen when a driver is distracted or fails to check for bicyclists in their blind spots. 
  • Speeding: This reduces reaction time to cyclists and increases the severity of injuries in a crash. 
  • Open door accidents: Sometimes, bicyclists are injured when a driver or passenger opens their door in the path of a cyclist without being aware of their surroundings. 
  • Distracted driving: This is a common cause of accidents involving cyclists. Drivers may side-swipe a cyclist riding on the side of the road or turn into a cyclist at an intersection if they aren’t paying attention. 
  • Intoxication: Alcohol is a common factor in bicycle accidents. Biking under the influence is just as dangerous as drunk driving. 37% of fatal bike accidents in one recent year involved alcohol for the motorist or cyclist. Around 28% of bicyclists fatally injured in a crash had alcohol in their system. 

Gwinnett County is a beautiful area to explore, with hundreds of miles of bike and mixed-use paths linking the county’s most picturesque parks, communities, and attractions. Stay safe by always wearing a helmet, being aware of your surroundings, and using dedicated bike lanes and trails when possible.