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Legal analyst believes Atlanta 'Pedal Pub' crash could set a local and national precedent

Open alcohol containers aren't allowed in vehicles in Georgia, and a pedal pub is considered a vehicle.

ATLANTA — Atlanta Police have charged the driver of a pedal pub with DUI, and the company is facing a business permit violation after the Saturday evening crash hurting 15 people, two of them critically, and another three seriously. 

A pedal pub is a vehicle resembling a large bike. A driver steers it, and several passengers help to pedal it, often while drinking alcohol.

However, 11Alive legal analyst Page Pate believes pedal pub laws may change. Open alcohol containers aren't allowed in vehicles in Georgia, and a pedal pub is considered a vehicle. 

"It's a tragic situation, obviously, but it's something that really is not all that unexpected, given the fact that you have so many people drinking on a mode of transportation in the middle of a busy, crowded street," Pate said. 

RELATED: Driver of 'pedal pub' arrested, charged with DUI following rollover crash that injured 15 in Midtown

Pate believes the crash could set a legal precedent for pedal pubs and not just in Atlanta. 

"I would expect this to lead to tighter regulation and enforcement of the ordinances that are already on the books, and perhaps some cities, Atlanta included, may reconsider allowing this type of operation to even exist," Pate said. 

The crash happened at the busy intersection of Peachtree and 14th Street in Midtown Atlanta. Trash, shoes, and alcoholic beverages lined the street after the accident.

"The DUI charge is not surprising at all," Pate said. "That would apply if the driver was just on a bike by himself and intoxicated and driving on a city street. Not surprising. It's a misdemeanor offense. There's mandatory jail time involved, even if it's his first offense." 

Pate added the company operating the pedal pubs can also be held liable. 

"The company likely has insurance, a policy that can cover this," Pate said. "I would absolutely expect anyone who was injured in this accident to file a claim with that insurance or potentially sue the company and the driver for any injuries they may have sustained." 

Pate said the amount of money those injured could get will depend on the severity of their injuries. 

"Obviously, those who are more seriously injured will likely receive more money," Pate said. "I would be surprised if the insurance company for the pedal pub company doesn't just settle with these people." 

Pate said if multiple people do pursue a lawsuit, it's likely to exceed to the value of the company's insurance policy and possibly lead to big financial problems for the company and driver. 

11Alive reached out to Atlanta Pedal Pubs for comment, but we haven't received a response.

RELATED: 15 hurt after 'pedal pub' overturns in Midtown Atlanta, authorities say