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Georgia laws related to bicycles
Recent changes to Georgia law include HB 101 (the "Better Biking") bill including a minimum 3 feet safe passing distance for cars overtaking cyclists.
HB 101 was signed by Governor Deal on May 11, 2011. Click here for more about the bill & to see the changes it entails.
The most significant updates are:
Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter relating to operating a vehicle on a roadway, where a bicycle lane is provided on the roadway, the operator of a motor vehicle shall yield to a person operating a bicycle in a bicycle lane.
(a) As used in this Code section, the term 'safe distance' means not less than three feet.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, when feasible, the operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between such vehicle and the bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 40-6-50, any person operating a bicycle may ride upon a paved shoulder; provided, however, that such person shall not be required to ride upon a paved shoulder.
(c) Any person operating a bicycle may signal a right turn with his or her right arm and hand extended horizontally or with his or her left hand and arm extended upward.
(a) As used in this Code section, the term 'hazards to safe cycling' includes, but shall not be limited to, surface debris, rough pavement, drain grates which are parallel to the side of the roadway, parked or stopped vehicles, potentially opening car doors, or any other objects which threaten the safety of a person operating a bicycle.
(f) Any person operating a bicycle in a bicycle lane shall ride in the same direction as traffic on the roadway.
Any bicycle equipped with a red reflector on the rear that is approved by the Department of Public Safety shall not be required to have a light on the rear of the bicycle.
Also, sections (a) and (b) of 40-6-297 have been deleted, meaning that retailers can lawfully sell pedals that are not equipped with reflectors, e.g. clipless pedals.
Cycling on sidewalks
During the 2009 session, Georgia legislators passed Senate Bill 196 to amend Title 40 (motor vehicles and traffic). The amendment allows local governments to let kids 12 and under bike on sidewalks, and states that no others can operate vehicles on sidewalks. Other aspects of the bill increase the fines and jail time for motorists who seriously injure cyclists or pedestrians.
(40-6-144) "Except as provided by resolution or ordinance of a local government for sidewalks within the jurisdiction of such local government authorizing the operation of bicycles on sidewalks by persons 12 years of age or younger, no person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized driveway."
Click here for a comprehensive analysis of this change.
Georgia Bikes! maintains the full list of laws related to cycling.