People are increasingly riding cycle in Georgia for faster travelling and frivolous purpose. Bicyclists are growing every year and it’s becoming a staple in Georgia. Along with the increase number of cyclists, vehicle accidents are also increasing. Georgia has been ranked No. 43 in the country for its bicycle casualty degree, with 18.3 deaths per 10,000 cycle commuters according to the Benchmarking Report. Thus, it has become a necessitate for the state to enact proper laws to provide to protection and proper requirements to the cyclist.
The maximum source of bicycle laws come from Chapter 6, Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, which is abbreviated as “O.C.G.A.” An overall basic bicycle laws includes:
One of the basic laws of bicycle in Georgia is that a bicycle is well-defined as a “Vehicle” and the ride is defined as the “Driver”. This means that general automobile laws must be obeyed by the cyclist. However, there are different kinds sections and codes of automobile rules which are not implied for a bicycle. Those codes or section which has the phrase “vehicle”, that section or code is applied to all the vehicles including bicycles. (O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-1-1(14)(75).
Use of Sidewalks
According to the laws, it is unlawful to use bikes in the sidewalk unless the cyclist is 12 or under the age of 12. Individuals above the age of 12 is prohibited to ride in the sidewalk of the public street. The code does not specify any exception, although there should be exception. What if a biker needs to take the sidewalk because of not having any other proper alternatives? Thus, the law should have been meticulous about this matter. (O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-6-144)
Helmets for young riders
Cyclist who are 16 years old or older do not need to wear any helmet while riding a bicycle. Minors under age od 16 must wear helmets when cycling in the public street. (O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-6-296(d)
Use of Lights
Riding at night time is perilous for bicyclist since accident may occur anytime. So, proper light should be attached in the cycle so that the ride can see the roads clearly. A bicyclist must have white headlights that is bright enough to be detected from at 300 feet ways. And bright reflectors should be installed in font and back part of the bicycle. Red light is recommended as reflectors. (O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-6-296(a)
Using the correct lane:
Every individual riding a bicycle should use the nearest right lane except for some conditions like
- A biker who wants to take a left turn
- To evade any dangerous situation
- When the road is not wide enough to share with other motor vehicles.
It is not obligatory to stay in the right lane under all circumstances. Cyclists who want to take a left turn, need not require to stay in the right lane. Moving to the left or taking center of the lane is legal in the state. (O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-6-294
Cyclists must show signals while changing lanes or direction. Signals can be given by using hand or arm or by flashing lights. If the cyclist needs both hands to ride the bicycle, he/she do not need to continuously show signals. To show the signals the rules are,
- For left turn, show left-hand horizontally
- For right turn, show right-hand horizontally
- For stoppage or decrease in speed, show left hand and arm downward to left side of the bicycle. (O.C.G.A. sec.40-6-125)
Overtaking and Passing
While overtaking another vehicle, cyclists need to leave a “safe distance”. Safe distance means leaving out not less that 3 feet. This is also known as 3 foot rule. Other than that, a driver should wait until it’s safe to overtake a vehicle.
Whether you are having a wonderful day or bad day, if you are commuting through a bicycle then it becomes your duty to keep yourself and people around you safe. To do that, it is necessary to follow state rules and regulation.