Should Cyclists in Georgia Ride in the Same Direction as Traffic?
Cyclists in Georgia are extremely vulnerable. Many parts of the state are not bike friendly. However, we sometimes see riders putting themselves in greater harm by failing to abide by the rules. Many drivers have experienced a cyclist heading toward them on the highway. It’s an unnerving experienced.
In Georgia, cyclists must ride in the same direction as the traffic. When they do so, they are protected by passing laws.
Georgia’s bicycle laws were significantly changed in 2011. The details of House Bill 101 are set out by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
When a vehicle is overtaking and passing a cyclist who is proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, the driver must leave a safe distance between his or her vehicle and the bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle. The code defines a ‘safe distance’ as at least three feet.
The code states any rider who is operating a bicycle in a bicycle lane will ride in the same direction as traffic on the roadway.
Where a bicycle lane is provided on a highway, the driver of a motor vehicle must yield to cyclists using the lane. The law also allows cyclists to ride on a paved shoulder.
Compared to the number of deaths of pedestrians and motorcyclists in Georgia, the death toll of cyclists is relatively low. However, in many parts of Georgia, the roads are unfriendly to cyclists meaning riders avoid going out on the road.
About 16 cyclists die every year on the highways of Georgia according to Governing.com. The worst state for cycling deaths was Florida where 110 cyclists on average die every year. Although California sees slightly more cycling deaths, the rate of deaths per million residents is lower. Georgia was ranked as the 22nd most dangerous state in the country for bicyclists.
Cyclists are more likely to ride on urban roads than rural roads in Georgia. Last November a rider was hit and killed in Atlanta in a wreck police described as a hit-and-run.
The wreck occurred after Atlanta police responded to information about two vehicles being involved in suspicious activity in Midtown, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
As police tried to pull over a Chevrolet HHR, the driver sped away from the scene. Police were advised not to pursue the station wagon.
Soon after the attempted stop, the station wagon hit and killed Andrew Whitlock, a 37-year-old cyclist at the intersection of Luckie Street and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he died. The Chevrolet HHR was recovered but its occupants fled the scene.
Often cyclists are in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can improve your chances of not becoming a statistic by obeying the rules and riding in the direction of traffic.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one on the roads of Georgia, please call our Newnan cycling accident lawyer at (404) 913-1529.