As springtime approaches many of us will take trips on the many highways, and by-ways of our beautiful mountain areas. Some of us will drive these roads in our cars and trucks while others will ridetheir bikes. It is almost guaranteed thatin beautiful weatherthere will be an auto and bike encounter. Regardless of which manner of transportation one chooses there are legal rules of which govern bicycle and auto conduct. These rules are designed for everyone’s safety. Violations of these laws subject the violator to claims of civil negligence, as well as a traffic ticket.
1. “When feasible,” when overtaking and passing a bicycle on the roadway, the operator of a motor vehicle must leave at least
THREE FEET between the vehicle and the bicycle until safely past the bicycle.(O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-56). Simply put, there are minimum distances to safely pass a bicyclist.
2. Ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practical, except: when turning left, avoiding hazards, the lane is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle, traveling at the same speed as traffic, passing a stopped vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction, or when there is a right turn only lane and you are not turning right. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-294).
3. Persons riding bicycles on the roadway
can not ride more than two abreast except on bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, parts of the roadway set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, or when a special permit is issued by a local government. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-294).
4. Where a bicycle lane is provided on the roadway, the operator of a motor vehicle must yield to a person operating a bicycle in the bicycle lane. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-55).
5. When riding in a bicycle lane, you must ride in the same direction as traffic on the roadway. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-294).
6. No person under the age of 16 shall operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-296).
7. When riding at night, your bike must be equipped with a front white light visible from 300 feet and a red reflector on the rear. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-297).
8. The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit their child or ward to violate the rules of the road. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-297).
9. A child under the age of one year may not ride as a passenger on a bicycle, but may ride seated in a bicycle trailer or carried in an infant sling. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-292).
10. RIDE SAFELY, RIDE PREDICTABLY, KEEP A PROPER LOOKOUT, SIGNAL, BE VISIBLE, PASS ON THE LEFT, SHOW RESPECT, and OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS. (O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-290 et seq.).
These rules of the road are your safety, and are the law in Georgia.
When people are involved in accidents we look to these rules to determine the negligence, or responsibility of both parties before we can take legal action. Traffic rules like these, set out the legal requirements that protect us all. As a law practice located in North Georgia we deal with many auto-bicycle wrecks. Often times people who ride their bikes have no insurance covering them while on the roadways. I suggest that you contact your insurance agent to see what coverage’s you may have or need to protect yourself before getting on a roadway. Many people who are without health insurance can face an economic shock after being injured on a bike. Additionally bike-auto accidents can cause loss of work, and other severe damages due to the nature of these injuries. Many of our clients have had to endure many months of physical therapy to come back from these encounters.
I hope that you and your loved ones will enjoy this beautiful time of year. Come up to our mountain areas and bring your bikes! Please be careful to read, and follow these rules and be safe.