You should abide by all applicable bicycle-specific laws and traffic ordinances. Stop at all stop signs and traffic lights!
Do NOT ride on the sidewalk. Operating a bicycle on the sidewalk is dangerous, both for you and for pedestrians. It's also illegal in GA if you're over 12 years old.
Wear bright, reflective clothing and use front and rear lights if riding in low-light or at night.
Flow with traffic (as if you were a car), signal your intentions, and maintain a consistent line of travel (don't weave in and out of lanes).
Watch and be prepared for motorists not seeing you. Even a cyclist in bright clothing can be difficult to see in certain conditions. Distracted driving is a serious issue- never assume that a motorist sees you!
While not required for bicyclists over the age of 16, helmets are a common sense precaution. Unexpected situations will happen, and a properly worn helmet will substantially increase your odds of walking away from a crash.
Write down the date, time, and location of the accident, including the name, address, email, phone number and insurance information for any driver involved in the crash. Also obtain, if possible, the name, address, email, & phone number of any witness to the incident.
In addition to your own notes, keep handy all documents related to the accident, such as the police report, medical evaluations, insurance forms, property damage estimates, and written or electronic correspondences.
More often than not, the motorist’s insurance company will deny your initial claim. Treat this denial as the beginning of a negotiation, not the end! Insurance companies count on the fact that most people will give up after receiving a denial letter. If you receive a denial letter, wait 45 days after the accident, then send a polite, professional, but firm letter to the insurance company indicating that you will sue the insured if they fail to pay. Mention the Georgia title 33 statute, which compels insurance companies to settle claims in a timely manner (within 60 days) or face a penalty fee. Clearly state the amount for which you require compensation, and then let them know that you expect a prompt response. Be sure to reference the claim number in the letter and include copies of property damage estimates to support your claim.
If you sustained serious injuries, you may need to work with an attorney. Check in your area for a law office that specializes in bicycle accidents.
Are you under the age of 16? If you are, by Georgia Law you must wear a helmet when riding your bike. So, go get a fashionably cool helmet. Not only will you look good while you ride, but you will also be following proper safety protol while following the law! Noting looks better than that!
Riding at night? Then, according to Georgia law your bike must have a light in the front and red light in the back that are visible at least 300 feet away. If the back of your bike is equipped with a red reflector that is visible at least 300 feet then you don't have to worry about having a rear light.
Ride as near to the right side of the road as possible. According to Georgia law you must ride as near to the right side of the road as possible. You must also go with the flow of traffic.
It is against the law to ride on the sidewalks, unless you are under 12 years of age. Leave the sidewalk for the youngins.
According to Georgia law, bicyclists have the right away in bike lanes and automobiles are required to yield to you in the bike lane. Automobiles are required to give you at least 3 feet of clearence on the road.
When following you or passing you, automobiles are required to be 3 feet away from a cyclist.
It is against the law for anyone to throw something at you while you are riding your bike.
It is against the law for anyone to attempt to intimidate or threaten you with their vehicle.
Except as to the special regulations for bicycles. Cyclists who violate traffic laws will be subject to the same penalties as drivers of motor vehicles, except that no penalty shall be assessed against a cyclist’s motor vehicle driver’s license.
The term 'hazards to safe cycling' includes, but is not 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.
Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, or when a special event permit issued by a local governing authority permits riding more than two abreast.
No person (over age 12) shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized driveway.
No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or other article which prevents him or her from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a white front light visible from a distance of 300 feet and with a red rear light visible from a distance of 300 feet or a red rear reflector(Additional lighting is permitted and highly recommended!)
Every bicycle sold or operated shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level pavement.
A bicycle rider or passengerunder 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmetthat:
A driver must obey all applicable traffic control devices(signs, markings, and traffic signals).
Except when directed by a police officer, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line.
After stopping the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard.
The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall slow down to a speed reasonable for existing conditions, and if required for safety to stop at a clearly marked stop line, if there is no stop line, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After slowing or stopping the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another roadway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard. If such a driver is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection after driving past a yield sign without stopping, such collision shall be deemed prima-facie evidence of his failure to yield the right of way.
The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
Such movement shall not be made by driving off the roadway.
A cyclist traveling in a bicycle lane, or in a shared lane wide enough for motor vehicles and bicycles to share, may pass motor vehicles on the right, but she or he must take care to avoid right-turning vehicles.
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. The term 'safe distance' means not less than three feet.
Please note that cars may cross a solid yellow centerline to pass a cyclistif the oncoming lane is clear and it is safe to pass.
Beyond obeying state laws and following the rules of the road, there are simple steps every bicyclist can take to ensure a safer, more enjoyable ride.
Being seen is the single best thing a cyclist can do to avoid a crash with another vehicle. The law requires front white lights and a red rear light/reflector at night, but this equipment is also valuable on shady streets, on cloudy days, and in any low-light situation. High visibility clothing is very important—even in sunny conditions! For nighttime riding, reflective tape or fabric is also strongly recommended.
Traffic laws are designed to create predictable behavior, but because bicycles are much smaller than motor vehicles, there is more roadway space in which to operate. Weaving in and out of the travel lane is not predictable and confuses other road users. Riding in a predictable, straight line will significantly reduce the odds of a crash.
You can show your intentions– and increase your visibility—through the position you take in the travel lane.
Imagine the travel lane as divided into equal thirds. The third you occupy communicates your intended destination: If you’re making a left turn, move into the left-most third of the lane. If you’re continuing straight through an intersection, position yourself in the middle third, and move into the right-most third for a right turn.
Together with arm signals, using the “rule of thirds” will help other road users better predict your movements and will make you more visible to motorists.
Bicycles are small, and motorists can be distracted by any number of factors.
Thanks to the work of advocacy organizations, many communities are installing bike lanes and building multi-use paths. Using these facilities may seem like common sense, but following the tips below will foster safe, courteous interactions with fellow users.
Bicycle lanes are set aside for preferential use by bicyclists. When properly installed and well maintained, they provide a pleasant, safe space for riding a bike. You are not required to ride in a bike lane just because it exists, however. If a bike lane is full of debris, a parked car, or any other hazard, you should carefully merge into the shared travel lane until it is safe to move back into the bike lane. Never make a left turn from a right-side bike lane (remember the “rule of thirds”). In general, use a bike lane when it is safe and convenient to do so based on your destination. Always look behind you, signal, and yield when moving from a bike lane to another travel lane.
While not a “facility,” sharrows are on-street pavement markings that indicate a preferred bike route and alert motorists to the presence and typical lane position of bicyclists on the roadway. They can be effective wayfinding signage and can raise awareness of bicyclists on low volume, low-speed roads. When riding on a roadway with sharrows, you are not required to ride in the space designated by the sharrow.
Whether they’re called greenways, trails, or bike paths, these facilities are popular with a wide range of users. Bicyclists, joggers, dog walkers, and equestrians often share these facilities.
On multi-use paths, bicycles can endanger other users due to their relative size and speed. Whenever riding on a multi-use path, always:
On very rare occasion, riding lawfully, predictably, and defensively is not enough. Learning basic emergency handling techniques is essential to minimizing the impact of a crash. These techniques cannot be taught by a pocket guide, but many advocacy organizations host safe cycling courses. Check with your local bicycle advocacy organization to find out about classes near you. Contact us if you need help locating an advocacy group in your area.
Safe cycling classes are often called “Traffic Skills 101,” “Confident Cycling,” or some variation.
In the meantime, make sure you have properly functioning brakes, that your bike is correctly fitted to your height, and that your bicycle is overall in good repair. Your local bike shop will be happy to help you!
First off, bicycling is not inherently dangerous! Bicycling is easy, fun, and as safe as any other outdoor activity.
You greatly minimize your risk by obeying the law and by following the tips and advice shared in this Guide.
Only about half of all bicycle crashes that do happen involve a collision with a motor vehicle. These crashes involve bicyclists crashing by themselves due to loss of control.
Keep your bike in good working condition and pay attention, and you’ll cut your already slim odds of a crash in half!
Note that most crashes between bikes and cars occur at intersections and that wrong-way travel by the bicyclist is a major contributing factor. In Georgia, the majority of crashes that cause injury occur in low-light/nighttime conditions on arterial roads.
Be predictable, visible and cautious, and you will enjoy safe, relaxing rides!
First & foremost: if you are seriously injured, wait for medical assistance!
The points below are presented as general guidance -not legal advice - for dealing with the aftermath of a collision.
When you have loose handlebars it can be difficult to turn your bike and support your body weight, increasing your chances of an accident!