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Prevent Bicycle Injuries

The amount of bicycling in Atlanta has increased significantly over the past few years. As traffic congestion also continues to increase, there are significant risks of accidents and injuries resulting from collisions between automobiles and cyclists. The resulting injuries can be significant or even catastrophic.

As there are relatively few roads in Atlanta that include bicycling lanes, it is important for drivers and cyclists to practice safety and know the law regarding the interactions between bicycles and automobiles. There are responsibilities required of drivers and bicyclists. Recent Georgia statutes address some of these responsibilities.

With regards to bicyclists, O.C.G.A § 40-6-294, which is to some extent written by lawyers, for lawyers, sets out specific rules that must be followed.

§ 40-6-294. Riding on roadways and bicycle paths

(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.

(b) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when:

(1) Turning left;

(2) Avoiding hazards to safe cycling;

(3) The lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle;

(4) Traveling at the same speed as traffic;

(5) Exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; or

(6) There is a right turn only lane and the person operating the bicycle is not turning right; provided, however, that every person operating a bicycle away from the right side of the roadway shall exercise reasonable care and shall give due consideration to the other applicable rules of the road.

(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on bicycle paths, bicycle lanes, 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.

(d) Whenever a usable bicycle path has been provided adjacent to a roadway and designated for the exclusive use of bicycle riders, then the appropriate governing authority may require that bicycle riders use such bicycle path and not use those sections of the roadway so specified by such local governing authority. The governing authority may be petitioned to remove restrictions upon demonstration that the bicycle path has become inadequate due to capacity, maintenance, or other causes.

(e) Bicycle paths subject to the provisions of subsection (d) of this Code section shall at a minimum be required to meet accepted guidelines, recommendations, and criteria with respect to planning, design, operation, and maintenance as set forth by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and such bicycle paths shall provide accessibility to destinations equivalent to the use of the roadway.

(f) Any person operating a bicycle in a bicycle lane shall ride in the same direction as traffic on the roadway.

(g) Electric assisted bicycles may be operated on bicycle paths.

In summary, interaction between drivers and cyclists are going to continue to increase. In order to avoid potentially disastrous incident, remember to be courteous, show respect for each other, and most significantly, follow the laws that are there to protect the safety of all of those using our roadways.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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