Safe Bike Riding on Georgia’s Roadways
Biking can be a wonderful way to exercise—not to mention a way to save money on gas and help the environment. But exercising proper safety precautions on the road is just as important as knowing how to ride a bike. Keep safe by obeying Georgia’s bike rules and following some basic precautions.
Know the Law
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, bicyclists are required to follow the same set of laws as other motorists on the road. This means:
- Communicating intent to turn through gestures
- Riding with the flow of traffic
- Obeying all traffic signals
- Wearing a helmet (required for all riders under 16 years old)
- Using a bike path if available (electric bikes may use this too)
- Using a white light in front and a red light in back, both visible for 300 feet, if riding at night
Cyclists who violate traffic laws are subject to the same penalties as motorists. There are exceptions to these laws, though, which exist when a bicycle is incapable of violating laws (i.e. going over speed limit of 40 mph).
There are also certain instances in which cyclists are allowed to move to the left side of the lane, for example, to pass standing vehicles, avoid debris, or make a left turn. However, be careful when trying to complete any of these maneuvers because they can result in serious injuries like: Brain injuries, limb injuries, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, serious scrapes and bruises, back injuries, neck injuries, road rash, and even death.
To secure your safety, ride in a predictable manner. Motorists expect you to ride on the right side along with the flow of traffic. Do not swerve in front of oncoming traffic or complete any maneuvers without signaling first. Ride in bike lanes whenever available. When riding around parallel parked cars, give enough berth so that you cannot be hit by a car door if it opens.
Be on the Lookout
Cyclists need to drive defensively, just like motorists. Bicycle riders need to be on the lookout for extra hazards on the road, like:
- Trash, car parts, and dirt can all accumulate on the side of the road where cyclist ride. Be vigilant and move around hazards as necessary. Bikers also need to be mindful of grates, which can become slippery.
- Be mindful of cars turning right. Cars are required to yield the right of way, but people do not always notice bicyclists. Be on the lookout for cars that may not see you, and adjust accordingly.
Tips for Motorists
Just as cyclists are required to obey the rules of the road, motorists are expected to exercise reasonable care around those who ride bikes. Auto accidents involving a collision between a motorist and cyclist are some of the more dangerous types of auto accidents that occur on the roadways. Observe some basic guidelines:
- Do not honk your horn at bikers. This may startle them and cause an accident.
- When passing a cyclist, allow at least three feet between you and a bike.
- Be patient. Wait until it is safe to pass a cyclist.
- Do not speed ahead to turn right. You could cut in front of a cyclist, causing an accident.
- Do not harass any cyclist or pedestrian. Treat each member on a roadway with respect. Aggressive driving and harassment of cyclists is a punishable offense. Anyone found harassing a cyclist will be charged with a high misdemeanor.
When You Have Been in an Accident
If you are a cyclist and have been in an accident, the consequences can be devastating. Cyclists often suffer extensive injuries from accidents with motorists, and recovery can take months and even years. Medical bills and lost wages take a toll on you financially and emotionally. You may wonder if you are eligible for compensation from a personal injury claim. Take advantage of the Roden Law team of Macon injury attorneys offering free initial consultation service, and we will help you decide on your best options. Contact us today. We take our cases on a contingency-fee basis, so it is risk free.