A word from Sumter Cycling: Bicycles are vehicles…
A BICYCLE… A VEHICLE??
Yes! In the state of Georgia, a bicycle is defined as a vehicle with the same rights and responsibilities on public roads as motor vehicles. A bicycle with an electric motor is included in this definition. A person operating a bicycle, however, is NOT required to have a driver’s license.
Other definitions should be clarified. A person in control of a vehicle on a street or highway is a “driver.” (As a driver, a bicyclist must follow the traffic rules common to all drivers. Further, a bicycle driver must also obey rules adopted specifically for bicycles.)
A cyclist has all the rights to the roadway applicable to any driver, except for any special regulations for bicycles. Those riding a bike will, therefore, ride with the flow of traffic, not against it, and will stop at traffic lights just as a motor vehicle. Cyclists who violate traffic laws will be subject to the same penalties as drivers of motor vehicles, except that no penalty will be assessed against a cyclist’s motor vehicle driver’s license.
State laws also address the number of riders. For example, a bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which the bicycle was designed or equipped. An adult may, for example, carry a child in a sling, child seat or a trailer designed to carry children.
Additionally, no person riding a bicycle shall attach himself/herself to any other vehicle on the road.
Other Georgia bicycle laws concern where and how to ride on roads and bike paths. Every person operating a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable except when: turning left, avoiding “hazards to safe riding”, or if the lane is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle. “Hazards to safe cycling” include but are not limited to: debris on the road, rough pavement, drain grates which are parallel to the side of the road, parked or stopped vehicles, potentially opening car doors, or any other objects which threaten the cyclist’s safety. If a bicycle lane is present, the cyclist shall ride in the same direction as traffic on the roadway.
Persons riding bicycles on a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on bike paths, bike lanes or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or when a local governing authority permits riding more than two abreast.
This is the first of several articles addressing bicycle safety. The information is courtesy of Georgia Bikes, Inc., a nonprofit organization promoting bicycling and working to improve bicycle conditions throughout Georgia. For more information about bike rides in our area, contact Sumter Cycling at Sumtercycling.org, Sumtercycling2020@gmail.com, or follow us on Facebook. Be safe and see you on the roads!
-Submitted by Sumter Cycling