Bicycle Safety Law Signed by Governor

The General Assembly of Georgia passed a new bicycle safety law, House Bill 101, during their 2011-2012 sessions in April. Governor Nathan Deal signed it into law on May 11. The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2011.

This law is intended to make bicycle riding safer by defining the responsibilities of both motorists and bicycle riders. One of the provisions of this new law also calls for motorists to yield to a person operating a bicycle and to allow a safe distance of 3 feet between car and bicycle while following and passing. This bill was inspired by the 2004 death of Tony Serrano who was hit by a car while bicycling in Gwinnett County. Before the law specified 3 feet as the safe distance a motorist was to allow when passing a bicyclist, it was up to the motorist to determine how much distance was safe.

Highlights Of The Law

  • Changes provisions relating to traffic laws being applicable to bicycles
  • Removes obsolete provisions relating to the transporting of children under the age of one year on a bicycle
  • Defines bike lanes and designated bike paths
  • Defines use of updated bicycle equipment
  • Legalizes the use of recumbent bicycles
  • Repeals conflicting laws

According to Brent Buice of Georgia Bikes, a cycling advocacy group, the law putting into place a 3 foot measure for safety will allow a firm definition of what is considered safe and give law enforcement officers a tool in determining fault. Now, a motorist who violates this law can be charged with a misdemeanor instead of just a fine.

With so many motorists and bicycles sharing the roadways, it is inevitable that there will be some accidents. If you or a family member has been in a cycling accident (a road bike or even on a motorcycle) involving a motor vehicle and suffered serious injury or death, it is important to consult with an attorney to learn your legal rights. Need a lawyer for a bicycle accident case in Marietta? Georgia personal injury attorney Andrew Jones in Marietta, GA is experienced in bicycle accident cases and may be able to assist you.