Bikes are considered bicycles under Georgia law, which means that various laws must be observed so that both drivers and pedestrians (and cyclists) are kept safe. Two-wheeled vehicles are subject to certain rules unique to these vehicles, such as their classification and weight. How much do you know about Georgia biking laws?
The information provided in this article is not legal advice. None of our writers are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. The information published in this blog is provided for entertainment and educational purposes only. We do our best to explain the rules and regulations in easy to understand language. Although we do extensive research to make sure our information is accurate and useful, our synopsis may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on this article.
The Road Rules
There are numerous laws and regulations governing bicyclists in Georgia. It is essential that you understand these laws before you hit the road on your bike, as motorists and cyclists rely on them to ensure their safety.
It is best for cyclists to ride to the right whenever possible, especially when turning left or avoiding hazards. If you’re thinking of riding with a company then they have specific rules over it.
The number of people that a bicycle can accommodate cannot exceed the number it was designed for, or the bicycle must be accordingly equipped. That means if you don’t have enough space and equipment for another person except you then you can’t carry that person.
When riding with a child, an adult should use a child sling, child seat, or trailer designed for children. Your bicycle cannot be attached to or driven by another vehicle.
In addition, you can only share a roadway with another bike if it is a bicycle path, bicycle lane, a designated bike lane, or a section set aside for bikes only, or when the local governing authority approves a special event permit.
If you are riding with anything that prevents you from holding at least one hand on the helm, you must not carry it with you. In Georgia, there is a law that says cyclists can ride on the road where there are bike lanes, but if there are parallel paths, the authority can require cyclists to use the path, unless it is no longer available.
If you find a bike path instead of the road, you should probably go there since the local government is almost certain to require you to ride on the bike path.
Georgia allows local governing bodies to decide whether to follow its pathways, which a refreshing change from many other countries is. Keeping this in mind is important, but it’s confusing.
It is important to make sure that you are safe while riding at night. Georgia bicycle laws require you to be equipped with a white front reflector that can be seen from a distance of 300 feet when riding at night and a red reflector when riding at night. Additionally, manufacturers have specific responsibilities.
Every bicycle manufacturer and operator is responsible for including a brake that will allow the user to skid their wheels on dry, flat surfaces.
Related reading: Hawaii Bicycle Laws
Riding on Sidewalks
Because bikes are considered vehicles under Georgia bike laws, riding on the sidewalks is prohibited. It’s not all as it seems, though. Local governments sometimes allow riders under thirteen to ride on sidewalks. You will have to check with your local government to see if they cover you from town to town, as they are responsible for that as well.
Georgia bicycle laws stipulate that whenever you operate your bicycle on a highway or on a path designated for bicycle use only, you must comply with the rules specified by the authority.
It is provided, however, that you may not need to comply with this rule if you operate your bicycle on a paved shoulder. When signaling a right turn, you must extend your right hand and arm horizontally or upwardly.
It is not advisable to ride any other seat than the permanently attached seat, and anyone should not be allowed to ride on the handlebars. If you are cycling in Georgia you cannot carry a child under one year on the highway, roadway, bike path, bicycle lane, or sidewalk. When riding a bicycle, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle on a public highway, the rider shall not attach themselves to the vehicle or be attached to the vehicle. If you overtake a motor vehicle on the right you may only do so if it is safe to do so without riding off the road, otherwise you should pass on the left.
Georgia Bicycle Helmet Laws
Cycling helmets are always a good idea, and the law requires them in some areas. Helmets are required on highways, bicycle lanes, bicycle paths, and sidewalks in Georgia for cyclists and bicycle passengers under 16 years old.
Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standards Institute recommends that protective headgear for bicyclists must meet or exceed the impact protection standards. Fit and security are essential factors in ensuring an effective helmet fit.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Snell Memorial Foundation set the standards for bicycle helmets complying with the Georgia bicycle law. This law is designed to ensure that you should only be considered to be wearing a bicycle helmet if the straps of the helmet are fastened securely to your head.
When you rent or lease a bicycle, you must wear a helmet if you are under the age of 16 years old. But on the other hand you will not be fined or get arrested if you do not comply with the rules and also you are under the age of 16.
Georgia Electric Bike Laws
A Georgia electric bicycle or tricycle is one that has pedals that can be operated by the rider and a seat or saddle that can be used by the rider and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.
When an electric bike meets the definition of a motor vehicle, it is covered by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. By human power, the bike should be driven by a motor that has a maximum output of 1,000 watts, not go more than twenty miles per hour, and not be able to go faster than twenty miles per hour.
Additionally, they are also considered vehicles for the purpose of duty and obligation.
If your police officer doesn’t say otherwise, you should always stop at the clearly marked ‘Stop’ line when approaching a ‘Stop’ sign. In road intersections without stop lines, drivers should be alert for approaching traffic on adjoining roads before entering the intersection, or if no crosswalk is available, approaching an intersection directly from its nearest point.
If a vehicle approaches on another roadway so close to the driver that harm can be caused immediately, it must yield the right of way upon stopping. If there is no stop line marked near the yield sign, you must stop your vehicle anywhere with a view over approaching vehicles on the intersecting road before entering.
If a driver slowed down or stopped should yield the right of way to any other vehicle in the intersection or approaching from another road that is so close to your vehicle as to create an immediate danger.
The driver who drives past a yield sign and then collides with a vehicle in an intersection shall be presumed to have failed to yield if he or she does not stop.
Aggressive Driving Laws
In addition to violating a provision with such intent, anyone operating a motor vehicle with the intent to annoy, harass, molestation, intimidate, harm, or obstruct another person may be guilty of aggressive driving.
A person who engages in aggressive driving may be charged with a misdemeanor that entails a high-class offense.
Georgia License Laws
According to House Bill 689, the owner of the bicycle has to register his/her bicycles and failure could cost him/her $100 as a fine. The process also requires a 4 by 7 inch tag. If someone sells his/her bike or bicycle then the license plate will have to be replaced.
Driving Under the Influence
If a person is driving a vehicle or actually in physical control of that vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, then the Georgia laws would make the driver incapable of driving the vehicle safely.
There were many drugs that the person took and was unable to safely drive, as well as glue, aerosols and other toxic vapors inhibited the person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
Accidents and Compensations
While riding on the road, there’s a high probability of getting into an accident any day and anywhere. Like every other state or government, Georgia has some rules regarding accidental issues. Such as-
You should immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of a car accident or as close to the site as possible if you are involved in an accident that causes injury or death to a person or damages a vehicle.
Afterwards, you need to provide your name and address, along with the vehicle’s registration number. If you are requested and if it’s available, then you have to show your operator license.
If necessary, then you must take the injured to medical or surgical treatment immediately, or you have to provide transportation if the injured requests. In the case of unconscious, deceased, or otherwise incapable of speaking injured people, you should seek emergency medical attention as well as local law enforcement.
Even after performing all these possible actions, you still must wait for further action before you leave the scene. Keep in mind, however, that all your actions should not overly hinder traffic flow.
You will be guilty if you fail intentionally to meet all of these requirements and will be penalized by imprisonment for a term not less than one year nor longer than five years if such an accident causes serious injury or death.
There are some other non-serious accidents or damage to a vehicle for which Georgia bicycle law has different punishments. Victims of personal injuries may recover one or more of the following damages. Among the compensation are:
You may have to pay the costs associated with medical care, such as Emergency Room visits, ambulance rides, and prescription medications. If the accident deprived you of the ability to participate in and enjoy the activities that used to be part of your daily routine, you are entitled to receive compensation.
The injuries that result from bicycle accidents can be serious, so accident survivors have typically had to take time off from their jobs. In some cases, the employer may still have to compensate for lost wages, regardless of whether you took sick leave or for personal time or you may have to pay to the victim.
Again, you may be entitled to compensation for lost potential income if the accident rendered you physically disabled or left you with other serious injuries. In some cases, these injuries can be claimed even if somebody was unemployed when they were injured.
The victim or you may suffer physical or emotional injuries as a result of an accident. An accident can cause you to suffer emotional and physical harm for which you could be entitled to compensation. Then your bicycle or other belongings may be damaged due to an accident. If the property was damaged, it is possible to seek compensation for the loss.
The potential damages can range from monetary damages to emotional distress, but each case is unique. Your compensation is heavily influenced by your claim’s strength and your lawyer’s expertise.
Related reading: Connecticut Bicycle Laws
Can you ride a bike on the sidewalk in Georgia?
No, you can not ride a bike on the sidewalk in Georgia. According to the Georgia bicycle law, the bicycles are also considered as vehicles. Because of that, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is illegal. But if you are under thirteen, the local authority may allow you to do so.
Are bicycle helmets required in Georgia?
Yes, you need a bike helmet in Georgia if you are under 16. Georgia requires helmets for cyclists and bicycle passengers under 16 years of age on highways, bicycle lanes, bike paths, and sidewalks.
According to Georgia bike laws, bicycle helmets must comply with standards set by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Snell Memorial Foundation.
The law’s purpose is to ensure that you should only be considered a helmet wearer if the straps are securely fastened to your head.
Do bicycles have to stop at stop signs in Georgia?
According to Georgian bike laws, in a stop sign situation, you should always stop at the clearly marked line unless your police officer tells you otherwise.
There are wonderful cycling opportunities in Georgia, and the state is also a wonderful place for exploring.
Besides a few state and local rules, paying attention to other local ordinances and rules may be necessary. You would rather stay safe and out of trouble than be involved in a dangerous bicycle accident if you are knowledgeable about Georgia bicycle laws. Enjoy your cycling!