Georgia on Two Wheels is dedicated to providing our readers with information and news about riding motorcycles and bikes in our beautiful state. As an avid bike rider and Atlanta bicycle injury and accident lawyer, I enjoy bringing readers information on bicycle riding laws and safety. Autumn is a wonderful time of year for cycling as the temperatures fall and the leaves do as well.
Just so you know, the Georgia Department of Transportation is a great place to start when getting ready to ride in Georgia. Bicyclists and pedestrians can get more information at the DOT website. I will be sharing more information on these topics from time to time, but to get started, please check out the great information there. There are detailed plans for many counties in our region for bicyclists and pedestrians, including Cobb County, Dekalb County and metro Atlanta.
In addition, riders need to be aware that there are many Georgia bicycle laws. So before getting out to ride on our streets and roadways, please check out the requirements for equipment and safety. In this post, we will review a few of the critical laws with regard to equipment and in future posts we will share some of the rules of the road for bicycles.
With regard to equipment, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) sections 40-6-292 (a) and (b) provide that riders must be seated on an attached seat and may not ride on handlebars and that bikes may only carry the number of persons for which they were designed and equipped. Although this might seem obvious, it is important to remember that the way riders are seated is important to safety. This is especially a concern for parents with children and teens who might have a tendency to carry a passenger when their bike is not equipped for this.
For example, parents and others carrying infants and children as bike passengers must take note of OCGA section 40-6-292 (c) — a very important provision for carrying infants and children. This law provides that children under the age of one may not be passengers on a bicycle on a highway, roadway, bicycle path, or sidewalk unless certain equipment is used. This provision allows for the transport of young children using an infant sling or bicycle trailer as long as the manufacturer’s instructions are followed and the child is wearing a bicycle helmet.
The Georgia bicycle helmet law (OCGA section 40-6-296 (d) (1)) provides that “[n]o person under the age of 16 years shall operate or be a passenger on a bicycle on a highway, bicycle path, bicycle lane, or sidewalk under the jurisdiction or control of this state or any local political subdivision thereof without wearing a bicycle helmet.” Helmets must be ANSI compliant as stated under subsection (d) (2), “the term ‘bicycle helmet’ means a piece of protective headgear which meets or exceeds the impact standards for bicycle helmets set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.”
In addition, other requirements of OCGA section 40-6-296 subsections (a), (b) and (c), set out the requirements for bike lights for nighttime bicycle operation, proper brakes and the prohibition of “Ape” or “Ape Hanger” high bicycle handlebars. These provisions are very specific and should be consulted. For example, subsection (a) provides that nighttime bike riding requires “a light on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and with a light on the back which shall emit a red light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear. Any bicycle equipped with a red reflector on the rear that is approved by the Department of Public Safety shall not be required to have a light on the rear of the bicycle.”
OCGA section 40-6-293 provides that “[n]o person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.”
If you are interested in getting information about Georgia rides, there are great resources on the web. Bike riders can get information about local rides at Gwinnett Touring Club which covers rides in Northeast Georgia and is a great resource. Learn more about the upcoming Ride of the Fallen Leaves on this cycling enthusiast site.
For guidance and information after a motorcycle or bicycle accident and injury, please contact The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, PLLC. Please contact us to arrange for a free consultation and information about our law practice and how we support our clients during the process of litigating difficult injuries and accidents. We have offices throughout the Atlanta area in Duluth, Buckhead, the Perimeter and Decatur for your convenience.