Basics of Georgia Bicycle Laws

Adults

-Bicycles are expected to abide by most of the same laws governing motor vehicles (statute 40-6-291)

-Adults (or anyone over 12 years old) cannot ride on sidewalks unless the path is a multi-use path (statute 40-6-144)

-Bicycles must have working white front light and red rear reflector (statute 40-6-269 (a) )

Children

-Children under 1 years old may be transported by bike in a certified baby sling or bicycle trailer (statute 40-6-292 (c) )

-Children between 1 and 4 years old must be securely fastened in bicycle passenger seats, bicycle trailer, or infant sling (statute 40-6-292 (d) )

-Children 16 years and younger must wear a bicycle helmet with approved safety standard (statute 40-6-296 (e-1) )

Georgia Bicycle-Related Legal Statutes

40-6-55.

Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter relating to operating a vehicle on a roadway, where a bicycle lane is provided on the roadway, the operator of a motor vehicle shall yield to a person operating a bicycle in a bicycle lane.

40-6-56.

(a) As used in this Code section, the term ‘safe distance’ means not less than three feet.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, when feasible, the operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between such vehicle and the bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

40-6-290.
The provisions of this part applicable to bicycles shall apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon a highway or upon any
path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, subject to those exceptions stated in this part.

40-6-291.
(a) The provisions of this chapter that apply to vehicles, but not exclusively to motor vehicles, shall apply to bicycles, except that the penalties prescribed in subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-390, subsection (c) of Code Section 40-6-391, and subsection (a) of Code Section 40-6-393 shall not apply to persons riding bicycles.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 40-6-50, any person operating a bicycle may ride upon a paved shoulder; provided, however, that such person shall not be required to ride upon a paved shoulder.
(c) Any person operating a bicycle may signal a right turn with his or her right arm and hand extended horizontally or with his or her left hand and arm extended upward.

40-6-292.
(a) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto and shall allow no person to ride upon the handlebars.
(b) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
(c) No person shall transport a child under the age of one year as a passenger on a bicycle on a highway, roadway, bicycle path, or sidewalk; provided, however, that a child under the age of one year may be transported on a bicycle trailer or in an infant sling so long as such child is seated in the bicycle trailer or carried in an infant sling according to the bicycle trailer’s or infant sling’s manufacturer’s instructions, and the bicycle trailer is properly affixed to the bicycle according to the bicycle trailer’s manufacturer’s instructions or the infant sling is properly worn by the rider of the bicycle according to the infant sling’s manufacturer’s instructions and such child transported in a bicycle trailer or infant sling is wearing a bicycle helmet as required under paragraph (1) of subsection (e) of Code Section 40-6-296.
(d) No child between the ages of one year and four years shall ride as a passenger on a bicycle or bicycle trailer or be transported in an infant sling unless the child is securely seated in a child passenger bicycle seat, bicycle trailer, or infant sling according to the child passenger bicycle seat’s, bicycle trailer’s, or infant sling’s manufacturer’s instructions and the child passenger seat or bicycle trailer is properly affixed to the bicycle according to the child passenger bicycle seat’s or bicycle trailer’s manufacturer’s instructions or the infant sling is worn according to the infant sling’s manufacturer’s instructions.
(e) Violation of subsections (c) and (d) of this Code section shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se or be considered evidence of negligence or liability.
(f) No person under the age of 16 years failing to comply with subsections (c) and
(d) of this Code section may be fined or imprisoned.

40-6-293.
No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.

40-6-294.
(a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when turning left or avoiding hazards to safe cycling, when the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle, when traveling at the same speed as traffic, or while exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction; provided, however, that every person operating a bicycle away from the right side of the roadway shall exercise reasonable care and shall give due consideration to the other applicable rules of the road. As used in this subsection, the term “hazards to safe cycling” includes, but is not limited to, surface debris, rough pavement, drain grates which are parallel to the side of the roadway, parked or stopped vehicles, potentially opening car doors, or any other objects which threaten the safety of a person operating a bicycle.As used in this Code section, the term ‘hazards to safe cycling’ includes, but shall not be limited to, surface debris, rough pavement, drain grates which are parallel to the side of the roadway, parked or stopped vehicles, potentially opening car doors, or any other objects which threaten the safety of a person operating a bicycle.
(b) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
(c) Whenever a usable path has been provided adjacent to a roadway and designated for the exclusive use of bicycle riders, then the appropriate governing authority may require that bicycle riders use such path and not use those sections of the roadway so specified by such local governing authority. The governing authority may be petitioned to remove restrictions upon demonstration that the path has become inadequate due to capacity, maintenance, or other causes.
(d) Paths subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section shall at a minimum be required to meet accepted guidelines, recommendations, and criteria with respect to planning, design, operation, and maintenance as set forth by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and such paths shall provide accessibility to destinations equivalent to the use of the roadway.
(e) Electric assisted bicycles as defined in Code Section 40-1-1 may be operated on bicycle paths.

40-6-295.
No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or other article which prevents him from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.

40-6-296.
(a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a light on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department of Public Safety which shall be visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlights on a motor vehicle. A light emitting a red light visible from a distance of 300 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
(b) Every bicycle sold or operated shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level pavement.
(c) No bicycle shall be equipped or operated while equipped with a set of handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate his hands above his shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.
(d) No bicycle shall be equipped, modified, or altered in such a way as to cause the pedal in its lowermost position to be more than 12 inches above the ground, nor shall any bicycle be operated if so equipped.
(e)(1) No person under the age of 16 years shall operate or be a passenger on a
bicycle on a highway, bicycle path, or sidewalk
under the jurisdiction or control of this state or any local political subdivision thereof without wearing a bicycle helmet.
(2) For the purposes of this subsection, 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.
(3) For the purposes of this subsection, a person shall be deemed to wear a helmet only if a helmet of good fit is fastened securely upon the head with the straps of the helmet.
(4) No bicycle without an accompanying protective bicycle helmet shall be rented or leased to or for the use of any person under the age of 16 years unless that person is in possession of a bicycle helmet at the time of the rental or lease.
(5) Violation of any provision of this subsection shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se or be considered evidence of negligence or liability.
(6) No person under the age of 16 failing to comply with any provision of this subsection may be fined or imprisoned.

40-6-297.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell a new bicycle or a pedal for use on a bicycle unless the pedals on such bicycle or such pedals are equipped with reflectors of a type approved by the Department of Public Safety. The reflector on each pedal shall be so designed and situated as to be visible from the front and rear of the bicycle during darkness from a distance of 200 feet. The commissioner of public safety is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations and establish standards for such reflectors.
(b) This Code section shall not apply to any bicycle purchased prior to July 1, 1972, by a retailer for the purpose of resale. (see HB101)

40-6-298.
(a) It is a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this part.
(b) The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit such child or ward to violate any of the provisions of this part.

40-6-299.
The Board of Public Safety is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to carry this part into effect and is authorized to establish regulations for any additional safety equipment or standards it shall require for bicycles.

40-6-144
The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road, or driveway within a business or residential district shall stop such vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across such alley, building entrance, road, or driveway or, in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon. The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk. Except as provided by resolution or ordinance of a local government for sidewalks within the jurisdiction of such local government authorizing the operation of bicycles on sidewalks by persons 12 years of age or younger, no person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized driveway.

These were taken directly from the Georgia Department of Transportation Website’s bicycle laws print out available here (pdf).

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