In the state of Georgia there are many laws that exist to protect cyclists on the road from drivers. Some of these laws pertain to drivers and what they can and cannot do on the road, and some pertain to cyclists. Since safety is everyone’s responsibility, the totality of the laws for drivers (when cyclists are present) and the laws directed at cyclists create a complex system of legislation intended to protect cyclists in Georgia.
O.C.G.A. Section 4-6-290 and 4-6-291
These two laws set the rules for cyclists in a general sense. Section 4-6-290 tell cyclists what rules they must obey when traveling on the highways and on bike paths. Section 4-6-291 explains the general rules for cyclists when traveling on any road.
O.C.G.A. Section 4-6-292 to 4-6-293
These two sections of the law regarding cyclists have to do with other persons and certain behaviors. For instance, Section 4-6-292 states that no person can ride on the handlebars of a bicycle, rules for transporting a person of under a year old on a bicycle, and further rules for transporting children between one and four years of age. Section 4-6-293 prohibits cyclists in Georgia from attaching themselves to a vehicle on the road. Laws like this are put into place so that cyclists are held responsible for irresponsible behavior that would put them or those riding with them at a greater risk of harm.
O.C.G.A. Section 4-6-294
This law mandates that cyclists in Georgia stay to the right hand of the road while driving. Without a clear indication of where cyclists should ride, motorists would not know where to expect cyclists and it would be much more difficult to prosecute a motorist for an injury to a cyclist. In this way, this mandate actually protects cyclists.
O.C.G.A. Section 4-6-295 Through 4-6-296
These laws require cyclists to wear a helmet, to keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times (and to not carry anything that would make it impossible to follow this rule), and outline the proper equipment that cyclists must carry.
The latter two subsections of this law, 4-6-297 and 4-6-298, tell the criminal penalties that must be handed down to those who break these laws, and provide information about overseeing boards who created the law and who oversee various aspects of it. While it might seem that these laws simply place restrictions on cyclists, they actually protect cyclists. All these laws are intended to do is to prevent cyclists from acting irresponsibly; were these laws not in existence motorists could likely be prosecuted for errors on the cyclist’s part.
However, so long as cyclists are following these rules they will be protected under the law and will have more of a voice in court should a driver cause them injury.