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Bill aims to improve bike safety

Last week, an amendment to an existing law pertaining to “the riding of bicycles on roadways and bicycle paths” was filed in the Senate by Sen. Miller of the 49th (SB 468).

Under existing law, persons riding bicycles upon a roadway are not allowed to ride more than two abreast except on bicycle paths or lanes or parts of the road set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or when a special event permit is issued (like the events Albany hosts annually).

In short, under current law if you are riding a bicycle with a group and your group is riding on a road that does not have a designated bicycle path or lane, you cannot ride more than two abreast.

This would change under the amendment. If it passes, the amendment will require that all persons riding bicycles on roadways in Georgia shall ride single file. The exceptions to this will again be on bicycle paths or lanes or parts of the road set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or when a special event permit is issued.

I think most safety-conscious cyclists do this anyway. I recall my days at Camp Safety Patrol, up near Cordele, when most of the campers had to take a bicycle safety class. We were between 8 and 10 years of age. It was basic back then that the safe way to ride a bicycle was single file.

If you were side by side and one of you fell toward your friend(s) riding alongside, then two or more cyclists would be wiped out. Of course, on a road with heavy traffic, it could lead to falling in front of a two-ton motor vehicle with disastrous results.

I do occasionally see bicycle groups riding much more than two abreast, but also see motor vehicles cutting it far too close to cyclists riding on the side of the road. The legislative intent on this bill looks like the goal is improving safety on our roads.

This bill was co-sponsored by four other members of the Senate, including one committee chair. It is late in the session and the bill has to move quickly to pass, so we will see whether or not cyclists will soon face blue lights on roadways for ignoring what may become a new law and riding side by side.

Maybe more people should have gone to Camp Safety Patrol?

Michael Meyer von Bremen is an Albany attorney and partner with Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover. A former state senator, he represented the 12th Senate District, which includes Albany, for a decade. He writes a column periodically during the legislative session on issues facing the General Assembly.

Comments

LoneCycler 2 years, 8 months ago

This law is needless and infringes on cyclists ability to talk to each other during group rides. Riding single file also makes it harder to keep a cycling group from stringing out and dropping riders. Are there any plans to make it illegal for motorcyclists to ride two abrest? In the example given, if two motorcyclists were riding side by side and one fell toward the other, wouldn't that wipe out two people also? This law will affect everyone, not just 8 and 10 year olds at summer camp -- even adults who've been riding all their lives and know the main danger on our roads to cyclists is inattentive drivers on cell phones. When will the nannies in the Georgia Senate pass a bill that makes cell phone use illegal while driving? I guess they're not THATserious about safety on the roads, are they?

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 8 months ago

I "share the road" because it's the law of the land, not because I like it. What infuriates me is that some cyclists, conversely, don't follow the law. I've seen some cyclists (not, casual cyclists, but, those with sponsorships pasted all over their "uniforms") running stop signs, etc. I think you'll have to admit, though...it's pretty stupid for you guys to be on Old Dawson Rd, Nottingham Way, etc at 5:15 on a week day.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 8 months ago

I've ridden thousands of miles on a bicycle on all kinds of roads. When we've been with a group, we've always merged from two-abreast to single file in order not to impede traffic from behind and as a safety measure. Riding single file allows vehicles to pass safely (at what is usually a fast closure rate even when observing the speed limit) without having to move over into the oncoming lane, whereas riding two abreast tends to impede traffic flow for vehicles approaching from behind. It's a courtesy. If we cyclists expect courtesy from motor vehicles, we should first extend it to them.

I disagree with your point of view, LoneCycler. But you do exhibit a militant and selfish attitude that many cyclists seem to have.

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