It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Georgia. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).
This is a general overview of Georgia’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit Georgia’s Department of Transportation. For any questions about this State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact Georgia’s Bike Law Attorney Bruce Hagan directly.
Right to the Road
Bicycles are defined as vehicles and generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers, with certain specified exceptions.
Where to Ride
- Bicyclists are required to ride as near to the right of the roadway as practicable and safe, when riding below the speed limit, except when overtaking vehicles, turning, avoiding hazards, or when riding in a substandard width lane.
- Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic, even in bike lanes.
- Bike lanes in Georgia are for the exclusive use of bicyclists and bicyclists are not required to use them unless there is a local ordinance requiring it. Motor vehicle drivers must yield to a bicyclist within a bike lane on the roadway.
- Bicyclists over the age of 12 are not legally permitted to ride on sidewalks unless a local ordinance allows. Check local ordinances for variations on this rule.
HOW TO RIDE
- Bicyclists shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
- Bicyclists are required to slow down and come to a complete stop at stop signs and traffic devices signaling red.
- Bicyclists must signal when turning or coming to a stop.
Bicyclists Overtaking Cars
Bicyclists on roadways may pass motor vehicles on the right only if conditions permit the movement safely and can be done without riding off the roadway, otherwise bicyclists should pass on the left.
Cars Overtaking Bicyclists
Motor vehicle drivers are required to pass bicyclists at a safe distance of not less than three (3) feet clearance between the bicycle and motor vehicle.
- Bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear a properly fastened helmet.
- At night, a bicycle must be equipped with a front white headlight visible from 300 feet away and a rear red reflector or red light visible from at least 300 feet away.
- Every bicycle must have a brake which enables the bicyclist to make braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
- Clinging to motor vehicles while bicycling is not permitted.
- A bicycle may not carry more than the number of persons for which it is designed.
- Children under the age of one year may not be passengers on a bicycle unless in an infant sling or in a properly affixed bicycle trailer.
- Bicycle handlebars may not be raised requiring the operator to elevate their hands above the operator’s shoulders in order to ride.
- Bicyclists must keep at least one hand on the handlebars when operating a bicycle.
A uniformed police officer may stop and inspect a bicycle at any time upon reasonable cause that a bicycle is unsafe or not equipped as required by law.
Georgia’s DUI statute does apply to people riding bicycles but the penalties for bicyclists do not apply the same as they do with motor vehicle drivers.