Bicycle Safety

Practice bicycle safety every time you ride.

Bicycle riders are part of the traffic and share the road with automobile drivers. They must stop at stop signs, obey traffic lights, and most other traffic laws and signs. Bicycle riders must ride near the right hand curb or edge of the roadway but they can legally move left to turn left, to pass another vehicle or bicycle, or to avoid dangerous conditions such as parked cars.

Every year in the United States, bicycle-related deaths number about 900 and emergency rooms treat almost 500,000 people for bicycle-related injuries, most to the head. Bike mishaps in the U.S. send more children to the ER than any other sport. Proper use of a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 88%. In Georgia, children under the age of 16 riding a bike or as a passenger on a bike are required by law to wear a helmet.

Regardless of your age, it's wise to follow these bicycle safety tips:

  • A bicyclist must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
  • No bicycle may be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
  • A child under the age of 1 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. The child must wear a bicycle helmet at all times when being transported on a bicycle.
  • Bicyclists 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.
  • 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.
  • A bicycle operating at night shall be equipped with a light on the front visible from 300 feet and a red reflector on the rear, visible from 300 feet. 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.
  • Handlebars should not be raised higher than shoulder level and pedals cannot be positioned more than 12 inches above ground.
  • A bicyclist under the age of 16 shall not ride or be a passenger on a highway, bicycle path, or sidewalk without wearing a bicycle helmet.
  • Ride with traffic - only persons walking on the roadway should face traffic.
  • Ride in a straight line except when necessary to make a turn, avoid hitting someone or something, or drive over water drains, railroad tracks, holes, or other hazards.
  • Use a hand signal just as drivers of automobiles do before turning left or right.
  • However, bicyclists may signal for a right turn by holding the right arm straight out pointing right.
  • Ride as near the right curb or edge of the street as practical when riding slower than other vehicles. On one-way streets with two or more lanes, ride near either left or right curb or edge of the street. When passing parked cars, look through the rear windows to see if there is someone in a car who may open a door in your path. If there is, or if you cannot see into a vehicle, check traffic behind you and move out far enough to avoid the door if it should open
  • Use bicycle lanes, where marked on streets, when riding slower than other vehicles. Leaving marked bicycle lanes is permitted, when necessary, to overtake or pass another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian; to prepare for a left turn at an intersection or driveway; or to avoid debris or other dangerous conditions but only when it is safe arid after giving a correct hand signal.
  • Get off the bicycle and "walk" it across using the crosswalks at busy intersections.
  • Do not permit anyone to ride as a passenger unless using a separate seat attached to the bike. If the passenger is a child weighing 40 pounds or less, the seat must have a device to hold the child in place and protect him/her from the bike's moving parts.
  • Do not carry anything that prevents holding the handlebars with at least one hand. "No hands" riding is dangerous.
  • Do not "hitch rides" by holding on to or attaching the bike to any other vehicle.
  • Do not ride on freeways that have signs prohibiting bicycles.
  • Do not park a bicycle on its side, or so there is no room for persons walking on the sidewalks.