Keep Calm and Bike On

Columbus Police Department is cracking down on Columbus bicycle riders who fail to follow the state and local laws. In Columbus, the main issues are caused by cyclists who either ride on roads and don’t follow the laws or who illegally ride on sidewalks. In the State of Georgia, it is against the law for a cyclist older than 12 years of age to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk. Georgia Law has also been amended as it relates to motor vehicles and traffic, so as to provide for safer bicycle riding for bicyclists and the motoring public.  The law has changed provisions relating to riding on roadways and bicycle paths and specifically requires that motor vehicles on roadways must provide a safe distance between such motor vehicles and bicycles when such vehicles are passing a bicycle (at least three (3) feet).  The law also changes the provisions for bicycle safety equipment and laws related to minors as passengers or as operators of bicycles on the roadway.

In the city of Columbus, an ordinance prohibits the riding of bicycles on sidewalks in the “central business district” which covers most of downtown. Columbus Police are concerned that bicyclist might injury someone by riding on the sidewalks. They have been issuing warning tickets to cyclists caught riding on the downtown sidewalks. This “warning” period is scheduled to end the week of November 1. Any cyclist caught disobeying the law after that point will be issued a citation. The fine for a citation like this can range from probation to $1,000 depending on which Recorder’s Court judge is hearing the case.

“Once that bicycle hits the road it is a vehicle and is subject to the same laws as other vehicles.” – Major J.D. Hawk (via The Ledger Enquirer)

As a cyclist, what can you do?

1.Be Predictable. Signal your intentions to others

2.Go with the flow of traffic. Drivers are not expecting to see bicyclists approaching them from the front

3.Be ready to always stop at driveways and intersections

4.Do not be distracted by electronics (texting, music, etc.)

5.Watch for uneven pavement, potholes, storm grates or other roadway hazards.

6.Make yourself and bike visible at all times, especially at night by wearing bright or reflective clothing

As a driver, what can you do?

1.Be Predictable to others. Signal your intentions and anticipate what others may do

2.Turf off cell phones

3.Allow enough room when passing bicyclist, as you would when passing another vehicle. A single lane does not give enough room to both a vehicle and a bicyclist.

4.Stop and give assistance if you strike a bicyclist, call 911 as necessary. Driving away from any collision constitutes a hit-and-run.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a cyclist, riding a bicycle, or has been issued a citation regarding the Georgia Cyclist Laws, The Casto Law Firm can help. Give us a call (706) 940-4002.