Georgia Bikes – Great tips and resources
This Bike Month, Georgia Bikes is compiling resources to help you stay safe on the road! Below, you’ll see links to Georgia’s state laws for bicycles, our digital pocket guide, and outside resources. While thorough, this list is by no means exhaustive. Please reach out to our Safety Education Programs Manager for more safe cycling information!
Here are our tips on riding safely and preventing crashes:
- Be visible. Wear bright or reflective clothing and use front and rear lights when riding in low light or at night.
Don’t settle for the bare minimum on lights! Just because you’re only required to—at a minimum—use a red rear reflector on your bike at night doesn’t mean that it’s all you need! A blinking or flashing red light helps draw more attention to you when you ride in low-light conditions.
And don’t just light up at night! Be prepared for varying conditions, even during daytime. A set of blinking front and rear lights helps draw a motorist’s eyes to you.
Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a white front light visible from a distance of 300 feet and with a red rear light visible from a distance of 300 feet or a red rear reflector. (GA Code § 40-6-296 (2020). For more information, see the Georgia Bikes Bicyclist Pocket Guide)
Ride predictably. Flow with the direction of traffic as if you were driving a car, signal your intentions to turn and change lanes, and maintain a consistent line of travel. Don’t weave in and out of lanes.
Riding predictably and consistently not only protects you from most collision incidents, it also helps protect you from liability in the event of a crash!
Ride defensively. Be prepared for motorists not seeing you. Even a person wearing bright clothing can be difficult to see in certain conditions. Distracted driving is a serious issue—never assume that a motorist sees you!
Watch for clues that a motorist may not have seen you when you approach an intersection. While we hope that all road users are attuned to their surroundings, we shouldn’t assume! Make eye contact to verify that the driver sees you approaching and watch the vehicle’s wheels to see if they begin rolling—this will help you take action if the driver does begin to pull into your space.
Most crashes between bikes and cars occur at intersections.(Georgia Bikes Bicyclist Pocket Guide)
Be extra vigilant around parked vehicles. You might know the Dutch Reach, but don’t assume that everyone else does! Stay aware if you’re riding in the “door zone” and take the lane if necessary to avoid a dooring incident.
Taking the Lane: Every person riding a bicycle may “take the lane” 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 when passing a standing or parked vehicle. (Georgia Bikes Bicyclist Pocket Guide)
If your route passes street-side parking where the cars are parked head-in, always watch for clues that a vehicle may be about to move. Reverse lights and rolling wheels are signals that the driver exiting their parking spot may not have seen you!
Learn and use safe riding techniques. See if your local advocacy organization offers safe cycling classes, and check out our Bicyclist Pocket Guide for helpful tips and illustrations.
Georgia Bikes and your local advocacy organization are great resources for learning safe riding techniques! Our Smart Cycling classes are led by League of American Bicyclists-certified instructors and help you gain and practice the skills to stay safe on the road!
Learn more about how to stay safe out on the road on our SAFE CYCLING TIPS page on our website, or in our Bicyclist Pocket Guide.
Head to Toe Safety Tips for Children
SafeKids.org is a great resource for parents and guardians of children.
- Helmet Fit Test – click here
- Enjoy The Ride – watch video
- Helmet Activity Sheet – click here
- All About Helmets – click here
- Georgia Laws and Cycling – read more
Bike Alpharetta believes …
- Bicycling on paths, streets and trails should be safe.
- Bicycling infrastructure should enable access to people of all ages and abilities for mobility purposes (recreation, sport, transportation).
- Bicycling is an integral part of a multi-modal transportation system.
- Bicycling positively transforms our community by offering an option for user mobility, strengthening the economy, improving the environment, and promoting an active, healthy lifestyle.
3 Feet – It’s the Law
Bicycle Safety in Georgia – read all about it here from Georgia Office of Highway Safety. We need to promote and enforce the 3-Foot Law in Georgia – read more
The Science of Being Seen: A Guide to Safer Riding
(repost of article from Bicycling.com, Jan. 12, 2017 by Joe Lindsey)
On a straight, flat, windswept section of US 36 north of Boulder, I see a rider far ahead. At this distance, normally I wouldn’t be able to make out another cyclist, but the blinking red light, with an irregular low-low-bright-low pattern, is unmistakable, even from over a quarter mile away…
- several studies find that for a driver to perceive an unexpected object, recognize it and act (either to slow the car or steer it away from the object) typically takes about 1.25 to 2 seconds
- Overconfidence in our own visibility is particularly a problem at night, when we don’t see nearly as well as we think we do.
- Conspicuity is slightly different than visibility in that it includes an element of identification
- Correctly identifying an object, rather than just noticing it, can mean the difference between a driver simply reacting, and reacting properly.
- Fluorescent material reflects non-visible ultraviolet light back in the visible spectrum, making it look about 200 percent brighter in daylight than conventional colors.
- At night your fluorescent yellow jacket is no brighter than anything else in your closet.
- At night, your best bet for visibility shifts from bright colors to reflective material, which shines (literally and figuratively) in artificial light.
Protect Yourself with A Camera
The Ride Of Silence is held each May around the world to honor injured and fallen cyclists; the organization and many of its organizers work the rest of the year to prevent fatal bike crashes & collisions and believes that CyclistVideoEvidence.com shares the same mission/ goal. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association the number one reason cyclists do not ride is fear of riding on the roads. Leading academic research tells us the top reason cyclists stop riding are near misses, and the top reason potential cyclists don’t take up cycling is perceived risk.
CyclistVideoEvidence.com works to encourage cyclists to ride with cameras and to report any egregious near miss incidents to their free Incident Management System (IMS). Using the IMS cyclists can track and analyze their incidents, map their incidents, and search for repeat offenders, before future collisions occur.
CyclistVideoEvidence.com also works with law enforcement and the legal system to remove the 10 Legal Barriers to Cycling Safetyby securing legal precedents, and holding our legal system accountable for enforcing the laws. Together with The Ride Of Silence, our mission is to prevent future collisions and the need for future Rides of Silence. More details regarding our collaboration will soon follow. In the meantime, please ride with a camera, encourage your cycling community to ride with cameras and to submit all egregious near miss incident reports to CyclistVideoEvidence.com.
Cycling Safety in a Priority
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has some resources so you can understand the rules of the road, learn how to properly wear helmet, and lots of useful resources. The links for many safety resources are provided below. Please share the information to help save lives!
- What are the Georgia Laws on Bicycling? – read more
- Can I ride my bike on the sidewalk in Georgia? – only if you are 12 years old and younger
- How do I know if my helmet fits? – check out the two-finger rule
- Georgia Bike Sense Guide – click here
- Georgia Bicycle Laws – click here
- People for Bikes – click here
- Bikes Belong – click here
- League of American Bicyclists – click here
- Georgia Bikes – click here
The League of American Bicyclists provides a number of resources on its web site, including a series of informational videos. These are part of the online Smart Cycling program, designed to develop your knowledge of bicycling safety by using different interactive components. Check out the link here to learn techniques for improving your ride, your rights as a bicyclist and how to ride safely on the road.
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