“Share the Road” getting more serious in Georgia

July 1, 2021 @ 8:49 AM ET

ATLANTA – When it comes to sharing the road with bikers, Georgia politicians are getting serious. A new law goes into effect today, and breaking it will result in a hefty fine.

The new law is clear. It specifies how motorists should react to passing cyclists, as well as the penalties for ignoring it.

According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, “When passing a bicyclist, a driver must move over into the adjacent lane if it is safe and legal to do so. If unable to move over, the driver must slow down to a speed that is either ten miles below the posted speed limit or 25mph, whichever is higher. As currently required by law, drivers must also allow at least 3 feet of room between their vehicle and a bicyclist when passing.”

In summary:

1. If there’s an available lane, you have to get over.
2. You can cross a double yellow or white line to give three feet of space.
3. If you can’t cross the line because of oncoming traffic, you have to slow down to at least 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit when passing.

These new requirements will expand upon § 40-6-56, which says:
(a) As used in this Code section, the term “safe distance” means not less than three feet.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, when feasible, the operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between such vehicle and the bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

Bicyclists have responsibilities too, as outlined by § 40-6-294.

Violators will be guilty of a misdemeanor and face a $250 fine.