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Georgia enforcing new bike law this week with hefty fines

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 11:29 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgia lawmakers are getting serious when it comes to sharing the road with bike riders. A new law takes effect Thursday, July 1 and it carries a hefty fine for ignoring it. The law is really about saving lives.

The new law is pretty specific. It spells out how cars should respond to passing bikers and there are consequences for not sharing the road.

“Cyclists and cars want the exact same thing, we want to be as far away from each other as quick as possible without incident, so hopefully this will allow that to happen,” said Brett Ardrey, Outspokin Bicycle Shop.

The new law means you’ll have to give cyclists three feet of space, if the lane next to you is open get over, and if you’re worried about the double yellow line, it’s all fine. You can cross it if there’s no oncoming traffic. But it’s not just up to drivers.

“It’s going to make it a responsibility for the cyclist not to be too close to the middle lane,” said Ardrey.

Bicyclists should be about 18 to 24 inches out from the curb. And although the wheels are turning in the right direction, the biggest concern is enforcement.

“I think if motorists are not abiding and they’re seen by law enforcement they need to get ticketed, you know because the greatest law in the books isn’t going to mean anything if it’s not enforced,” said Randy Duteau, Georgia Bikes! Board Member.

And it’s not a cheap fine, $250. Compared to an average $540,000 national ER visits, 23 people killed locally in 2015, and up to the most recent death on March 16.

“You know were school teachers, were pastors, were doctors in the community and I think that when you’ve seen so much division between motorists and cyclists they stop seeing there’s a person on that bicycle,” said DuTeau.

And Deteau says they’re just asking for some consideration, bicyclists want to be safe and keep drivers safe so everyone can make it back home.

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