Just in time for National Bike Month, Georgia’s roads will soon be safer for its many bicyclists. On May 11th, Governor Nathan Deal will endorse efforts to improve bicycling conditions and road safety in Georgia by signing HB 101, “The Better Bicycling Bill,” into law.
At a 4:30 PM signing ceremony in his capitol building office, Governor Deal will enact HB 101, joined by Board members and staff from Georgia Bikes!, the statewide bicycling advocacy group who pushed for passage of the bill.
HB 101 modernizes a host of outdated bicycling laws in the state code and also implements a number of significant improvements for bicyclist and motorist safety. 101 makes lawful the sale and use of clipless pedals and recumbent-style bicycles, both popular and widely used in Georgia, which are technically illegal under the old code. Other changes include recognition of bicyclists’ right-of-way in dedicated bike lanes, establishing minimum design guidelines for bicycle lanes, and clarifying circumstances under which a cyclist may take the full travel lane due to unsafe conditions or obstructions.
Most significantly, however, a Senate amendment to the bill defines three feet as the minimum safe passing distance for motor vehicles overtaking cyclists. With the adoption of this law, Georgia joins sixteen other states that have made a “three foot passing” commitment to bicycling safety. Motor vehicles passing a cyclist too closely, known as “buzzing,” are a serious factor in causing bicycle crashes.
In a addition to the Governor and huge majorities of in the Senate and House, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle strongly supported HB 101. “This legislation updates some of Georgia’s cycling laws and includes the critically important three-foot minimum passing distance requirement,” he says. “Under this new law, both cyclists and motorists will all be able to operate on Georgia’s roads more safely.”
Georgia Bikes’ Executive Director Brent Buice also applauds the enactment of bill, noting that “the three foot passing provision in HB 101 is a tremendous safety improvement for Georgia’s cyclists. HB 101 will help create the conditions that surveys show Georgians want: safer, more comfortable conditions for cycling.”