BICYCLING IN GEORGIA
Georgia offers a wide variety of experiences for recreational, competitive, touring, and commuting cyclist. This information is offered to give “the lay of the land” for people interesting in learning more about bicycling in the state.
Bicycle Friendly State Ranking
Bicycle Friendly Communities
Since the creation of the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community program in 1995 there have been over 1500 community applications processed by League staff. There are currently 488 recognized Bicycle Friendly Communities and nearly 100 Honorable Mention communities. Georgia is home to 12 Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Communities.
Bicycle Friendly Universities
The League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly University Program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors. The BFU program provides the roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling. Bicycle friendly universities in Georgia:
- University of Georgia, Athens (Bronze)
- Kennesaw State University, Marietta (Bronze)
- Emory University, Atlanta (Silver)
- Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville
- University of West Georgia, Carrollton (Bronze)
- Columbus State University (Bronze)
- Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw(Bronze)
- Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (Gold)
- Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah (Bronze)
Bicycle Organizations in Georgia
Georgia has a strong contingent of bicycle advocacy organizations, recreational road riding clubs, mountain bike clubs, and groups organized to build and promote trails and Greenways. You can find links to these organizations, along with state agencies that deal with cycling issues in our directory of bicycle organizations in Georgia.
Bicycle Tourism in Georgia
Explore Georgia, a website maintained by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, maintains a Great Places to Bike in Georgia page on its website. Bikabout has also produced city guides for Savannah, Athens, and Atlanta. The Adventure Cycling Association offers information on US Bike Route 1 in Georgia on its website. Bike Walk Savannah produces an annual BikeSAV Map and Guide. Bike Athens publishes a similar map.
Municipal and regional trail systems popular with bicycle tourists include the Silver Comet Trail, Atlanta’s BeltLine, the Jekyll Island Trail system, and the Georgia segments of the East Coast Greenway.
Laws and Regulations
In Georgia, as in most states, a bicycle is legally a “vehicle.” This classification means that general vehicular traffic law applies to the operation of a bicycle. However, the vehicular code and various regulations include many qualifications for specific classes of vehicles. Wherever the code or regulation uses the phrase “vehicle,” that section applies to all vehicles, including bicycles. When the term “motor vehicle” is used, the code does not apply to bicycles. Review Georgia state laws related to bicycling and request a copy of our Bicyclist Pocket Guide.
State Bicycle Routes
In 1997, the State Transportation Board (GDOT’s governing body) approved a Bicycle & Pedestrian State Network Plan, which designates 14 routes, covering 2,943 miles of Georgia roadways, for intra- and inter-state bicycle travel. The State Bike Route Network map was updated in 2010 and is published as an aid for transportation, recreational, and touring cycling. The map indicates general traffic levels on state roadways with colors from green (low volume) to red (high volume); roads with a minimum four foot shoulder are outlined in black.
Several cities, such as Athens and Savannah, have their own local bike maps that are much more accurate for trip planning in those areas. The Adventure Cycling Association has a several blog posts about bike touring in GA, bike overnights on the Silver Comet, and Georgia’s integration with the national US Bicycle Route System as well.
We are partnering with GDOT to review and develop strategic recommendations for improving several key statewide bike routes in the coming years.
Important Note: The designation of these routes is primarily for planning purposes. Few, if any, of the designated state bike routes are actually bicycle friendly as of today. Most routes are high-speed highways with heavy truck traffic. Bicycle facilities are scarce and/or disconnected. Before using one of these routes, be sure to consult Google Street View or a similar service to assess actual roadway conditions. In most cases, you will enjoy a safer, more pleasant ride if you opt for county or local roads that parallel these state routes. We are working closely with GDOT to ensure that the designated state routes will include bike lanes, bikable shoulders, and wayfinding signage whenever possible.