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 (Bronze)
- 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)
People for Bikes City Ratings
The PeopleForBikes City Ratings program is a data-driven approach to evaluate and compare bicycling in U.S. cities and towns.The information gathered is used to study the common factors that make a city or town great for biking. It also includes a comprehensive list of strategies to educate city leaders and decision makers on how to make their cities better for bikes
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. For a more comprehensive listing of cycling events in Georgia, check out our calendar.
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, Peachtree City’s multi-use path system and the Georgia segments of the East Coast Greenway. The PATH Foundation also manages over 300 miles of multi-use trails across Georgia.
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.
US Bicycle Route System in Georgia
There are three primary and three alternative side-loops in Georgia designated within the U.S. Bicycle Route System.
USBR 1 in Georgia parallels the Atlantic coast between South Caroline and Florida.
USBR 15 is being designated in segments and will connect the Florida to North Carolina when it is complete. The present completed route is from Madison, FL to Fitzgerald, GA.
USBR 21 connects Atlanta to the Tennessee border near Chattanooga. It begins in downtown Atlanta at the Five Points MARTA Train Station, connects to the Silver Comet Trail, and follows two-lane country roads through northwest Georgia.
USBR 21 has three designated side-loops along the primary route:
- USBR 221 is an alternate loop that takes cyclists through the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
- USBR 421 is an alternative loop to Mountain Coves Farm, which provides scenic views of nearby Lookout and Pigeon Mountains and the rolling green hills of the valley.
- USBR 621 is an alternative loop that connects through the community of Rome.