As the month of May is bike month in Georgia and throughout the nation, we are reminded about bicycle safety once again. Sadly, those who ride on two wheels are at risk for
bicycle accidents and injuries due to negligent drivers of vehicles.
Many motorists believe that cyclists belong on the sidewalks instead of in the streets with vehicles. Other motorists think that bikes shouldn't even be allowed on city streets, sidewalks, or anywhere close to traffic. These people often feel this way because they are inconvenienced by sharing the road with bicycles, and most of them have never taken the time to understand the laws that pertain to bicycles.
Regardless of anyone's opinion about where bicycles belong, the state of Georgia's message for cyclists is to "get off the sidewalks and get into the streets." In Georgia, Section 40-6-144 states that "no person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon permanent or duly authorized driveway." Since a bicycle is considered a legal vehicle, this applies to bicyclists as well.
Cyclists are required to ride in bicycles lanes or to the farthest right side of any lane, and they also are required to follow the same road rules as motorists. However, motorists' misunderstandings of what cyclists are allowed and required to do often lead to bad stereotypes of cyclists.
If motorists educate themselves about bicycle rules and safety and avoid driving poorly next to bicycles, and if cyclists follow the rules of the road, then maybe less car and bicycle accidents would occur in Georgia. Motorists and cyclists could then learn to coexist.