Legalese — Passing a Bicycle

bicycle bike

Now that it is July, the laws that were passed in the last legislative session all come into effect.  Since “ignorance of the law is no excuse” and since it is virtually impossible to keep up with all the changes, I try to keep up at least with the ones that affect our day to day lives the most. 

One of the changes that you might encounter on a pretty regular basis is now motor vehicles and bicycles are supposed to interact on the road.  It used to be that if you were driving a car and you saw a bicycle on the side of the road, you were supposed to keep three feet away from the bicycle.  It’s now a little bit more complicated than that. 

Now, you are supposed to change lanes “into a lane not adjacent to the bicycle if possible in the existing road and traffic conditions.”  In other words, it’s not enough to scootch over anymore, if it’s safe, you have to change lanes altogether. 

If it isn’t safe, or if it is against the law (you don’t have to move into oncoming traffic, for example) you have to slow waaaaay down.  Slowing waaaaay down is statutorily defined as being at least ten miles under the speed limit or 25 miles per hour, whichever is more.  Then, even though you are slowing waaaaay down, you still have to scootch over[1] at least three feet away from the bicyclist.  So if there isn’t room to get around the bicyclist leaving three feet around you just have to wait until you can get around before passing the bicyclist.  Will this make you late to wherever you are going?  Perhaps, but better late and safe. 

Like most traffic laws in Georgia, this one is technically a misdemeanor, and comes with a fine up to $250.00

[1] No, this is not a legal term, but it should be.

Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice. It is being offered for informational purposes only.

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