Spring time brings a number of annual rituals that Georgians enjoy: warmer weather, The Masters golf tournament, and spring flowers, to name a few. For bicycling enthusiasts, spring marks a chance to pursue their passion. However, a bill that aimed to reduce bicycle accidents nearly changed how cyclists could ride on Georgia roads.
Senator Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) proposed a bill that would have required bicyclists to ride single file while on streets. It met heavy resistance, as bicycle advocacy groups such as Georgia Bikes and Wheel Movement argued that the new format would create significant safety risks for riders. They testified before the Senate Transportation Committee and explained that drivers would be less likely to see single-file riders, and that they would be more inclined to pass them without the three-foot barrier required by law. After all, it would be difficult for even the most incompetent driver to see a group of bicyclists compared to a single line of riders.
Better Options Exist
After hearing testimony, Senator Miller confirmed that he would not seek passage of the bill. Instead, he pledged to work with bicycle advocacy groups on a Complete Streets policy that would harmonize different modes of transportation. The emphasis of the policy will be that public roads should be designed for automobiles, bicyclists and pedestrians alike, and should include facilities that improve safety and access for users. Safety advocates and Atlanta personal injury attorneys are hopeful that the new policy will be beneficial for bicyclists in Atlanta.
In the meantime, education is a key component in promoting safety and preventing accidents. While there are certain advantages in riding with friends, riders cannot be complacent when it comes to safety. Even in groups, bicyclists share a responsibility for knowing (and obeying) traffic laws.