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Georgia Bicycle Laws

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Posted By Legal Team | February 24 2023 | Bicycle Accidents

In 2019, Georgia ranked as the 19th most bicycle-friendly state in the country and since that time, the state has worked on expanding its network of scenic bike trails along coastal routes like iconic Jekyll Island and in urban areas like Atlanta’s Beltline trails. Georgia’s year-round warm climate also makes it an ideal environment for using a bicycle for daily rides to school, work, or for transportation within the state’s many beautiful communities. But before you take your bike out on the road, our Atlanta bicycle accident lawyers recommend having a clear understanding of Georgia’s bicycle laws to protect yourself and others while you’re enjoying the open air on the open road.

Georgia’s Bike Helmet Law

While safety experts strongly advise all cyclists to wear protective helmets every time they ride a bike in order to protect themselves from traumatic injuries, Georgia law does not require riders over the age of 16 to wear a bike helmet. Teens and children under age 16 must wear a comfortably-fitted helmet approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Where Can I Ride a Bike in Georgia?

Georgia law considers bicycles as vehicles, and as such, they may occupy any roadway other than an interstate highway. They are not required to remain only in bike lanes.

Georgia traffic laws apply to bike riders when laws refer to a “vehicle” though not always when the law refers to a “motor vehicle.” Bicyclists on the roadway are required to follow all traffic signal directions and common road rules at 4-way stops, intersections, and pedestrian crosswalks.

Bike riders in Georgia must ride with the flow of traffic, as close to the right shoulder of the road as safely possible, except when avoiding hazards, making a turn, or riding in lanes with substandard widths. Bicyclists may legally ride two abreast in Georgia. They must pass a vehicle on the left unless road conditions allow them to pass safely on the right without moving off the roadway. Drivers must allow at least 3 feet of clearance between their vehicles and a bicycle when passing.

Bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks unless the rider is under the age of 12.  

Bike Riding at Night in Georgia

When riding a bicycle at night, Georgia riders must have a bike equipped with a white-light headlight visible at least 300 feet in the front. They must also have a red light on the back of the bike that’s visible from a distance of 300 feet. If a bike has a red reflector on the back, it may not require a red light if the reflector is approved by the Georgia Department of Public Safety, according to our motorcycle crash lawyers in Atlanta

Important Incidental Laws for Bike Riding in Georgia

Georgia state law has other requirements and rules for bicyclists, designed to protect them and others. These laws include the following:

  • Bicycles must carry only the number of riders they are equipped to transport, typically one rider unless it’s designed with two or more seats
  • Bicyclists must not ride with passengers on the handlebars
  • Children under a year old must ride in slings on the parent’s body or in an attached bicycle trailer
  • Bicyclists must not attach their bikes to a motor vehicle or cling onto a vehicle for a ride
  • Bike riders must have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times and may not carry more packages than they can safely hold in one hand
  • Bicycle handlebars must allow the rider to hold on to the grips with the hands at shoulder level or below

Georgia is a beautiful state for biking, with hundreds of miles of paved bike routes with both scenic and technical trails. By carefully following bike and traffic laws, riders and motorists can safely share roadways and cyclists can enjoy a transportation option that’s more health-friendly and eco-conscious. For more information about your legal rights in the event of an accident or injury, get in contact with our team of Atlanta personal injury attorneys for help with your bicycle accident claim.

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