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Georgia Biking Back in Full — Spring!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bicycles on georgia roadGeorgians know that our state is a fabulous place for cycling. Our great climate gives us more options to ride throughout the year. And we also enjoy terrain that includes both mountainous regions in the north and flat coastal regions in the south. But as a Georgia bicycle accident lawyer, I am also very aware that there is a great deal to know about safe biking before we get on the road. And now that we are full-swing into the best seasons of the year, I wanted to provide a series of posts about biking in our state.

Georgians are fortunate to have so many cycling opportunities — and here are only a few. Only last month, Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) brought cyclists together for a great ride and lots of fun in the Spring Tune-Up ride. Next month, BRAG brings on one of the greatest cross-state tours in the United States. This “annual odyssey of discovery” takes riders across Georgia by bicycle and is a family-oriented tour in which riders travel their own pace, but on a route set by BRAG’s experts. Riders stay in tents on college campuses or in motels along the route. Tour de Georgia is also a multi-day stage race which brings in a field of professional racers from all over the globe. Yet another fun cycling event is the Rock Eagle Ramble which spans a total of 62 miles, but can also be ridden in smaller increments.

Georgia has many cycling enthusiasts and local organizations that support riding and riders. Even our Georgia Department of Transportation gets into the Georgia cycling excitement by providing riders with great information, not to mention efforts to keep the roads bike-safe. Collaborating with cyclers and with planners, efforts are being made to ensure that motor vehicles and bikes can safely share our roads.

Safety is first and foremost with biking, since often we are sharing the road with motor vehicles. Over the next few posts, I want to remind readers about various aspects of biking safety and that begins with selecting and riding the right bike for you and for the circumstances in which you plan to ride.

If you are about to start biking or are in the market for a new bike, experts recommend that you make sure to choose the right bike for you and the type of riding you are going to do. Consider whether you need a road bike — whether that is a racing bike for speed or a touring bike for longer trips — depending on the types of trips you intend to take. Perhaps you want to ride off road and need a mountain bike. These bikes are built specifically for this type of ride, but you really need to be sure this is the type of bike you want since these bikes are not meant for road biking. Another option is a hybrid bike that is something between road and mountain and will ride well for city or road biking and paved trail riding. Recumbent bikes are lower to the ground and we often see these bikes with a flag on the back to improve visibility.

Electric bikes are also an option and these are becoming more popular. These bikes are powered by electric motors, but are not scooters and still need pedal power. These bikes are in a specific class on their own. Georgia defines these bikes as a two- or three-wheeled device with fully operative pedals and a small electric motor. However, the motor may not be greater than 1000 watts and cannot be greater than 100 pounds.

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-1-1 defines an electric assisted bicycle as: “A device with two or three wheels which has a saddle and fully operative pedals for human propulsion and also has an electric motor. For such a device to be considered an electric assisted bicycle, it shall meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as set forth in 49 C.F.R. Section 571, et seq., and shall operate in such a manner that the electric motor disengages or ceases to function when the brakes are applied. The electric motor in an electric assisted bicycle shall: (A) Have a power output of not more than 1,000 watts; (B) Be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground; and (C) Be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device at or more than 20 miles per hour.”

In future posts we will share more information on Georgia cycling. Ride safely and enjoy!!

f you or a loved one has been injured while riding a bicycle and the injuries might have been caused by the negligence of another person, driver or manufacturer, help is available to support your medical and legal needs. Please contact me for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your accident or injury and an evaluation of your legal rights.