Are Georgia's Cycling Laws Adequate Protection for Motorists and Cyclist?
The death of cyclists usually stirs up strong emotions, especially if no prosecution follows, but others say it is only fair for everyone 'sharing the road' be required to purchase registration, tags and insurance. What say you?
A recent story in Decatur-Avondale Estates Patch highlighted the problem with cycling safety on local streets. It noted that cyclist Dave Mathews, injured in a bad bike wreck 18 months ago, has made cycling safety an issue. His passion on the subject was fueled after a pickup struck and killed cyclist Paul Taylor and authorities announced last week nobody will be prosecuted. The reason the authorities gave was that they don't have the evidence to make a case.
"We're human beings, too," said Mathews, who started a Facebook page about bike safety in Atlanta. "We're not disposable creatures."
Atlanta bicyclists have long complained about motorists being inconsiderate, with many hogging the road and passing them too closely. Loganville went through much the same argument last year when cyclist Mark Jidov was killed by a car while cycling on Broadnax Mill Road. It was taken hard by his family and friends. Not only because they were saddened by the loss of someone very special to them, but also because they believed it was something that could have been avoided. Broadnax Mill Road now carries "Share the Road" signage. It is hoped this will draw attention to the cyclists and cut down on some of the road accidents and deaths.
Matthews has created "Ghost bikes" at some of the accident sites that resulted in cyclist fatalities, hoping to draw attention to the issue. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution story quoted the Atlanta Bicycle Association as saying 28 people died in bike related accidents in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties between 2003 and 2008.
"Just maybe one day there will be a law making them get license insurance, and tag like we do to be on the highway. Its beyond me why they can't use the bike trails that were made for them to ride on. Make them pay some of that money back and then just maybe they will use them it would make it safer on us all," one commenter wrote.
"They frequently DOMINATE Auburn Ave/Old Auburn Rd. I wish they would spread the love around a bit," another wrote.
So do you think the Georgia laws are strong enough to protect both cyclists and motorists who share the road? Do you think that cyclists using the road should be required to register their bikes and purchase tags and insurance?