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. 

But when this story was posted on the Dacula Patch and Buford Patch Facebook pages, it drew a strong response from motorists.

"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?

j miller October 01, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Elizabeth, I appreciate your clarification, and apologize for my sarcasm. I've been told it (sarcasm) isn't one of my more endearing traits. I also appreciate your concern for two wheel safety. You are absolutely correct about the reduced margin of error riding a motorcycle or a bicycle. I've found that consistency with abiding by the rules of the road increases the safety of cyclists and motorist alike. A bicycle is a legal vehicle on the roads of Ga., and we should stop at signs, signal for all turns, and don't text and ride. (sorry couldn't help a little joke), and abide by the same laws as drivers. Thanks for your patience with the cyclists on Harbins. Hope they read this and adjust their behavior.
spokes October 02, 2012 at 12:25 PM
My apologies to the other posters here. I don't mean to come off as a cyclist with an attitude. I commute to work every day on my bike, most of the time of which is rather pleasant. Until you come up against people like NJ4 there. I'm just a husband, father, taxpayer...just trying to get to work. I go out of my way to yield to cars, I do not block traffic, and I try to take less traveled roads so I do not run into the NJ4 types. These are the type of people that no matter what a cyclist does, they will buzz close to a cyclist as a means of intimidation. Then have the nerve to come onto a public forum like this and toss out mindless threats. NJ4, be careful. More and more of us are riding with cameras on our bikes now... I
NJ4America October 02, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Nobody threatened you. Go back in your hole.
spokes October 02, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I'm not saying you threatened me. What I am saying is you are foolish to complain about cyclists then make a foolish comment saying they should be run over. How dare someone get in YOUR way on YOUR roads that YOU pay for. You would certainly feel different if it was a friend or family member. Now I will gladly go into my hole.
Elizabeth October 02, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Spokes, regarding NJ4America's comments to you, as I told my children when someone was being ugly to them, Don't get bogged down in it. Just rise above it. Rise above it and move on.


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