Let’s Take a Ride: Biking in Georgia!
When it comes to exploring your local community, a popular, and often favorite, mode of transportation is a bicycle. Biking can be used to explore cities, capture breathtaking views of local scenery, or simply to get around.
Biking Safety Precautions
Whether you’re riding in your neighborhood or through the streets of downtown Atlanta, you’ll want to take a few safety precautions.
Wear a Helmet
Wearing a helmet can prevent serious head or brain injuries if you have an accident. Children under the age of 12 are required to wear a helmet by Georgia law. Make sure your helmet is made for bike riding and not any other sports, and that it has been designed and tested for impact.
A good rule of thumb: Buy a helmet that is certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Reflectors for Your Bike
Georgia law requires bikers to use a white headlight, visible from 300 feet away, when riding at night. Really, it’s safest to use one anytime visibility is low, like at dusk. Georgia law also requires rear reflectors to make you more visible when riding close to traffic.
Use a Rear-View Mirror
Although not required by law, placing a rear-view mirror on your bike’s handlebars can help when riding in traffic or with other people. Don’t rely on it, though. You should still turn to check your surroundings before making any sudden moves.
Riding on the road can be tricky if you’re unfamiliar with the laws for riding a bicycle. Remember, as a cyclist, you have the same responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers and must adhere to the same laws. A few things to keep in mind when you’re on the road:
- Use your hand signals.
Just like using a signal in your car, you need to let others on the road know what you plan to do before you make your next move.
- Know which side of the road to ride on.
Always ride with traffic, never ride against it! If a road has bike lanes, always use the one on the right side of the road.
- Riding on sidewalks.
Although riding on sidewalks might seem safer and less stressful, it's illegal to ride on sidewalks if you’re over age 12 (unless a local law allows it).
Recreational cycling can be the best way to get started if you’re a novice biker. Recreational cycling includes beginner trails like the Atlanta Beltline or a trail at a local park, but it also includes more advanced cycling styles like mountain biking and gravel grinding.
Recreational biking takes away the stress of fighting through traffic and navigating through crowds of people so you can enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace.
Join a Biking Community
If you’re interested in riding with a group or finding a biking community near you, check out Georgia Bikes. They have information on bicycle-friendly communities and cycling events throughout the state.
Atlanta Bikes — Bike Share
If you’re in the Atlanta area, you may have seen bike stations throughout the city. This “rental” system is known as Atlanta Bike Share and started in Summer 2016. Bike share stations are located in neighborhoods throughout the city and you can rent bikes from them short-term for a small fee.
Reserve a bike using your Relay Bike Share account number or member card — you can choose any bike station location that’s convenient for you. When you arrive, enter your 4-digit PIN code on the bike and remove it. Be sure to adjust the height and check the brakes before you start your ride. Once you’re finished riding, just return the bike to any bike station or lock it to any other public bike rack within 100 feet of the station for a minimal fee.
More Biking Resources
Check out the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Bike and Pedestrian topic page for more on safety precautions, how to properly ride with traffic, laws and ideas for riding with children, and a listing of local bicycle organizations across the state.
You can also review Georgia biking laws published by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.