Atlanta Governor Nathan Deale has signed a new law that may prevent many Georgia car-bicycle crashes.  House Bill 101 addresses bicycle safety in Georgia.  In addition to equipment requirements such as rear reflectors and brakes, the bill also requires drivers to yield to bicyclists in a bicycle lane and to allow at least three feet of space when passing cyclists.
 
Many drivers resent sharing the road with bicyclists and may find the new law frustrating; however, bicyclists have the same right to use the road as drivers of other vehicles.  Motor vehicle drivers are expected to use extra caution around bicyclists because cyclists are extremely vulnerable to serious injury and death in a Georgia car-bicycle accident.
 
Before the passing of HB101, state law required only that drivers leave a "safe distance" between their vehicle and a bike.  The distance was subject to personal interpretation.  The three foot requirement may mean that some drivers will have to cross the yellow line to pass legally.
 
This requirement was added to the bicycle safety bill by Senator John Albers from Roswell.  Albers is a bicyclist and was inspired to add the 3-foot requirement by Kathy Serrano, the widow of cyclist Tony Serrano who was killed in a 2004 car-bicycle crash in Gwinnett County. Serrano flew more than 150 feet off his bike when he was rear-ended by a driver.
 
The three-foot limit will allow bicyclists space to ride safely, and will help Atlanta personal injury attorneys to determine fault for Atlanta car-bicycle crashes.
Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia
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