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Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 8:01pm

New Bike Law: Move Over

Updated: 3 years ago.
Bikers are getting a little more protection in Georgia with a new state law that more clearly spells out their rights and responsibilities in relation to motorists sharing the road. (photo The Sussman)

Georgia cyclists get some added protection with new laws going into effect July first.

Lawmakers updated the law on how motorists pass bikers.

Right now, Georgia law doesn't say how far away you have to be to pass a cyclist "safely."

Starting July first, however, "safe" means three feet away.

Drew Wade of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign says, the law is aimed at stopping motorists from "buzzing" bikers.

"If I can stick my arm out and touch your car, you're too close," Wade says. "You want to give people some space."

Since the law means motorists might have to cross at least partly into another lane when passing a cyclist, it also makes clear the passing distance is required only "when feasible."

"The main thing is that it defines safe passing distance as at least three feet," Wade says. "We think this is good means of educating the public about what is a safe distance to pass a bicycle on the road."

The law also lets bikers ride on the road at all times -- not just when the road lacks a paved shoulder.

It also allows two cyclists to ride side-by-side, among other provisions.