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Are you bicycling on the correct part of the road?

Those who bicycle recreationally often try to use a bicycle trail or bicycle lane, where there is space dedicated for bicycling. However, if you are interested in branching out from your usual routine or you are considering using your bicycle for commuting, it may be important to familiarize yourself with Georgia's bicycle laws. If you plan to share the road with motorized traffic, it is important to confidently know where you are allowed to bicycle and where you are not.

Because bicycles are considered vehicles, you are expected to ride on the road instead of sidewalks. You should bicycle in the same lane you would use if you were driving a car, and, typically, you should stay as far to the right as you can while still being safe. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

When shouldn't I ride as far to the right as I can?

Although you should often travel on the right side of the right-most lane, there are three circumstances when it is safer to move to the left or bicycle in the center of the lane. One such instance is when it is necessary to avoid hazards.

Some hazards you might encounter on the edge of the lane include

  • Debris
  • Rough pavement
  • Drain grates
  • Parked vehicles

Another circumstance when it might be safer to move left includes when you are preparing for a left turn. Remember to properly signal your intention before moving to the left lane or center turn lane. Then, obeying traffic control devices, you may complete your turn.

A third instance when it may be safer to move out of your position on the right involves a situation when the lane is too narrow for you and a motorized vehicle to safely share it. Typically, a lane that is less than 14 feet wide is too narrow to safely share. In this situation, it is safest to take the lane, meaning you should ride in the center of the lane. This can dissuade motorists from trying to pass you when it is unsafe to do so.

As a bicyclist, you may be especially vulnerable if you are involved in a traffic collision. To minimize your risk of being severely injured or killed, be sure you are always bicycling on the safest part of the road for your situation.

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