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New bike law coming into effect

Bike riding is popular in Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs. The roads of Jonesboro, Decatur, Dunwoody and Brookhaven are popular with cyclists. Not surprisingly, bike accidents are common. Ask any avid biker about accidents along their commute and virtually everyone has a story to share. Most agree that there is room for improvement when it comes to bike rider safety.

In the fall of 2019, AJC reported that Dunwoody intended to pass a new ordinance to protect cyclists in the area. The new law would also protect pedestrians, skateboarders, pedestrians, motorcyclists and even scooter riders. If passed, this law would become the first of its kind in not just Georgia but surrounding states. Jurisdictions with similar laws include Utah, Washington, Connecticut and Houston. 

Georgia law requires vehicles to give cyclists three feet of space when passing. Dunwoody’s ordinance would require twice this and adds commercial vehicles to the requirements. It also prohibits behavior that intimidates, harasses or may potentially distract vulnerable road users. It is almost frightening that the ordinance had to target things like throwing objects at cyclists. 

In November, AJC reported that Dunwoody successfully passed the law. It is believed to be one of the strictest of its kind. Drivers who break the law could spend six months in jail or on probation. Fines can also go up to $1,000 and driver’s license suspensions are not unlikely. The law comes into effect this May. 

Onlookers believe that these laws might soon work their way into nearby suburbs, such as Jonesboro. If it does, bikers might finally feel safe enough to take their bikes off the park trails and onto the streets once more.