Tips and more
Eric Neely of Reality Bikes and Skateboards in Cumming said there’s no shortage of information out there about sharing the road. For example, the Web site bikeleague.org cautions cyclists to follow traffic devices, use hand signals and wear helmets and bright clothing. It also advises motorists against tailgating, to scan for cyclists and to leave 4 feet between a car and a bicycle when passing. More information can be found online at http://www.bicyclegeorgia.com/ and http://www.smartmotorist.com/.
If the recent mild weather has you tempted to hit the road on two wheels or four, it’s important to mind your manners.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Huggins said both motorists and bicyclists are responsible for following the rules of the road.
“Courtesy is contagious and also saves lives,” Huggins said. “Motorists should pass bicyclists with caution and bicyclists should make room for faster moving vehicles.”
Under state law, a bicycle is considered a “vehicle,” and general vehicular traffic laws apply.
For example, Huggins said, bicyclists must follow traffic signals and stop at stop signs. No more than two bicyclists may ride side by side on roads, except on paths or parts of roads set aside for bicycle use.
“The main thing is to practice courtesy and realize that (bicycles) are considered a vehicle just like a car, truck or motorcycle is,” Huggins said.
“But with that privilege comes the responsibility of operating (a bicycle) based on the rules of the road.”
Forsyth County is home to many cyclists, who can often be seen pedaling along Tribble Gap Road and Hwy. 9, among other routes.
Eric Neely of Reality Bikes and Skateboards in Cumming said respect should be mutual between motorists and cyclists.
He said that someone who uses a car or truck to agitate someone on a bicycle could be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“It’s a very serious charge and the police here are very much on our side,” Neely said.
He noted that a motorist recently pointed a pistol at a group of bicyclists with whom he was riding. Another cyclist he knows was shot by an Airsoft rifle.
Neely also said he hears of about one incident a week where a motorist threw an object at a cyclist.
On Sept. 4, a 31-year-old cyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle in neighboring Hall County.
The collision happened as the man and a friend were taking an early morning bike ride. A car traveling in the same direction hit the cyclists from behind.
Neely said cyclists should also be respectful, which includes waving at a passing motorist who has been courteous or riding single-file to allow a vehicle to pass.
“If a car is waiting to pull out and I’m riding down the road and I can tell they’re going to pull out in front of me, I’ll slow down and wave at them like 'go ahead,’ that kind of a thing,” Neely said.
He said motorists should be careful to give enough space on the road to someone on a bicycle and to avoid passing on a blind hill or curve.
Honking when approaching someone on two wheels, though the intention may simply be to make your presence known, can cause a cyclist to wreck, Neely said.
“You’re better just to slow down a second, proceed with caution around, giving plenty of space and then carry on,” he said. “Realistically, people get caught behind a cyclist and it might be 15 to 20 seconds at most on a road.”
FCN regional staff contributed to this report.