Senate bill would ban two-by-two bicycle riding

Updated at 2:05 p.m.: State Sen. Butch Miller just told me that he has a substitute for SB 468 that should satisfy all parties. Will post as soon as I receive it. Cycling lobbyists in the Capitol have turned off their alarm bells.

Original: We’ve got a road war brewing in the state Capitol.

Cyclists are putting out the word that a bill to mandate single-file riding on all Georgia roads – absent specific government permission – was introduced Tuesday and is already up for a 3 p.m. hearing in Room 450 of the Capitol.

Senate bill would ban two-by-two bicycle riding

Senate bill would ban two-by-two bicycle riding

That’s a sign that SB 468, sponsored by Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, is on a fast track. Miller is the immediate past chairman of the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association.

It’s an interesting topic, given that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has recently taken up cycling. One wonders if it may be a reaction to a victory won by cyclists last year, when lawmakers passed, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed, a bill to require motorists to maintain at least 3 feet of distance when passing bicyclists. Previously, Georgia traffic laws required only that drivers keep “a safe distance.”

From the talking-point sheet that cyclists are circulating:

– Cyclists riding side by side are much more visible to motorists, which decreases the chances of an accident.

– Parents riding beside their children can provide a valuable safety buffer between young riders and automobile traffic.
– 47 states allow side-by-side riding. Thirty-nine states have explicitly approved two-abreast riding.

– Riding side by side is already illegal in every state when it unnecessarily impedes traffic.

– Riding side by side is the most practical way for cyclists to communicate with each other. Riding side by side is essential for sharing safety advice and directions.

– Two abreast riding is a defining characteristic of most bicycle club rides and events. Bicycle club members learn positive bicycling behaviors and practices from each other as they ride. The accident rate for a bicycle club member is five times lower than the average for other cycling adults.

– In a large group of cyclists, two abreast riding shortens the line of cyclists for cars to pass. It is much easier to pass two rows of 10 bikes than one row 20 bicycles long.

– Bicycle riding is a social activity. Riding two abreast is a fundamental aspect of an enjoyable ride.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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134 comments Add your comment

jd

February 23rd, 2012
11:12 am

another bill focused on bringing jobs to Georgia! So, when does the circus leave and the real legislature arrive?

.

Willis

February 23rd, 2012
11:15 am

It is so reassuring to know that our taxpayer supported senators are spending their time on such crucial matters as this. Miller must have been delayed by cyclists a minute or two on a drive and that got him all aggravated. Poor baby.

Marlboro Man

February 23rd, 2012
11:16 am

It appears Miller is in someone’s pocket.

kaycee

February 23rd, 2012
11:17 am

Is this a solution in search of a problem?

Centrist

February 23rd, 2012
11:19 am

Amazing that such small potatoes legislation gets highlighted here. Last year the legislature tried to slip by a tax increase disguised as revenue neutral, and it had special interest protection for car dealers in slipping in a private used car sales tax. There is no doubt the same thing is going on this year, but no AJC coverage.

This begs the question whether the AJC simply supports a hidden tax increase, as liberals like any tax increase.

No Longer Republican

February 23rd, 2012
11:19 am

such great work by the morons under the gold dome. geez will it ever end?

JohnF

February 23rd, 2012
11:22 am

He probably was behind a couple of cyclists and was inconvenienced for a few seconds and now wants to use his legislative position to get revenge. Glad I don’t live in his district.

Cutty

February 23rd, 2012
11:25 am

I bet there are more boiled peanut stands than cyclists in Gainesville.

n

February 23rd, 2012
11:30 am

Granted there are many jerks who do stupid crazy things while riding bikes in traffic.
However, most bike riders are among the most law-abiding and conscientious folks. They bike for health reasons, to be in the great outdoors, and, of course, biking is very reasonable non-polluting alternate transportation.

It is so typical of Georgia’s unenlightened politicians to try to undermine it and make it more difficult and dangerous.

Ignore the fact that we lead the country in bank closures, foreclosures, high school dropouts, low SAT scores, unemployment rates, financial insecurity, etc. Let us turn our laser focus on cyclists, and try to make their lives miserable also.

double

February 23rd, 2012
11:30 am

Yeah! Need silencers,uh! mufflers on the bicycles.

detritusUSA

February 23rd, 2012
11:31 am

zeke

February 23rd, 2012
11:32 am

amen n! won’t see many pols in spandex!

John Conner

February 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

This must be another bill from the GOPs “Laser Focus” on JOBS!!!

rightwing troll

February 23rd, 2012
11:37 am

And this stops abortion how?

ljds

February 23rd, 2012
11:37 am

keep the bicycles on the sidewalks

Where's the Rail?

February 23rd, 2012
11:39 am

This bill is just about allowing motorists to drive fast. It’s not a bill about safety, as it actually makes it less safe for the ones most in danger of getting hurt, the bicyclists.

Let’s put this bill in another way: If this is all a question of vehicle speed, would it be acceptable to ban the elderly from driving because they drive 20 miles under the speed limit? I bet most of our grandmothers would beat us with a cane if we tried.

RE - ljds

February 23rd, 2012
11:40 am

It is illegal to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk.

PMC

February 23rd, 2012
11:46 am

While we’re at it, legalize riding a bike on a sidewalk, no one uses them for walking and if they do, the cyclist will just have to yield to the pedestrian.

If we’re going to force cyclists to ride on the same road as fast moving vehicles, then cyclists should have the same slow moving vehicle orange triangle as tractors and farm equipment.

It’s just plain physics and it’s not safe for cyclists to be on the same road as passenger vehicles.

PMC

February 23rd, 2012
11:47 am

All for adding more bike lanes and protected bike lanes, but biking in traffic is pretty much asking for it.

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
11:52 am

GREAT!…I cannot stand when the speed limit is 45 and you have to bikers in front of you going 15MPH and you cannot get around them!

GaBlue

February 23rd, 2012
11:59 am

Okay, so last year’s bill said we have to pass them giving THREE FEET of space, requiring me to enter the lane of oncoming traffic during my daily commute from work, giving the leisure seekers plenty of room to weave and wiggle. Motorists must put our own lives in danger of a head-on collisions in order to keep them safe. They SHOULD be single-file on the shoulder, unless we’re going to tax their snug little shiny pants to maintain the roads like I do when I pay gasoline taxes so I can use those roads to get to WORK and back.

[...] post: Senate bill would ban two-by-two bicycle riding – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) This entry was posted in News Search and tagged abreast, accident, atlanta, bicycling, club, [...]

td

February 23rd, 2012
12:06 pm

It seems a great deal of posters on this blog does not know how the legislature works. It is sad to look like such an idiot.

Old Hippie

February 23rd, 2012
12:07 pm

When will these idiots in the legislature stop worrying about such petty things and start working together to put more Georgians to work? It’s the jobs, stupid! Not abortion, not sharia law, and not bicycle restrictions!

Sweet mother Mary on a pogo stick!

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
12:08 pm

Old Hippie….I agree, we have been trying to tell Obama that for four years!!!

Cynical

February 23rd, 2012
12:08 pm

I’m for it. These guys act like the own the road, swerve out 2 or 3 abreast, make it difficult to pass, don’t stop at stop signs and then act why you are bothered.
Stay in line!

td

February 23rd, 2012
12:11 pm

Old Hippie

February 23rd, 2012
12:07 pm

Since when is it the governments job to make sure all the people have jobs? I think Deal did help facilitate a major corporation coming to Georgia and will create jobs. It will still be up to the unemployed to have the necessary skill sets to get and keep the job.

Al

February 23rd, 2012
12:18 pm

Make them get insurance if they want to be on the roads. Who’s at fault when they run into a car?

TBone

February 23rd, 2012
12:18 pm

I have ridden on the roads for many years and now believe this is a good bill. When packs of riders take to the roads, things get nutted up on the roads. When I can’t even safely pass a pack of bike riders on my motorcycle, there is a problem with the cyclists.

5th District Conservative

February 23rd, 2012
12:19 pm

When I was in my early 20s (long time ago) I was pulled over by an Atlanta cop for riding my bike too fast in my neighborhood (still live there) in a 30mph zone. It was very embarrassing standing there with a cop car behind me with its lights flashing.

Junior Samples

February 23rd, 2012
12:24 pm

Uga 99
Sorry we inconvenienced you for a couple seconds. Was it difficult moving your foot a couple degrees to the right or left to pass safely? Again, sorry to bother you.

GaBlue, thanks for noticing my pants.

Hallcomotorist

February 23rd, 2012
12:26 pm

Yea Butch Miller! I live in his area. We have many very busy curvy roads that these cyclists love to get on at traffic time. Believe me, it’s more than a few seconds delay. On a cuvy road, you have to stay behind them until they or you make a turn.

Thug Doubt

February 23rd, 2012
12:26 pm

I ride a bike to and from work every day and I’m not surprised at all by the pettiness and small-mindedness of Georgians like the senator who propposed this bill. I already assume that you are all intentionally trying to run me over and ride accordingly. And if I’m in your way once in a while, maybe you should consider driving a smaller vehicle instead of a Humvee-sized pickup truck.

Junior Samples

February 23rd, 2012
12:30 pm

Al,
It’s a shame we don’t hear more news stories of cyclists hitting cars. You should bring that up to your elected offical, or to an insurance lobbyist.

GaBlue

February 23rd, 2012
12:30 pm

Thug,

If you ride your bike to and from work, why would you need to ride side by side, instead of staying to the right to keep traffic moving for EVERYBODY who is on their way to/from work?

janet

February 23rd, 2012
12:31 pm

All over the world, bicycles are used as an alternate form of transportation and given respect except it seems under the Gold Dome. Is this all we can get from our legislators who are being paid by the taxpayers but apparently more from the Ga. Automobile Association? Perhaps if we took away the taxpayer funded gas cards that the legislators use and their automobiles and suggested that they ride to work, church, parks, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, then they would understand the need for protection. Why are motorists in 6,000lb cars afraid of a 160lb rider on a 20lb bike?

Real Athens

February 23rd, 2012
12:32 pm

From an enlightened blogger:

“It seems a great deal of posters on this blog does not know how the legislature works. It is sad to look like such an idiot.”

“Give ‘em enough rope …”

No Longer Republican

February 23rd, 2012
12:33 pm

This bill is pure stupidity…kind of like the comments TD makes. But the Republicans are really out to eliminate the rights of Georgians to peaceful assembly and protest. Mr. Galloway please focus on Senate Bill 469. This attack on the rights of everyday citizens needs to end.
http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/812313/new_georgia_bill_includes_%2410%2C000_fine%2C_felony_for_%22conspiracy%22_for_picketing%2C_protest/#paragraph3

Thug Doubt

February 23rd, 2012
12:35 pm

I don’t ride side by side. I ride like you are all talking or texting on your cell phones and eating Chicken MacNuggets while driving your 15-foot-tall, diesel powered pickup truck. I am not a leisure or sport rider, I am a person of very modest means who uses a bicycle to get to work because it’s cheap and it’s a good way to get exercise. Attitudes towards bikers here in metro ATL have improved somewhat over the 20-plus years that I’ve been on the road, but many drivers still see cyclists as a nuisance and don’t think twice about the pollution and threat to innocent lives created by their own transportation choices. As a cyclist I own you NOTHING, stay out of my way and I’ll stay out of yours.

GaBlue

February 23rd, 2012
12:36 pm

Janet,

People who use bicycles for transportation deserve our respect and courtesy, and are generally not creating a problem. Ditto the leisure riders who respect the limited road space as well. It’s the “team” bikers, with their matching shirts, who seem to think that training for their upcoming race or -thon, or whatever, entitles them to ride in wide packs without scooching over when a car is behind them. These guys “train” in my neighborhood all the time, and yes, they blow through stop signs and prevent me from going around — for reasons I cannot fathom. Maybe one of those folks can explain it to us.

Aquagirl

February 23rd, 2012
12:37 pm

He probably was behind a couple of cyclists and was inconvenienced for a few seconds and now wants to use his legislative position to get revenge.

I am couch potato, hear me roar!

Junior Samples

February 23rd, 2012
12:40 pm

GaBlue,
What would you do if motorists continuosly ran through stop signs or traffic lights?
Call the police. We cyclists have to obey the same rules of the road.

BubbaGump

February 23rd, 2012
12:40 pm

Ummm…have y’all ever seen the typical legislator? Fat, ugly and nearing spherical proportions (girth approaching their height), none of these clowns have a clue about exercising on a bike.

sheepdawg

February 23rd, 2012
12:42 pm

how do we ban idiot legislators

TBone

February 23rd, 2012
12:45 pm

@ Thug ….”As a cyclist I own you NOTHING, stay out of my way and I’ll stay out of yours.”
Besides learning a little grammar, I’d like to give you a little tip. You are the one on a bicycle remember. The rest of us are driving our Humvee sized pick ups, comprende?

GaBlue

February 23rd, 2012
12:47 pm

Junior,

My particular suburb/town is a haven for cyclists. While we have approximately 12 police officers for every citizen, and are pulled over in our cars for anything or nothing at all, and cannot drive from one end of town to the other without passing a waiting police car or three, for some reason, they look the other way and the bold biker gangs. I don’t get it. Mutual respect and courtesy on the road is a GOOD thing! The cyclists getting the attention today are the ones who think they’re exempt, but I do not mean to imply that behavior of all cyclists.

GaBlue

February 23rd, 2012
12:50 pm

Sorry… I meant to say 1 police officer for every 12 citizens. Let’s not devolve into hyperbole! {;->

Aquagirl

February 23rd, 2012
1:05 pm

Let’s not devolve into hyperbole!

I was wondering about your tax rate.

Wilson

February 23rd, 2012
1:08 pm

More cyclists need to be outraged about Ga, Representatives proposing bills they have no idea about how it will affect their citizens. How important is this bill that it needed to be fast-tracked. Let them try riding a bicycle on Georgia streets urban and rural. Georgia ranks as one of the lowest states in many things, now lets add Bicycle Safety. Yet, we can hang our hats on Ga. does rank high in ignorance.

AngryRedMarsWoman

February 23rd, 2012
1:09 pm

I ride on the sidewalks. On the rare occasion that I come across someone walking – I pull off the sidewalk, stop and stand with my bike until they pass. No cop has ever hassled me for riding on the sidewalk – if one ever did, I would point to the crazy drivers and ask him if he seriously wants me out there. I was hit by a car when I was a teenager riding my bike (not my fault, the driver ran a stop sign) and decades later I still have lingering health problems as a result – not riding on the road ever again. I also drive a car and thankfully I am grown up enough not to lose my mind when I have to slow down to give wide berth to a cyclist (who probably thinks I am nutz for giving him so much space). We all need to try to be as courteous as possible no matter where we ride or drive.