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Georgia Bicycle Law Prohibiting Person from Riding on Handlebars

Legal Commentary. This Georgia bicycle statute prohibits a bike operator from failing to properly sit on his seat or allowing a passenger to ride on the handlebars. As an Atlanta Georgia bicycle and cycling injury lawyer, I have handled many cases involving bicycle injuries and death throughout Georgia. However, I have never handled a case in which a passenger has been injured in this fashion. Moreover I have never heard of anyone being charged with a violation of this law. Most Georgia bicycle drivers and riders understand the hazards of such conduct, particularly in Atlanta traffic.

Subsections (c) and (d) of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-292 prohibit the transportation of children below the age of four (4) years, except that the child may be seated as a passenger in a statutorily authorized restraint and safety apparatus. For a child under the age of one (1), the statute authorizes a “trailer or sling”. For a child between one (1) and four (4) years of age, this statute authorizes “bicycle seat, trailer or infant sling.” These seats, slings or trailers must be utilized in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. I have no idea how an officer who stops an offending driver would be able to determine whether or not one of these devices was being used pursuant to such instructions. I suppose the officer would just make a judgment call. If it looked like a dangerous situation, he could cite the driver or rider or at least require that they act properly before proceeding.

Subsection (e) of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-292 seems to limit the right of a tortfeasor to “blame the victim” of a biking accident in trying to use subsections (c) or (d) as a means to allege that a bicycle operator was contributorily negligent for an accident if he or she technically did not abide by these subsections. This makes sense. A victim of a bicycle accident or a child who suffers serious injury or wrongful death through the fault of someone in a vehicle, should not be blamed simply because an insurance adjuster or lawyer can obtain a copy of the user’s guide for a particular bike harness or safety seat and blame the parent or adult for not properly securing a child.

See the full text of the statute below:

Section 40-6-292 Prohibition on Allowing Person to Ride on Handlebars; Transporting Child Under one Year on Bicycle; Transporting Child one Year to Four Years on Bicycle

(a) A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto and shall allow no person to ride upon the handlebars.

(b) No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.

(c) No person shall transport a child under the age of one year as a passenger on a bicycle on a highway, roadway, bicycle path, bicycle lane, or sidewalk; provided, however, that a child under the age of one year may be transported on a bicycle trailer or in an infant sling so long as such child is seated in the bicycle trailer or carried in an infant sling according to the bicycle trailer's or infant sling's manufacturer's instructions, and the bicycle trailer is properly affixed to the bicycle according to the bicycle trailer's manufacturer's instructions or the infant sling is properly worn by the rider of the bicycle according to the infant sling's manufacturer's instructions.

(d) No child between the ages of one year and four years shall ride as a passenger on a bicycle or bicycle trailer or be transported in an infant sling unless the child is securely seated in a child passenger bicycle seat, bicycle trailer, or infant sling according to the child passenger bicycle seat's, bicycle trailer's, or infant sling's manufacturer's instructions and the child passenger seat or bicycle trailer is properly affixed to the bicycle according to the child passenger bicycle seat's or bicycle trailer's manufacturer's instructions or the infant sling is worn according to the infant sling's manufacturer's instructions.

(e) Violation of subsections (c) and (d) of this Code section shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se or be considered evidence of negligence or liability.

(f) No person under the age of 16 years failing to comply with subsections (c) and (d) of this Code section shall be fined or imprisoned.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1973, p. 471, § 8; Code 1933, § 68A-1203, enacted by Ga. L. 1974, p. 633, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 5; Ga. L. 1993, p. 518, § 2; Ga. L. 2011, p. 426, § 3/HB 101.

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