Another law that is common in southeastern states includes language that a cyclist should ride ‘as far right as practicable’. This is often misinterpreted to mean that a cyclist must ride as close to the shoulder of the road as possible. That is not correct. “As far right as is practicable” can be translated to mean ‘as far right as the rider feels comfortable’. Dru explained that there are many reasons why a cyclist legally may ride in the center of the lane—from poor road conditions, to blind corners where traffic may be likely to make an unsafe pass, and more. If someone accuses you of not riding all the way to the right on the road, you can let them know that the law supports your actions.
Lights are legally required when riding in the dark in Georgia. A cyclist must have a working front and rear light. Dru strongly suggested that all cyclists use front and rear lights on their bicycle during all times of the day. He said that studies have shown that using lights in the daytime reduce crashes. During the winter/dark conditions several local group rides require that all cyclists have working lights in order to ride with them. This is for safety and follows the law.
Women should pay special attention to their surroundings when riding. Unfortunately any lone rider could be a target for thieves. Women may consider riding in groups in order to be better seen by motorists and to protect their individual selves from danger.
Helmets are not required in the state of Georgia for riding a bicycle but they are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED. No one plans to have ‘an accident’ or a crash. Crashes can be caused by a careless driver, another bike, or even road conditions. Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the risk of death.
Dru’s years of cycling inspired the next set of tips. He recommended to never leave home without a water bottle, to always carry a basic set of bicycle tools, and have a small amount of cash on your person. Dru advocated that you never know how a planned ride will go and that you never want to be stranded without water or a way to transport more. Carrying a basic set of bike tools will allow you to change a flat tire or fix simple mechanicals. The rationale behind having cash on you means that you can purchase snacks or water in case your ride runs long. Alternatively you can use your cash to pay for a ride home should something render your bike unrideable. And these things happen—believe me!
A lot of these tips seem basic. And they are! I advise getting in the habit of following all of these suggestions for every single ride. As the saying goes—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Riding safely means knowing the local laws, carrying basic supplies, and being prepared for deviations from your plan.