Georgia Passes the “Three Foot Law”   Leave a comment

A commuter cyclist in the London morning rush ...

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On May 11, 2011, bicyclists and cycling enthusiasts rejoiced when the “Three Foot Law” was enacted in Georgia.  The law becomes effective July 1, 2011 (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56).  The law specifically requires a safe passing distance (defined as three feet) between the car and the cyclist.  The three feet distance must be maintained until the car passes the cyclist. While doubt arises as to how strictly this law will be enforced, clearly this is a step in the right direction for those of us sharing the road. 

Where a statute clearly prohibits an action, Georgia law allows for liability per se where someone is injured from a direct violation of the law.  Here, where a driver fails to maintain the “safe passing distance” of three feet and a cyclist is injured from the driver’s failure to maintain the three feet distance, liability per se could be established in a lawsuit against the driver.  As a final note, while the law has made great strides for the cycling community, one must remember to wear a helmet when cycling.  In the event that a driver fails to maintain the three-foot distance, a helmet could be a cyclist’s best friend.

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 Meredith Atwood is a Georgia attorney, focusing her practice in civil litigation, particularly business and real estate law matters. 

 Her firm, Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., works with all manner of clients in business and personal matters, providing “big firm” sophistication with suburban law firm attention and service.



 Copyright © 2011, Meredith Atwood & Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.


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