Proposing change and aggravating the public
When Georgia lawmakers introduced H.B. 689, they were met with a level of public contention they weren’t expecting. Officials’ inboxes were flooded with emails from enraged cyclists and other members of the public who were determined to see the bill shut down. Brent Buice, executive director of local organization Georgia Bikes, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there was a great deal of interest within the community in making sure the bill didn’t go anywhere. Those accustomed to riding city bikes without restrictions came together in opposition of the bill.
What’s all the fuss about?
First of all, the bill would require that every bicycle on the road be registered with the state, requiring either a $15 yearly licensing fee or a $48 fee to cover the bicycle as long as it is still owned by the individual who registered the bike. While the fee was a minor irritation for the public, most were frustrated by the fact that there was no differentiation between souped up road bikes, city bikes, and a clearance sale bike from a local super-mart. Families argued that many bikes are passed down from sibling to sibling, as children outgrow their bikes. This registration mandate would require the bike be re-registered each time it shifted owners.
But the registration requirement was just the beginning of H.B. 689. The bill also aimed to regulate the way cyclists ride. One such regulation was bikers would only be allowed to ride in single file lines (current Georgia law allows for two riders to ride side by side), and with no more than four cyclists in a line at one time. If more riders are present on the road, there must be at least 50 feet of distance between groups of cyclists. This is limiting for those riding city bikes in a group event, and even restricts larger families from riding together. The last straw for owners of city bikes was that cities and counties were given free reign to restrict riding on any street.
Much ado about nothing
H.B. 689 has since died in committee, after large groups protested via mail, email, and at a bill reading. The proponents of the bill admitted that it was more about starting a discussion about safe cycling in Georgia than making these specific restrictions law.
At Retrospec – the only thing we want to regulate is your style on the road. Our collection of urban-inspired bikes exudes the passion of bikers in Georgia and beyond. Explore our shop now.