July 1st Brings Changes to the 3 Foot Law in Georgia

While the 3 foot law has been on the books since 2011, it is still relatively poorly understood. Effective July 1st, it has been amended to be much clearer, and since it is very similar to the Spencer Pass Law regarding passing emergency vehicles from 2017, it should be fairly easy to honor as drivers.

At its core, the new version of the 3 foot law states that a driver passing a bicycle should change lanes if road and traffic conditions allow, including passing on a double yellow when the conditions are safe to do so. No passing into blind turns, blind hills, or oncoming traffic.

When it is not safe to change lanes, a driver is required to slow down to 25 mph or 10 mph below the posted speed limit, whichever is greater, to execute a safe pass within the lane and shared space.

Violations of this law now carry a maximum fine of $250 as a misdemeanor offense.

So all of us, as drivers need to be aware of this law change, and treat the passing of cyclists on the roads as proscribed, at the risk of being issued a citation. It is worth noting that under current Georgia law, a video recording of an act is valid as an eye witness in court, and that many cyclists have adopted both front and rear facing cameras much as drivers are have adopted dash cameras. These videos are valid witnesses for enforcement of violations along these lines at the discretion of local law enforcement agencies.