By Kat Lucas
“Get off the street!” drivers sometime yell at third-year historic preservation major William Santiago, 21, of Orlando, Fla. as he bikes to class at Gordon Thomas Center for Historic Preservation.
“I get honked at for being on the road but it’s illegal to bike on the sidewalk,” Santiago said.
According to Santiago, his main complaint is that drivers are not aware of bikers’ rights and are reluctant to share the road.
“I don’t have any other means of transportation,” Santiago said. “This is a college town and lots of kids can’t afford cars.”
According to fourth-year graphic design major, Caila Brown, 22, of Stony Brook, N.Y., drivers are not the only ones at fault.
“Bikers need to brush up on the laws as well and abide by the same laws as cars,” Brown said.
The great number of bikes belonging to SCAD students are all considered vehicles under Georgia law and must follow the same rules on their daily downtown commutes.
Brown is a volunteer event coordinator and graphic designer for the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, a city group that advocates sharing the road and promoting healthful, safe and sustainable transportation. According to their website, their mission includes advocating for better biking facilities and educating cyclists and motorists on how to commute with less aggression.
In addition to all vehicular laws, Georgia law also indicates a number of safety requirements for bikers. They include:
- Having a white light visible at nighttime from 300 feet on the front
- Having a red reflector on the back
- Riding with working brakes
- Riding no more than two bikes abreast in a lane
According to Brown, both drivers and cyclists should seek more education regarding road safety.
Additional laws for motor vehicles and bikes can be found on the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website.
The Savannah Bicycle Campaign meets every third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the basement of Moon River Brewing Company and welcomes all members of the community, including SCAD students. For more information, visit their website.Contact Kat Lucas.