Criminal Penalties for Violating Georgia Bicycle Laws (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-297)

Legal Commentary. Under Georgia law, the failure to follow the Georgia bicycle laws is punishable as a misdemeanor. By definition, a misdemeanor subjects the violator to a maximum $1,000.00 fine and one (1) year in jail. There are certain provisions of the law, such as the helmet law, that prohibit charging violators under the age of sixteen (16) with a crime. This limitation does not apply to the parents of a child. In fact, subsection (b) of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-297 provides that the parents are prohibited from authorizing or knowingly permitting their children or wards to violate to provisions of the Georgia bicycle safety and rider laws.

As a Georgia bicycle injury lawyer, I encourage every bicycle rider in Georgia to wear a helmet and obey the law for the sake of your own health and that of your children. Any criminal penalties pale in comparison to the tragedy of serious head injury or death of a child from a bicycle accident.

The full text of the law is set forth below:

Section 40-6-297 Failure to perform act required misdemeanor; parents shall not permit violations

(a) It shall be a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this part.

(b) The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit such child or ward to violate any of the provisions of this part.

HISTORY: Code 1933, § 68A-1201, enacted by Ga. L. 1974, p. 633, § 1; Code 1981, § 40-6-298; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2048, § 5; Code 1981, § 40-6-297, as redesignated by Ga. L. 2011, p. 426, § 3/HB 101.