Drivers jump on cycles to save gas

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The rising cost of gasoline has many people considering alternate modes of transportation.

Area bicycle and motorcycle shop managers say sales are up from last year. Last week, Aiken Motorcycle Sales and Service had sold out of every middleweight motorcycle, scooter and moped by Wednesday.

"The largest portion of the mopeds and scooters we sell are to people who are going to use them as transportation," said sales manager Marsha Hopkins.

Sales began to increase around mid-March, just about the time gas prices started spiking, she said.

Nationally, bicycle sales reached $6 billion in 2007. Sales in 2002 were $5.2 billion, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.

Though many of the traffic laws in South Carolina and Georgia also apply to bicycle riders, each has its own safety rules. And commuting differs from recreational biking.

"There's a lot more things you have to think about when you're riding through city streets," said Andy Jordan, a North Augusta resident and owner of Andy Jordan's Bicycle Warehouse.

Staff Writer Julia Sellers contributed to this article.

Reach Lisa Kaylor at (706) 823-3904 or lisa.kaylor@augustachronicle.com.

FOR A COMPLETE LIST of CYCLE LAWS of rules, visit www.scdmvonline.com">style="bold">www.scdmvonline.com for South Carolina, and www.dds.ga.gov">style="bold">www.dds.ga.gov for Georgia.


BICYCLE LAWS

IN SOUTH CAROLINA:

- Ride in the right lane, as near to the right side of the road as possible. Always ride in the same direction as traffic. If a bicycle path is provided, use it instead.

- Don't have more passengers than the bicycle was designed to carry.

- If riding at night, the bicycle must have a headlight that is visible for at least 500 feet and a red reflector on the rear that is visible from 50 to 300 feet.

- Bikes must be equipped with a bell or other audible device that can be heard for at least 100 feet. Sirens or whistles are not permissible.

- Bikes must have brakes that will allow the bike to skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

- Violations are misdemeanors.

IN GEORGIA:

- No bicycle should carry more people at one time than the number for which it is designed.

- No child younger than age 1 should be a passenger on a bicycle unless the child is seated in a bicycle trailer or carried in an infant sling.

- Children between the ages of 1 and 4 should ride in a secured bicycle passenger seat.

- Ride on the right side of the road or a designated bike path when available. No more than two bikes per lane.

- Bikes should have a front white reflector that is visible 300 feet away and a rear red reflector that is visible 300 feet away.

- Each bike should have a brake which allows the bicycle to skid on dry, level pavement.

- No one younger than 16 can operate a bike without wearing a helmet.

Source: South Carolina Department of Transportation, Georgia Department of Transportation


MOTORCYCLE LAWS

IN SOUTH CAROLINA:

- Motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane. No other motor vehicle is allowed to deprive a motorcycle full use of the lane, but two motorcycles may travel side by side.

- A motorcycle should not pass another vehicle in the same lane.

- Do not ride a motorcycle between lanes of traffic.

- No more than two motorcycles can ride side by side in one lane.

- Handlebars can't be more than 15 inches taller than the driver's seat.

- Cycles must have rearview mirrors.

- Motorcycle operators have the same rights as operators of other vehicles and are subject to the same traffic laws.

- Motorcycle operators must have lights on while driving.

- Helmets with neck or chin straps and side reflectors are required for riders and drivers 21 and younger.

- Anyone 21 or younger operating a motorcycle must also have a windshield affixed to the front of the bike or wear goggles or a helmet with a face shield.

- Motorcycles with 5 horsepower or less are not permitted on limited access highways, such as freeways or interstates.

Source: South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles


IN GEORGIA:

- A Class M license or Class MP learners permit is required. Must be age 17 or have parental consent to drive a motorcycle.

- All riders must wear a helmet in Georgia.

- Motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane. No other motor vehicle is allowed to deprive a motorcycle the full use of the lane, but two motorcycles may travel side by side.

- A motorcycle should not pass another vehicle in the same lane.

- No more than two motorcycles may ride side by side in one lane.

- Cycles must have rearview mirrors.

- Motorcycle operators have the same rights as operators of other vehicles and are subject to the same traffic laws.

- Motorcycle operators must have lights on while driving.

Source: Georgia Department of Driver Services


POINTS TO REMEMBER

1. Know your bike before riding. Know all controls and make sure the bike is adjusted to you.

2. Choose a mature, experienced rider as your instructor.

3. Don't try to learn everything at once. Take time to practice.

4. If possible, avoid heavily traveled streets if you can.

5. Be sure your bike is in good mechanical position before each trip.

6. Know and obey all traffic laws and rules of the road.

7. Drive defensively at all times. Never assume you have been seen by another motorist.

8. Watch for road hazards that are particularly dangerous to motorcyclists.

9. Never ride recklessly or show off.

10. Exercise caution when riding at night or in wet conditions.

11. Wear a properly fastened helmet and proper eye protection.

SOURCE: SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

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iletuknow
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iletuknow 08/07/08 - 05:05 pm
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Death traps. This is not the

Death traps. This is not the answer.

pointstoponder
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pointstoponder 08/07/08 - 08:15 pm
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Seems to work in other

Seems to work in other countries.

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