(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle;
We must note of course that bicycles are vehicles under state law. Sixteen other states have laws that apply a 3 foot safe passing distance for cars passing bicycles.
This law works as an educational tool for drivers and as a standard for enforcement (how close is too close? "I didn't hit him -- he just fell down after I passed").
Based on Georgia's accident statistics from 2004-2006, more than half (55%) of recorded deaths from car vs bicycle crashes occurred when the car and bicycle were traveling in the same direction, when speeds tend to be higher and injuries more severe, highlighting the need for education and enforcement of a safe passing distance.
* Thanks to Drew Wade with Savannah Bicycle Campaign for drafting the above statement!