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Georgia Motorcycle Passenger Laws

By Butler Prather LLP on March 4, 2020

There are plenty of motorcycles enthusiasts In Georgia. Various laws that regulate motorcycle operation in this state, and it is vital that all motorcycle drivers and passengers understand their responsibilities. Specifically, there are certain laws regarding motorcycle passengers that all motorcyclists should be aware of.

Georgia Motorcycle Passenger Laws

Motorcycle passengers in Georgia

Before carrying a passenger, motorcyclists must understand that the extra weight will affect the way that their motorcycle handles. This requires extra practice, caution, and preparation before a ride. Before taking passengers on the roadway, motorcyclists should check the air pressure in both tires and adjust the suspension of their bike if necessary.

When carrying a passenger, a motorcycle should have:

  • A seat large enough to accommodate both the driver and the passenger of the motorcycle. Passengers must be seated behind the drivers and should sit as far forward as possible. No passenger should be seated in front of the motorcycle driver, regardless of the passenger’s age.
  • Footrests present for the passenger to prevent them from falling off or from pulling the driver off of the motorcycle.
  • Secure hand straps or solid handholds for a passenger to hold onto. A motorcycle passenger can also hold onto a driver’s waist, hips, or belt.

Do motorcycle passengers have to wear a helmet?

Georgia has a strict motorcycle helmet law. While many states only require riders to wear helmets if they are under 21 years old, all motorcycle riders in Georgia must wear a helmet. This includes both motorcycle drivers and passengers. According to the Georgia Commissioner of Public Safety, all helmets worn by motorcyclists in this state must meet standards set forth in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 (DOT approved helmets).

Safety tips for motorcycle passengers

Motorcycle drivers should properly prepare passengers for the ride. This includes providing clear instructions, such as the following:

  • Get on the motorcycle only after the engine has been started.
  • Keep legs away from mufflers, chains, or moving parts.
  • Keep both feet planted on the motorcycle footrests, even when the motorcycle is stopped.
  • Hold onto the driver’s waist, belt, hips, or the passenger handgrips firmly.
  • Stay directly behind the motorcycle driver and look over their shoulder in the direction of any turn or curve. This will help the driver lean in the direction they intend to go.
  • Avoid any unnecessary movement or conversation when the motorcycle is in operation.

Motorcycle drivers can also prepare passengers for the ride by informing them too tighten their grip or hold when approaching road surface problems, are about to start from a stop, or are about to turn sharply or make a sudden move.

Motorcycle accidents can lead to devastating injuries

Motorcycle passenger safety is of the utmost importance. Motorcycle drivers and passengers are more vulnerable than those inside traditional passenger vehicles in the event an accident occurs. Even when a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet and appropriate safety gear, they still have very little protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them. It is not uncommon to see the following injuries in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident:

  • Spinal cord trauma (possible paralysis)
  • Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations or road rash

These injuries can lead to tremendous medical expenses and other hidden costs. Motorcycle riders and passengers should work together to ensure safe operation at all times on the roadway.

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