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What Are The Most Important Georgia Motorcycle Laws To Know?

By Butler Prather LLP on August 20, 2018

Georgia motorcyclists should be aware of their state’s laws concerning acceptable practices for motorcycles on the road. Since motorcycles are smaller and more maneuverable than larger passenger vehicles and do not afford riders much protection in motorbike accidents, special provisions for motorcyclists on the road don’t apply to larger cars. Many states have adopted special laws concerning motorcycles, especially concerning lane-splitting, lane filtering, and lane sharing. There are some grey areas in motorcycle laws that cause a lot of confusion regarding what’s legal. And these regulations will vary and be enforced differently from state to state. We will shed some light specific laws for motorcyclists riding in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.

Is it Legal to Lane Split on a Motorcycle in Georgia?

Georgia motorcyclists should know the differences between lane-splitting, lane sharing, and lane filtering. Lane-splitting describes the act of “white lining,” or a motorcycle traveling along the white line between two adjacent lanes of traffic. In some cases, this can allow a motorcycle to safely pass slower-moving traffic, thanks to the bike’s slim frame. However, California is the only state with specific laws allowing lane-splitting. Georgia and every other state outlaws the practice or does not have specific laws mentioning lane-splitting.

Lane sharing describes multiple vehicles occupying the same space in the same lane of traffic. Since motorcycles are small enough to fit two into a single lane, lane-sharing is common with groups of motorcyclists. At night, the practice can make road conditions safer for motorcyclists, as a vehicle behind the motorcycles will see two taillights instead of one, making it easier to identify motorcyclists and avoid hitting them.

Lane filtering is like lane-splitting in that it describes a motorcycle riding the white line to swerve between two adjacent lanes of traffic. This may allow the motorcyclist to quickly advance through slower-moving traffic, but it could be considered very dangerous, as it could surprise a nearby driver and cause him or her to swerve, causing an accident. Lane filtering is illegal in Georgia, and most other states consider it as essentially the same thing as lane-splitting. There have been some local petitions for the legalization of the practice, but nothing has yet to be passed.

Are Motorcycle Riders Allowed to Ride Side by Side in One Lane?

The practice of allowing multiple bike riders to ride in a single lane can sometimes help riders dodge road debris and avoid accidents by making themselves more visible and noticeable to other drivers. For example, Georgia law allows no more than two motorcycles to travel side by side in the same lane, but as we just discussed above, it does not allow lane-splitting. It’s vital for all motorcyclists to know these terms so they can safely navigate Georgia roads, avoid legal penalties for traffic violations and reduce the chances for motorcycle accidents in Atlanta or throughout the state of Georgia.

For two motorcycle riders to share a single lane, both of the vehicles would have to ride further left or rights of the lane, typically riding next to or on the marked road lines. Doing this has the potential to reduce the visibility of other drivers on the road. The area with the highest visibility in a lane of traffic is directly in the middle of the lane. So even though riding next to each other is legal in Georgia, motorcycle riders need to understand that this could limit their bike’s visibility and should therefore exercise extreme caution.

What Are Some Other Motorcycle Rules to Note?

Georgia motorcyclists should also know about the state’s other laws concerning motorcycles. You can find these located in the most current Georgia Motorcycle Operators Manual. Georgia law clearly states that all motorcyclists must operate their vehicles safely and refrain from actions that may prevent safe operation of a motorcycle, such as improper seating position, carrying cargo or packages, and unsafe passenger behaviors. It’s also vital to abide by Georgia’s helmet law, which states that all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear helmets that meet the safety standards enforced by the Georgia Board of Public Safety.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident in GA?

It’s crucial for motorcyclists to know which practices may lead to liability for an accident. If a motorcyclist experiences an accident due to lane-splitting, riding side-by-side, or lane filtering in Georgia, it’s very likely the motorcyclist will absorb some, if not all, of the liability for the accident. Georgia follows a contributory negligence law that allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if he or she was partially at fault for the accident, as long as his or her degree of fault does not exceed the defendant’s. A motorcyclist who abides by the rules of the road and operates his or her motorcycle safely has the same rights and obligations as any other driver on Georgia roads. Avoiding lane-splitting is a good way for a motorcyclist to remain safe while traveling and avoid legal complications in the event of an accident.

A motorcyclist who suffers injuries from an accident on Georgia roads needs reliable legal representation. The right lawyer can help an injured motorcyclist recover his or her medical expenses, property damage, and other expenses resulting from a crash. An injured rider’s first move should be to seek medical care, and then meet with a reliable Atlanta motorcycle accident injury attorney to discuss options for legal recourse. Call about your case today! (404) 321-1700

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