Hasner Law | Motorcycle Accidents | May 11, 2022
Motorcycles are a popular form of transportation in Georgia. They are an easy way to zip through heavy Atlanta traffic as well as the perfect vehicle to enjoy a sunny day on country roads.
Many motorcycle drivers may be tempted to ride between lanes of traffic and wonder if this process of “lane splitting” is legal in Georgia. Georgia bikers have a responsibility to adhere to all rules of the road in the Peachtree State.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting, which can also be referred to as “white lining,” is the practice of a motorcyclist or moped driver riding in between the lanes of traffic, whether the lanes go the same way or in opposite directions. Lane splitting creates a de facto motorcycle lane for drivers.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Georgia?
Currently, California is the only state that allows motorcyclists to engage in lane splitting. The practice is illegal in Georgia. While the legislature may consider it, many people argue against the practice because it can be dangerous for the driver if a car suddenly switches lanes and enters the motorcycle’s path.
Lane filtering, a practice similar to lane splitting, is when a motorcycle driver goes between slowed or stopped lanes of traffic, cutting in line to be the first to go when a light turns green (or bypassing stuck cars on the highway). Lane filtering is also illegal in Georgia.
What Other Georgia Motorcycle Rules Are Important to Know?
Along with not engaging in lane splitting or lane filtering, there are other rules for the road that Georgia motorcycle drivers need to follow to reduce the chances of a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle drivers are entitled to a full lane of traffic, just like any other vehicle, although two motorcycles are permitted to ride side-by-side in a single lane. However, passing vehicles must move fully into the other lane when passing a bike.
Other Georgia motorcycle laws include:
- Riders must be at least 16 and hold a Class M driver’s license
- All motorcycles must be registered with the DMV
- Passengers are permitted to ride only on bikes designed to carry passengers
- Operators may not carry packages that prevent using both hands on the handlebars
- Motorcycles must always have headlights and taillights on
- All riders must wear a USDOT-approved helmet
- Riders must either have a windscreen offering eye protection or wear goggles or a visor
In addition, motorcycle operators must carry insurance coverage that includes $25,000 in property damage coverage and $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage.
What Are the Consequences of Lane Splitting in Georgia?
Any motorcycle driver who gets into an accident and was lane splitting may be held liable for the accident, even if they were not the direct cause. This means that the motorcycle driver may be found negligent and therefore may not recover damages from the other party.
There isn’t a set traffic penalty for lane filtering or lane splitting in Georgia, although many drivers may face a fine of up to $400 and points on their license. Points on your license can cause your insurance to increase or even cause your license to be suspended or revoked.
Who Is Liable for an Accident Caused by Lane Splitting?
If you’re driving a motorcycle and engage in lane splitting, you’ll likely be found negligent and therefore liable for the accident. But if you’re driving and a vehicle in front of you suddenly changes lanes, swerving into your lane, and you have to move into an adjacent lane or split in between lanes, then the driver that switched lanes would likely be at fault.
After a motorcycle accident in Georgia, you should always notify the police. They can file a police report that establishes blame, which can help you if you pursue a claim for damages. You should also seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if you think they’re minor. Then, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your situation and determine if you have a valid claim for damages.
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