Motorcycle riders who encounter heavy traffic might attempt to ride between the lanes of traffic, a practice known as lane-splitting. Although advocates of lane-splitting argue that it generates fuel and time savings for motorcycle riders, bikers who engage in lane-splitting may not consider whether riding on traffic lines or in between lanes of traffic is permitted under the law.
As a motorcycle rider in Georgia, you should be familiar with the state’s motorcycle laws, including how Georgia law treats lane-splitting.
If you have questions about motorcycle laws in Georgia or if you need legal assistance after being involved in a motorcycle crash, reach out to Butler Kahn to get answers to your questions and to learn more about your legal rights and options following a motorcycle accident.
Is Motorcycle Lane-Splitting Legal in Georgia?
Georgia law prohibits motorcyclists from lane-splitting, as it can endanger the lives of motorcyclists and other road users.
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What Is Lane-Splitting?
Lane-splitting, sometimes called “white-lining,” refers to the practice of a motorcyclist riding on the road lines between lanes, including lanes of traffic moving in the same direction or in between opposing directions of traffic. Lane-splitting turns road lines into temporary lanes for motorcycles.
Does Georgia Law Allow Lane-Splitting?
Georgia outlaws the practice of lane-splitting. Currently, only California permits motorcycle riders to engage in lane-splitting. Although other states have considered proposals to legalize lane-splitting over the years, efforts have failed as motorcycle safety advocates argue that lane-splitting represents a dangerous practice for motorcycle riders. That is because other drivers may change lanes or turn into the path of a lane-splitting motorcycle.
What Is Lane-Filtering and Is It Legal in GA?
Lane-filtering refers to the practice of a motorcycle rider slowing moving down a row of slowly moving or stopped vehicles, usually at a traffic-light-controlled intersection so that the motorcycle operator can get to the front of the line. That allows the motorcycle rider to take off when the light turns green without the threat of being sandwiched by two motor vehicles.
Like lane-splitting, Georgia law also prohibits lane-filtering. However, Utah has recently passed a law authorizing the practice of lane-filtering, but only when traffic has come to a complete stop, and the road has two or more adjacent lanes in the same direction of travel.
What Is the Difference between Lane-Splitting and Lane-Filtering?
Although the terms lane-splitting and lane-filtering are sometimes used interchangeably or confused with one another, proponents of lane-splitting and lane-filtering recognize essential differences between the two practices. Most importantly, lane-splitting and lane-filtering take place at different traffic speeds and in different scenarios.
- Lane-splitting usually occurs in moving traffic, especially on highways and between intersections.
- Lane-filtering takes place at intersections when traffic is slowing down or has come to a stop. However, many states’ laws consider lane-splitting and lane-filtering identical practices.
Are There Any Other Important Georgia Motorcycle Rules to Know?
If you ride a motorcycle in Georgia, other important state laws and rules to keep in mind include:
- Motorcycles are entitled to the entire width of a lane of travel, except two motorcycles may ride side by side in a single lane. Otherwise, a vehicle may not ride beside a motorcycle in the same lane, and motorcycles may not ride beside other vehicles in the same lane. Vehicles must move entirely over to the adjacent left lane (if legal) to pass a motorcycle.
- Operators must be at least 16 years old and have obtained a Class M endorsement on their driver’s license to operate a motorcycle on public roads.
- All motorcycles stored in Georgia must be registered with the DMV to operate on public roads legally.
- Motorcycle operators must have liability insurance coverage that includes $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
- Passengers may only ride on motorcycles designed by the manufacturer to carry passengers. The motorcycle must have a factory-installed seat and footrests for the passenger.
- Operators must sit astride the seat with one leg on either side of the motorcycle, facing forward.
- Operators may not carry packages or other items that prevent keeping both hands on the handlebars.
- Motorcycles cannot have handlebars higher than 25 inches above the operator’s seat.
- All riders must wear footwear in addition to or other than socks.
- Motorcycles must always have headlights and taillights on.
- Motorcycle operators may not attach themselves or their motorcycle to another vehicle while riding.
- All riders (unless riding in an enclosed cab) must wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- The motorcycle must also be equipped with a windshield large enough to offer eye protection for riders. Otherwise, riders must wear goggles or have a visor or face shield on their helmet.
How Our Georgia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you have been severely injured in a motorcycle accident in Georgia, the trial attorneys at Butler Kahn can help you pursue a legal claim for financial recovery by:
- Thoroughly investigating the crash to recover evidence we can use to build your case and identify the party or parties that can be held liable for your injuries
- Documenting your injuries, expenses, and losses
- Ensuring you understand your legal rights and options and what to expect throughout the claims process
- Filing your claim with the insurance company
- Vigorously negotiating with adjusters to try to reach a settlement that provides you with fair and full financial recovery
- Filing a lawsuit and taking your case to court if necessary
The Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers at Butler Kahn fight for bikers’ rights in our state. We understand the unique challenges they face on the road and how devastating injuries in an accident can be. We’ll be ready to discuss your case at absolutely no cost when you call us or reach out to us online.