Rules of The Road for Motorcyclists in Georgia

motorcycle accident

motorcycle accident in GeorgiaMotorcyclists make up a relatively small number of the vehicles on the road. But their riders are involved in a disproportionate number of serious injury and fatal collisions. According to Forbes, “motorcycle riders account for 14% of all traffic [fatalities], despite the fact only 3% of all registered vehicles are motorcycles. Motorcycle crashes also account for 18% of all occupant fatalities and 4% of all injuries to vehicle occupants.” Among other things, motorcyclists are less visible than cars and they lack the protection of enclosed vehicles.

Being involved in a motorcycle accident can result in serious and life-changing injuries. This can include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and head trauma. The vast majority of motorcycle accidents are preventable and involve some amount of human error. If you want to stay safe as a motorcyclist, there are a number of rules of the road that you should follow.

  1. Share The Road: So many accidents are caused by drivers that are not paying adequate attention to the road. Even when a driver is paying close attention to the road, they are typically not expecting smaller vehicles like motorcycles that are harder to spot. If you’re changing lanes, there could easily be a motorcyclist in your blind spot. A collision in such a circumstance could easily be fatal for a person riding a motorcycle whereas it typically would not be for someone in an enclosed vehicle. Many motorcycle accidents also take place when a driver is making a left-hand turn and failed to yield because they didn’t see an approaching motorcyclist. The old adage “look twice and save a life” is particularly instructive in this circumstance. Of course, these potential hazards make it all the more important for motorcyclists to always remain vigilant and drive defensively. It is never guaranteed that another person will act properly and follow traffic laws.
  2. Lane Splitting Is Illegal: Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of traffic on the dotted white line. This is not a law in every state, but lane splitting is illegal in Georgia. So far, California is the only state where lane splitting is legal. Lane splitting can occur at a traffic light or at freeway speeds. Either situation is needlessly dangerous. Lane filtering occurs when a motorcyclist weaves in and out of traffic. This is also quite unsafe and illegal. If a motorcyclist is involved in a crash while lane splitting, they may be found 100 percent responsible for the collision.
  3. Lane Sharing Is Legal: Lane sharing occurs when two motorcyclists ride side-by-side in a single lane of traffic. Though it is typically discouraged by transportation officials, lane sharing is legal. However, a motorcyclist may not share a lane of traffic with a passenger vehicle like a car or truck.
  4. Helmets Are Required: Motorcyclists are required by law to wear helmets in Georgia. The style of helmet must be approved by the Department of Transportation. Georgia law also requires motorcyclists to have eye protection in the event that their vehicle does not have a windshield. Helmets are very important because they save lives. One report from the American Journal of Surgery found that riders with helmets were 44% less likely to die from their injury. Riders were also 31% less likely to break facial bones.
  5. Motorcycle License Required: In Georgia, a motorcycle license is required. A standard driver’s license is not sufficient to operate a motorcycle. In order to get a motorcycle license, you must first take the written test at the DMV and then get a permit. You will then be free to take the road test and get your license. Getting a motorcycle license is not just required by law, the training it provides is also important for your own safety.

Motorcycle injuries tend to be much more serious. It’s terrible when an accident occurs which is entirely preventable had a driver been paying attention to the road. For these reasons, it is extremely important to remain vigilant if you’re riding a motorcycle. If you are involved in a motorcycle collision, it is important to understand that you do have rights. Our team of  Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys at Butler Kahn are here to help you. We are committed to getting our clients the medical support and financial compensation that they need in order to recover. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 678-940-1444.

Picture of Jeb Butler
Jeb Butler’s career as a Georgia trial lawyer has led to a $150 million verdict in a product liability case against Chrysler for a dangerous vehicle design that caused the death of a child, a $45 million settlement for a young man who permanently lost the ability to walk and talk, and numerous other verdicts and settlements, many of which are confidential at the defendant’s insistence. Jeb has worked on several cases that led to systemic changes and improvements in public safety. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia SuperLawyer and ranks among Georgia’s legal elite. Jeb graduated in the top 10% of his class at UGA Law, argued on the National Moot Court team, and published in the Law Review. He is the founding partner of Butler Kahn law firm. Connect with me on LinkedIn
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