Is Lane Splitting by Motorcycle Riders Legal in Georgia?
If you are an avid motorcycle rider, you are probably well aware of the dangers you encounter when sharing the road with larger, heavier motorized vehicles. Statistics compiled by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GA DOT) confirm the risks, though the actual number of total crashes is relatively low compared to other traffic collisions. Every year, there are 3,700 motorcycle accidents across the state, leading to 160 fatalities and injuries to 3,230 people. In other words, more than 85 percent of all motorcycle collisions lead to at least one casualty, usually to the motorcycle rider.
As a motorcycle rider, you also know the traffic laws that apply to you, which are generally the same as other motorized vehicles. However, there is one in particular that specifically targets motorcyclists and a practice known as lane splitting. Riding between lanes of traffic is illegal, and a Georgia motorcycle accidents lawyer can explain what it means for your case if you were hurt. It is also helpful to review the law prohibiting lane splitting and other reasons to avoid this dangerous maneuver.
Georgia Prohibits Lane Splitting: Just as the term suggests, lane splitting is riding your motorcycle in between lanes of traffic. When vehicles are stopped or slowed because of congestion, a rider may be tempted to drive down the middle. This practice is illegal in Georgia and all other US states, with the exception of California.
Georgia’s version of the law prohibiting lane splitting states:
- A motorcycle operator cannot pass in the same lane as the vehicle being overtaken.
- Riders cannot drive a motorcycle between lanes, adjacent lanes, and rows of cars.
- Motorcycle riders are permitted to ride two vehicles side-by-side in a single lane.
Violations of the law could lead to a base fine of $132, plus other fees and costs assessed by local counties. There will also be points added to your driving record, and you could lose your license if you accumulate too many.
Other Reasons to Avoid Lane Splitting: A fine, points, and consequences for your driving privileges are harsh penalties for breaking the law on lane splitting. However, there are additional reasons to avoid this practice. It is extremely dangerous, mainly because you are operating your motorcycle in a space that other motorists do not expect. Other drivers do not foresee your approach because they assume all traffic is moving the same direction and speed, or not moving at all.
Plus, because lane splitting is illegal and risky, there could be implications for your rights if you were involved in a motorcycle collision. Georgia follows the rule of comparative negligence, which is applied to the victim’s conduct in an accident. When a motorcyclist is negligent by splitting lanes, compensation will be reduced.
Trust an Atlanta, GA Motorcycle Accident Attorney to Support Your Legal Needs
For more information on your rights after being injured in a motorcycle crash, please contact The Forsythe Law Firm, LLC. You can call 404-476-2717 or go online to set up a free case assessment with a skilled Georgia motorcycle crash lawyer.