Traffic can be terrible on highways at the worst of times, let alone at rush hour in major cities. If you’re a motorcyclist it can be tempting to weave your way in and out the traffic to try to get to your destination.
However, this is not always the best option and could result in serious repercussions.
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As in many of the other states in the US, lane splitting and lane splitting are illegal in the state of Georgia. These two things can also get confused with lane sharing.
This article will help clear up any misconceptions you may have about lane splitting and inform you more on these motoring laws.
What is lane splitting?
Lane splitting is a motorcyclist who is driving between rows of stopped or moving vehicles. This applies to highways, streets, and any roads across the state.
Lane splitting is when you see a motorcyclist driving in between cars to get further in front and to skip any traffic. Some states like California and Utah have already changed their laws to make lane splitting legal.
Lane splitting is often called white-lining or stripe riding.
Most motorcyclists vouch that lane-splitting makes them less likely to be rear-ended by vehicles, especially when traffic comes to a sudden halt sometimes.
On the other side, general drivers of vehicles claim that motorcyclists flying between lanes alarm drivers on the roads and cause unnecessary accidents.
Despite being illegal, research from UC Berkeley in 2015, showed that accidents that occur from lane-splitting are pretty minor when traffic is moving at a speed less than 50mph and the motorcyclist is not driving at a speed higher than 15mph.
That being said, the law is still the law, and those caught breaking it will face repercussions.
What is lane filtering?
Lane filtering is basically the same as lane splitting but instead, there will be stationary traffic on both sides of the motorcyclist.
Motorcyclists tend to do this so they can jump to the front of the line when getting to red lights or stops so they can drive off quicker than if they were positioned between two cars.
Lane filtering is also illegal in the state of Georgia. However, there have been many petitions by motorcyclists to change this law, all of which have been unsuccessful to this point.
Lane filtering requires more awareness and for the driver to go at a slow speed to avoid obstructions and also if any vehicle opens their door suddenly.
What is lane sharing?
Lane sharing is when two motorcyclists are driving side by side to each other in one lane. This is not considered illegal in the state of Georgia but is ultimately avoided as it is risky.
Georgia law does state, however, that there should be no more than 2 motorcyclists side by side in the same lane. Some people say that this is a safer way for motorcyclists to drive, especially in the dark, as cars and vehicles coming up behind them will be able to see two tail lights instead of just one.
What will happen if I get caught for lane splitting or filtering in Georgia?
There are no set penalties for lane splitting or filtering in the state of Georgia, however, you could face a fine of up to $400 and also points on your license which will then cost insurance to increase.
Lane splitting does not have a fixed set of points penalties but is often combined with driving penalties such as negligent or dangerous driving. Some cops will let you get off with just a firm warning, but other officers or even highway control officers will make sure you get reprimanded.
Who is liable for a car accident caused by lane splitting?
If you're a motorcyclist and you get into a road accident whilst you are lane splitting or filtering, you will be at blame.
However, if you’re driving a motorcycle and a vehicle in front changes lanes without indicating beforehand and thus causes you to have to split into a different lane to avoid crashing into the vehicle, the driver who switched lanes will be at fault.
What should motorcyclists do to stay safe on the roads in Georgia?
Not only should you want to wear a motorcycle helmet for your own safety, but it is also to do so in the state. A motorcycle helmet will increase your visibility to other drivers but also provides over an 80% reduction in the risk of obtaining head injuries in the event of an accident.
Abiding by the Georgia Motorcycle Operators Manual, motorcyclists should sit properly and safely on their vehicle and also make sure passengers are sat correctly and behaving accordingly on the vehicle.
So regardless of whether you agree with the law or not, you’ll need to abide by it in the state of Georgia to keep all road users safe and to avoid any penalties.
Across, the laws on motorcycling vary, so if you are going out of state then you’ll want to double-check what the legal system says before doing whatever you want.
According to Georgia law, you are not permitted to obtain compensation if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident that occurred. However, if you are less than that percentage at fault (according to what insurance or court rules) then you’ll still be able to claim a percentage of compensation.
To make sure you’re away from all the motor laws in the state of Georgia, you can read the Georgia Department of Driver Services manual and guide here.