Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on July 15, 2020
Motorcycles can be fun vehicles to operate, and there are plenty of motorcycle enthusiasts across the state of Georgia. The number one priority of any motorcyclist should be their safety. Motorcycle riders are inherently at higher risk of sustaining an injury in the event an accident occurs because they do not have the same protections that a passenger vehicle driver has. Many visitors and residents in Georgia wonder whether or not lane splitting is legal. Lane splitting is the practice of motorcyclists riding between rows of traffic moving in the same direction, and it is not legal in the state of Georgia.
If you have ever seen a motorcyclist operating their bike between rows of traffic moving in the same direction, then you have seen lane splitting. This driving action can occur when a motorcyclist uses the dotted line on the roadway as a temporary lane to go between stopped or slower moving vehicles moving in the same direction as the motorcyclist. Lane splitting is also commonly referred to as “white lining” because the motorcyclist is using the center white line as their lane to move between other vehicles.
Many people refer to lane splitting and lane filtering in the same breath. Lane filtering is slightly different than lane splitting, in that lane filtering refers to a motorcyclist making their way through slow-moving or stationary traffic (at a stoplight or some type of traffic jam). When lane filtering, a motorcyclist is not driving their vehicle between other vehicles on the roadway. Rather, the motorcyclist is continually getting in front of slow-moving and stopped vehicles until they get to the front.
There are a few states across the country that have legalized lane splitting for motorcyclists. A study from U.C. Berkley has shown that lane splitting can be done safely in traffic moving at 50 mph or less, and so long as the motorcyclist does not exceed the speed of vehicles around them by 15 mph or more. Data from the U.C. Berkeley study has shown that motorcyclists who practice lane splitting safely are much less likely to be rear-ended on the roadway than drivers who do not lane split. The idea is that motorcyclists are at a higher risk of being injured in continual stop and go traffic, but that by lane splitting, they are able to get to the front of traffic and avoid rear-end collisions.
Both lane splitting and lane filtering are hot topics of debate In Georgia and other states across the country. However, lane splitting is currently illegal in Georgia. Under state law, motorcycles are considered to be vehicles just like any other passenger car on the roadway. There is no pending legislation that would legalize this practice across the state.
We do want to point out that motorcyclists are allowed to share lanes with other motorcycles. Because a motorcycle is small enough to fit two bikes into a single lane, lane sharing is common with groups of motorcycles.
Finally, motorcyclists in Georgia are required to wear a helmet when they are on the roadway. Not only are motorcycle helmets required, but they are proven to be effective in preventing serious injuries and death in the event an accident does occur.
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