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What to Know About Motorcycle Lane Splitting in Georgia

Lane splitting is a controversial practice in motorcycling. Although it is lawful in some other jurisdictions—most notably in California—motorcycle lane splitting is prohibited by Georgia law. A motorcycle lane splitting violation can result in a fine in our state. Further, your case could be affected if you are involved in a crash while lane splitting. Within this article, our Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of lane splitting laws in our state.

What to Know About Motorcycle Lane Splitting in Georgia

What is Motorcycle Lane Splitting?

As explained by the American Motorcycle Association, motorcycle lane splitting is a practice that occurs when a rider (motorcyclist) rides between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic, or moves between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light. For seemingly obvious reasons, the maneuver can be advantageous for motorcyclists as it can help them navigate through traffic more efficiently. At the same time, motorcycle lane splitting also carries some significant risks. It can surprise drivers who may not be expecting a motorcycle to pass in such close proximity. 

Georgia Law Prohibits Lane Splitting By Motorcycles

Can you lawfully lane split while riding a motorcycle in Georgia? The short answer is “no”—it is a practice that is prohibited by state law. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-312, motorcycle lane splitting is now allowed. As stated clearly within the statute, “no person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.” Along the same lines, Georgia law also holds that motorcycle riders should not “overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.” A motorcycle who violates the lane splitting statute could be fined. Depending on the situation, they could also face additional sanctions. In some cases, allegations of lane splitting may even be used by Georgia police to support a criminal reckless driving charge. Perhaps even more importantly, lane splitting could have a big effect on a personal injury claim. 

Georgia is a Comparative Negligence State for Motorcycle Accidents

Were you involved in a motorcycle crash while lane splitting in Georgia? Here is the first thing that you need to know: You still have the right to bring a personal injury claim. Although motorcycle lane splitting is strictly prohibited under Georgia law, it is not a total bar against taking legal action after an accident. Georgia is a comparative negligence state for motor vehicle collisions, including motorcycle accidents (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33). All motorists are liable for their share of the crash. 

Consider an example where a motorcyclist was lane splitting on a highway outside of Atlanta. Of course, that is an act that is prohibited in Georgia. At the same time, the motorcyclist was hit by a distracted driver whose car changed lanes without signaling. Even though the driver clearly violated a traffic rule, the motorcyclist’s decision to lane split could be considered a contributing factor to the accident. The parties may share fault for the motorcycle crash. 

Assume the court determines that the motorcyclist was 30 percent at fault for the accident due to lane splitting. The court determines that the distracted driver was 70 percent at fault for failure to focus on the road and for not signaling. If the motorcyclist’s damages total $100,000, they would only be able to recover $70,000. Georgia’s comparative negligence law reduces the damages by their percentage of fault. Every motorcycle crash requires a comprehensive investigation. 

The Bottom Line:

Motorcycle lane splitting is a prohibited practice in Georgia. A motorcyclist who splits lanes can be pulled over and issued a traffic citation. If lane splitting is deemed a factor in a crash, a motorcyclist may be partially (or fully) liable for the accident. That being said, lane splitting, taken by itself, is not a total bar to recovery. A motorcyclist hurt in a lane splitting crash may still be entitled to recover compensation under Georgia’s comparative negligence laws. 

Set Up a Free Case Review With a Georgia Motorcycle Crash Attorney Today

At Lawbike Motorcycle Injury Lawyers, we specialized in motorcycle accident injury claims. If you or your loved one was involved in a motorcycle collision that involved lane-splitting, we are more than ready to help protect your rights. Call us at 1-866-529-2453 or contact us online for a no cost, no obligation case review. We handle motorcycle accident injury claims throughout all of Georgia, including in Atlanta, Macon, Augusta, and Savannah. 

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