Lane splitting is a controversial topic in many motorcycle communities. The practice of lane-splitting is legal in some other countries, including in Europe, Australia, and Asia, but is against traffic laws in most states in the U.S., except California where it became legal in 2016. In several states, traffic laws make no mention of lane splitting or don’t specifically prohibit it, leaving it open to individual county law enforcement agencies.
Lane splitting is the practice of driving a motorcycle in the available space between lanes of traffic. It allows a motorcyclist to proceed forward in slowed or stopped traffic.
Lane splitting is prohibited in Georgia and could negatively impact an injury victim’s ability to recover damages after an accident.
Though some drivers and motorcyclists use the terms lane splitting and filtering interchangeably, lane splitting refers to a motorcycle proceeding forward between lanes during slow-moving traffic while filtering or “filtering forward” means to proceed forward on a motorcycle between lanes in stopped traffic such as in traffic backed up at a traffic light or stalled traffic near an accident or road construction.
Some other names for the practice of lane splitting on a motorcycle include:
Traffic flow experts disagree on the advantages and disadvantages of legalized lane splitting. Some experts believe that allowing motorcycles to use the available space between lanes prevents accidents such as rear-end collisions. Lane splitting may also help relieve traffic congestion and keep motorcyclists from overheating in hot weather. However, because motorcycles are not a major mode of transportation in the U.S. as they are in other countries, legislatures in most states don’t see the benefit in legalizing lane-splitting for minimizing traffic congestion.
Others argue that lane-splitting increases the chance of a collision when motorists change lanes in traffic.
Lane splitting on a motorcycle is illegal in Georgia. Committing this traffic offense can result in a ticket with a fine and the addition of 3 points against your license. Fines vary according to county but are typically in the $130.00 range. Not only that, but under Georgia’s fault-based insurance laws, if an accident occurs while a motorcyclist is lane-splitting it leaves them liable for damages including property damage and personal injuries.
If you were lane-splitting on a motorcycle and involved in an accident, working with an Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyer may help you still recover some of your damages under the state’s modified comparative negligence law. If a driver made an unsafe lane change, was speeding, distracted, or intoxicated, they may be found partly at fault for the accident. If you were less than 50% at fault in the accident, you can still recover damages minus your percentage of fault. For instance, if you were 49% at fault for an accident you may still be able to recover 51% of the compensation for your damages through the auto insurance policy of the negligent or reckless driver.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Georgia and have questions about your rights, it’s best to speak to an Atlanta personal injury attorney with experience navigating motorcycle accident cases under Georgia’s modified comparative fault system.
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