Motorcycle Laws in Decatur
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle on public roads in Georgia is beholden to various traffic rules and regulations, whether they are driving a commuter car, commercial truck, or a motorcycle. However, there are a few additional regulations that specifically apply to motorcycle riders and passengers and violating any of them could lead to serious consequences.
Being aware of motorcycle laws in Decatur can be important not just to keeping you on the right side of the criminal justice system, but also to preserving your own safety and the safety of those around you. What follows is a basic guide about the laws that apply to motorcyclists in Georgia, all of which a motorcycle accident lawyer could explain in further detail as needed.
How to Properly Ride a Motorcycle
According to Official Code of Georgia §40-6-311, motorcycle operators and passengers can only ride on their vehicle’s permanently attached seat while facing forward and straddling the bike. Furthermore, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle while holding a box, bundle, or anything else that prevents the operator from keeping both hands on the handlebars, riders cannot ride in a position that obstructs the operator’s view of the road or interferes with their ability to control the bike, and neither operators nor passengers can ride without shoes.
Under O.C.G.A. §40-6-312, motorcycle operators have the right to occupy a full lane of traffic as if they were a regular-sized motor vehicle, and drivers of other vehicles cannot deprive motorcyclists of that right. By the same token, though, motorcyclists cannot pass vehicles within the same lane they are traveling in, operate between traffic lanes, or ride more than two abreast in one traffic lane.
In addition, motorcyclists must always have their headlights and taillights lit while on the road. Finally, under O.C.G.A. §40-6-313, motorcycle operators and passengers cannot hold onto another vehicle traveling in front or next to them on the road while their motorcycle is in motion.
Required Motorcycle Features and Safety Gear
In accordance with O.C.G.A. §40-6-314, any motorcycle that does not have either an enclosed cab or a sidecar must have footrests equipped for passengers to use. Additionally, motorcyclists may not operate motorbikes on public roads that have handlebars rising more than 25 inches above the operator’s seat, or that have backrest or “sissy bars” that end in sharp points at the top.
Last but in no way least, O.C.G.A. §40-6-315 mandates that everyone who operates or rides on a motorcycle in Georgia must wear an approved safety helmet at all times while the motorcycle is in motion, regardless of their age or prior riding experience. Operators and riders must also wear approved eye-protective devices if their bike does not already have a windshield equipped.
Failing to Follow Decatur Motorcycle Laws Could Inhibit Civil Recovery
Anyone who fails to follow motorcycle laws in Decatur may put themselves at risk of both criminal sanctions and—in the event of an accident—serious physical injury. To make matters worse, violation of traffic rules and regulations can be considered comparative negligence during civil litigation, which could limit the amount of compensation available to an injured plaintiff or completely negate all recovery. Suffice it to say, knowing and following these laws is important in a number of contexts, as an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer could affirm.