In Georgia, there are over 320,000 licensed motorcyclists and over 194,000 registered motorcycles on the road, according to the Department of Driver Services (DDS). Like drivers, motorcyclists have a responsibility to obey the traffic laws and operate their motor vehicles in a safe manner.
Failing to abide by the rules means a higher risk of injury, traffic violation penalties, and increased liability should an accident occur. Read on to learn more about motorcycle rules of the road that Peachtree City riders must follow.
Know Your Motorcycle Rider Responsibilities
The Georgia Motorcycle Operator’s Manual explains that in many accidents, both the riders and the drivers share a degree of fault. “’Accident’ implies an unforeseen event that occurs without anyone’s fault or negligence.
Most often in traffic, that is not the case. In fact, most people involved in a crash can usually claim some responsibility for what takes place,” notes the DDS. As a motorcyclist, it’s your duty to know your responsibilities and then adhere to them. Even if you’re abiding by all the rules, though, that doesn’t mean everybody else on the road is doing the same.
The DDS explains, “As a rider you can’t be sure that other operators will see you or yield the right of way. To lessen your chances of a crash occurring,” consider the following tips.
- Wear proper clothing and have adequate lighting on your bike to make yourself more visible to drivers.
- Use proper signals to clearly indicate your intentions, and don’t make any sudden or unpredictable moves.
- Do not ride too close to cars. Allow ample space between you and other road users.
- Scan your path of travel 12 seconds ahead.
- Stay on the lookout for hazards.
- Keep focused on riding. Do not become distracted; you need to be prepared to react so that you can carry out whatever crash-avoidance maneuvers are needed.
Tips for Safely Riding a Motorcycle in Georgia
Many motorcycle accidents are attributed to distraction, rider error and/or inexperience, and riding over the speed limit. These are all preventable causes.
As a rider, there are a few safety measures you can take to minimize risk of crashing and sustaining injuries.
- Do not exceed the speed limit: In approximately 34 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2012, the rider was speeding, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Wear a helmet: Firstly, motorcyclists are required by law to wear a helmet, as per Georgia Code, 40-6-315. But even more importantly, it can save your life. If you do get in an accident and are not wearing a helmet, you’ll have a 40 percent greater chance of dying from a head injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Take a safety course: The Georgia DDS offers three motorcycle riders courses: Basic, Experienced, and Advanced. You’ll learn the rules of the road, maneuvering skills, and best safety practices.
- Forgo alcohol: You have a responsibility to follow the laws and conduct yourself in a safe manner while operating your bike; drinking and riding is an absolute no-go. Forty-three percent of riders who were fatally injured in single-vehicle crashes in 2012 had blood alcohol content levels of .08 g/dL or higher, according to the NHTSA.
In the Georgia Motorcycle Operator’s Manual, Georgia DDS Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier cautions riders: “Because real riding takes real skills, I urge you to take both the Basic and Experienced Motorcycle Safety training courses, always wear protective gear, respect the ride, and don’t drink and ride.”
Additional Rules for Motorcyclists
Below are a few additional rules to keep in mind.
- You have to hold a Class M license to ride a motorcycle on the road.
- Eye protection is mandatory, unless your bike has a windscreen.
- Lane splitting is not permitted.
- You can ride two abreast, but no more. Even still, riding two abreast isn’t the safest practice, so avoid it.
To learn more about your responsibilities, take a local motorcycle course in Peachtree City, and read over the Georgia Motorcycle Operator’s Manual.
For legal questions about a Peachtree City motorcycle accident, you can contact the law office of Jason Schultz at 404-474-0804.