Lane splitting is a driving manoeuvre in which a motorcyclist rides between lanes of slower moving or stopped traffic, or “splits” lanes, to get ahead of other vehicles. It is often called “lane splitting” or “lane sharing”. The manoeuvre is controversial: some drivers and motoring organisations have lobbied to make it illegal; police do not permit it in some countries, and some drivers have been convicted of driving without due care and attention. Supporters blame this on poorly enforced rules, or motorcycle roadworthiness requirements which are designed to protect other road users but neglect motorcyclists.
What is lane splitting and why is it now more prevalent in the state? Is it safe to split lanes on Georgia’s highways? What are the pros and cons of this practice?
Motorcyclists cite the advantages of lane-splitting as being able to move from point A to point B more quickly than a motorist who is stuck in traffic, along with reducing the number of motorcycles that stop at intersections. However, some motorists feel it is dangerous because they are unaware of motorcycles between them and the vehicles ahead of them. Other concerns include an increase in rear-end collisions as a result of vehicles waiting for the motorcycle to clear an intersection.
Currently, there is no bill before the Georgia legislature to make lane-splitting legal. Currently, there are few laws on lane-splitting in Georgia. The Vehicle Code simply states vehicles shall not drive in the left lane except when passing another vehicle or turning left. (O.C.G.A. 40-6-184)
Legalities of Lane Splitting in Georgia: Everything You Need to Know
Georgia law does not prohibit motorcycle splitting lanes. In fact, the Georgia Roads and Streets statutes do not mention motorcycles at all when discussing lane splitting. This is true of several other states’ laws – California, Florida, and Washington, for example. In fact, lane splitting is specifically permitted in California (from one half-mile per hour (0.40 km/h) to 30 mph (50 km/h)) and Washington (up to 20 mph (30 km/h)).
However, the Georgia State Patrol has historically (and has indicated it will continue to) discourage splitting lanes – particularly at speeds above 30 mph (50 km/h). In fact, you may be cited for improper lane changing (failure to signal, failure to stay in one lane and failure to drive on the right side of the road).