Tennessee Motorcycle Laws & Georgia Motorcycle Laws
Motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles all have a responsibility to share the road and exercise caution around one another. While most bikers abide by the rules of the road, extend courtesy to other drivers, and wear the proper protective gear when riding, not all motorists show the same level of respect.
When a driver is inattentive, careless, or overly aggressive, catastrophic or even fatal motorcycle accidents can occur.
It is vital for all motorcycle riders to know and follow the particular laws in their state – and for other drivers to follow the laws about sharing the road. These laws exist to keep you safe and prevent serious collisions and crashes.
If you were obeying all state laws while riding your motorcycle and another person’s actions caused you harm, you could be owed significant compensation for your injuries and damage to your bike.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Tennessee
Tennessee is one of several states that passed a universal helmet law requiring anyone who is riding a motorcycle to wear a helmet. This law extends to both the operator and their passenger. It does not include any exemptions for age or riding experience.
The state also requires all helmets to comply with federal safety standards and allows for specific features and modifications to be made if riders or passengers are 21 years of age or older.
Those found riding a motorcycle without a helmet could face Class C misdemeanor charges, an offense that is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $50 fine. However, it’s important to remember that failure to wear a helmet does not automatically mean you can’t recover compensation if someone else caused the crash. Not wearing a helmet almost never has anything to do with the negligence that triggered a crash.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Georgia
All motorcycle operators and passengers are also required to wear a helmet in Georgia. Additional eye protection is also required if the motorcycle does not have a windshield. The Georgia Commissioner of Public Safety is permitted to approve the standards for eyewear and headgear worn by operators and their passengers, according to state statute § 40-6-315.
Violations of Georgia’s motorcycle helmet laws could result in up to a year of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Same as in Tennessee, not wearing a helmet should not affect your ability to recover compensation when someone else is at fault for the crash.
Motorcycle Safety Laws in Georgia and Tennessee
In addition to requiring helmets, both states have other specific laws for motorcycle operators to follow. In Tennessee, operators must:
- Have both left and right-side mirrors attached to their vehicle
- Use headlights during both day and nighttime rides
- Have passenger seating and footrests on any motorcycle that is used for transporting passengers
In Georgia, operators must:
- Pass the knowledge and Rider Skills Test to earn your motorcycle license
- Not ride more than two vehicles in a single lane
- Not transport cargo or packages
- Pay attention to the proper seating position
- Monitor passenger behavior for unsafe actions
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Tennessee and Georgia?
Lane splitting is also known as white lining, stripe riding, or lane sharing. A rider is lane splitting when they drive between the lanes or down the row between slow-moving or standstill traffic traveling in the same direction. While this maneuver allows the biker to get through heavy traffic quickly, it is illegal in both Tennessee and Georgia.
Tennessee Code Annotated 55-8-182 specifically addresses lane sharing and specifies that the only exception is for police officers on official duty.
Georgia’s 2010 Statute 40-6-312 specifically makes it illegal for any motorcycle operator to ride between two lanes of traffic or “any adjacent row of vehicles.”
Understanding Fault Laws in Tennessee and Georgia
When it comes to motorcycle accidents, different states handle liability differently. Both Tennessee and Georgia follow the same modified comparative negligence doctrine when it comes to assigning responsibility for a crash.
The modified comparative negligence system allows for an injured individual to recover damages for an accident if they are up to 50% liable for the accident. This means that even if you were partially at fault (but no more than 51%) for the crash, you could still recover compensation from the other party. If you are found to be 51% or a higher percentage liable, you are not entitled to recover any damages.
If you are found to be 50% or less at fault for the crash, your damages will be calculated on the final determined fault percentage. This means, for example, that if the award was $100,000 and you were determined to be 20% at fault, you would receive $80,000 in damages.
Determining the percentage of fault can be tricky following an accident. The other party will likely try to shift as much of the blame as possible onto you, which is why it is vital to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to represent you.
Your lawyer will work to gather evidence that demonstrates that the other party was at fault for the crash to preserve your right to fair compensation.
Contact Our Chattanooga Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Being hurt in a motorcycle accident in Georgia or Tennessee can be devastating. Dealing with an injury can be painful and expensive. Replacing a wrecked bike is also costly. When an accident derails your life, turn to our experienced accident lawyers for help.
Attorney Scott N. Davis of The Davis Firm, LLC represents those who have been hurt in motorcycle accidents, whether as operators or passengers. He is committed to pursuing the full and fair compensation that you need to pay your bills and get back on your feet after the crash.
Our consultations are always free, so contact us now to speak with a knowledgeable and compassionate Chattanooga injury attorney at The Davis Firm, LLC. You’ve been hurt, and we’re here to demand justice for you.