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Motorcycle Passenger Law

With temperatures purportedly reaching the upper-70s this week, it seemed like the perfect time to pick up where we left off in our last discussion about motorcycles.  As promised, we’re back to discuss Georgia’s laws regarding passengers on motorcycles.

The governing statute for motorcycle passengers is O.C.G.A. § 40-6-311(a), which states:

A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto; and such operator shall not carry any other person nor shall any other person ride on a motorcycle unless such motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person, in which event a passenger may ride upon the permanent and regular seat if designed for two persons or upon another seat firmly attached to the motorcycle at the rear or side of the operator.

Do you feel confused?

Although the Georgia lawmakers have done a fine job of spelling out the law to those who speak the language, all of the “attached thereto,” “in which event,” and “unless such,” can make it difficult for those non-attorney riders among us.

Therefore, let us explain it in layman’s terms:

You cannot have passengers on a motorcycle unless the motorcycle has a seat for passengers;

  1. Your passengers can only ride on the permanent and regular seats.  No passengers on the handlebars or anywhere that is not specifically designed to be a permanent and regular seat; and
  2. Side-cars or other seats that are attached to the side or rear of the operator are allowable.

Finally, there are two additional requirements for passengers:

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-314(a):  Passengers must have footrests; and

  1. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-314(b):  Backrests are not required.  However, some backrests, such as the “sissy bar,” are prohibited.  A “sissy bar” is a type of backrest that forms a sharp point at the top.

Tune in next time when we will discuss what is…and what is not…considered to be a motorcycle.

For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law


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