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Definition of a Motorycle

By Evan L. Kaine

We sincerely hope that the D.O.T. approved helmets are not only protecting your head, but possibly also providing some protection from the 2014 Georgia Pollenpocalypse.

So far, in our education series on Georgia motorcycle laws, we have discussed the appropriate helmets and other clothing and Georgia’s law regarding passengers on motorcycles.  Today, we shift focus a little to examine exactly which types of vehicles Georgia considers to be motorcycles.

To find out what constitutes a motorcycle, we turn to O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(29), which states in part:

“ ’Motorcycle’ means every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but

Excluding a tractor, all-terrain vehicle.”

It is important to note the mention of “three wheels” because this means that motorcycles with sidecars and motorcycle trikes are still captured under the broad definition of a “motorcycle.”

Of further significance is the fact that scooters having more than 5 horsepower but less than 4 wheels are also classified as motorcycles.  But, note, mopeds are classified separately.

Finally, there exists another category of vehicles known as “motor driven cycles,” under O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1.  According to O.C.G.A. §40-1-1(30), “motor driven cycles” are defined as:

“ ’Motor driven cycle’ means every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor which produced not to exceed five brake horsepower, every bicycle with a motor attached, and every moped.”

In essence, we can look to both O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(29) and O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1(30) for a comprehensive definition of what is and what –is not- a motorcycle.  Those in Peachtree City and in the mountains of North Georgia will undoubtedly be relieved to know that neither golf carts, go carts, or ATVs are considered to be motorcycles.

We hope you are enjoying reading our entries about motorcycles as much as we are enjoying researching and writing them for you!  Next time, we will cover the Good Samaritan Law in Georgia.

Until then, may you outrun the pollen on all of your motorcycle adventures!

For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law.

Published May 13, 2014


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