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When Do Motorcycle Headlights Need To Be Illuminated?


As an Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney, I have to ask, how many of you know that Georgia Law requires that your headlamps be illuminated at all times while you are riding on the roads of Georgia?

In fact, it is a moving violation if you don’t have them on and, more particularly, it could be used against you if you’re found to not have a properly operating headlamp at a time of an accident, and there could be an argument that somehow that kept the driver from seeing you and therefore put some fault on you.

What Does Federal Code Say About Head Lamps?

At the end of the day, make sure your headlamp is working at all times similar to a running daylight lamp. Currently, these come standard, but you just want to make sure that they’re working. That’s all that Georgia Code says. The Federal Code actually goes further and allows modulating headlamps. Many riders like these modulated headlamps because they pulsate and go from 20% illumination up to a 100% back and forth every few seconds.

The theory is that these lights give more conspicuity to other drivers to see you during the day, similar to an ordinary daytime running lamp. I’ve heard from a number of motorcyclists that they’ve actually had the general public either stop them or see them and say, “Hey, why are your lights flashing? How is that not a violation of Georgia Law? It seems to be a distraction…”

My understanding is that as long as the Federal Code allows it, then it should be fine here in Georgia.

Again, the Georgia Law is very simple in the fact that it says, “You just have to have a working headlamp on at all times.” So, it is safe to assume that the oscillating lamps should be allowed.