The Legalities and Consequences of Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is a dangerous riding maneuver that could lead to a rider colliding with bigger vehicles. If lane splitting was the cause of your accident, you could share liability for the crash. This could vary depending on the state, as it is legal only in a select number of states.

Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney will help ensure you get a proper explanation of the legalities and consequences of lane splitting. They will also provide the necessary assistance for a successful motorcycle accident claim.

What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides in between two traffic lanes to try and squeeze past cars occupying the vehicles on either side. Cyclists and motorcycle riders can do this because they’re much smaller and narrower than cars, SUVs, and trucks.

This type of behavior usually happens when traffic is at a standstill or moving incredibly slowly, tempting motorcyclists to try and take advantage of their vehicle’s mobility and maneuver in between lanes, which thereby allows them to cheat traffic jams.

The Legality of Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is legal only in a single US state: California. This means that lane splitting is illegal and will result in punishment in all the other states.

Law enforcement officials will stop you and give you a citation if they catch your lane splitting. You might even end up having to deal with even harsher fines and penalties than that.

In some instances, courts will punish lane splitting with fines and jail time. Even if you’ve not got time and are looking to beat traffic by all means necessary, avoid the temptation of lane splitting.

Why is it Dangerous to Lane Split?

Lane splitting is illegal in most states for a reason. Not only is lane splitting a risky maneuver for motorcyclists and cyclists alike, but also for many other road users, including pedestrians.

For example, other motorists may not spot you riding your bike or motorcycle in between the lanes and can accidentally hit you without knowing. You could end up suffering severe injuries. Your vehicle could get damaged too.

You also need to think about how other motorists on the road may react and feel as they look at motorcyclists who weave through traffic and leave them behind illegally just so you can get ahead. One major source of road rage and its environs is, without doubt, lane splitting.

You’re also at risk of getting into an accident when you’re engaged in lane splitting. Even minor actions by other road users, like a driver adjusting their mirror or objects being flung out of cars, and drivers opening the door, have the potential to hurt the motorcyclist. This also paves the way for unnecessary property damage claims.

Can Lane Splitting Affect Compensation?

Typically, a motorcycle accident victim is entitled to compensation for their personal loss and injuries if there was negligence present. However, comparative negligence laws can lead to reduced compensation. The other party involved in the accident can argue that the lane splitter is partly responsible for the crash. In states that follow contributory negligence, the motorcyclist may lose the right to seek compensation as they’re partially at fault for the accident.

Avoiding the temptation of splitting lanes and complying with the state’s traffic rules and regulations will help make sure that the lawyer of the responsible party will find it extremely difficult to shift the blame on you.

This is also one of the reasons why you should hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. This legal professional will help tackle the challenges that arise during the case and make sure that you receive fair compensation for your losses.