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Can Motorcycles Split Lanes Legally?

Can Motorcycles Split Lanes Legally?

Motorcycles have become popularized as a mode of transportation which has heightened the risk of injuries from accidents. Usually this is because of the lack of protection a motorcycle provides as compared to traditional modes of transportation like cars. One of the more controversial causes of motorcycle injuries is lane splitting.

Lane splitting is a common practice that involves riding a motorcycle between traffic lanes (and between cars). They have this ability because they are smaller and easier to maneuver between cars in slowed or halted traffic. Sometimes it can be called filtering if it traffic is entirely stopped. California is the only state where motorcycles can split lanes legally. It is illegal in all others. You can receive an expensive fine if they are caught doing so.

 

Why Is It Illegal?

The most important reason lane splitting is illegal is because is safety concerns. It is controversial whether lane splitting or following traffic as another vehicle would is more dangerous. Vehicle doors opening in slowed or halted traffic is a major concern because for motorcyclists weaving through cars, it may be fatal.

Blind spots are also a major concern for motorcyclists. A truck and trailer has a large blind spot which might allow a driver to miss an oncoming motorcycle.  This threatens everyone involved in the accident as well as possibly endangering bystanders and other vehicles.

 

Who Is Liable?

The motorcyclist is usually deemed liable because lane splitting is illegal. It is extremely difficult to argue that the motorcyclist isn’t at fault in any of the 49 states that the act is illegal in. However, in California, there’s a chance that a rider may not be responsible. A rider must prove a few things to avoid liability:

 

  • The automobile was changing lanes.

 

  • The automobile driver was weaving through lanes.

 

  • Distractions were preventing the automobile driver from paying attention to the road.

 

  • The turn signal was not employed or they were unaware that they were drifting between lanes.

 

  • The automobile driver is in a state of mind that has prevented him from driving safely.

 

States have varying legal regulations revolving around motorcycle operation.. If you live in California, there are a few ways to determine liability but if you do not, then you must remember that lane splitting is illegal. If you have endured an accident and believe you are not liable, employ a personal injury lawyer, like a motorcycle accident lawyer Phoenix AZ turns to, to help you settle or gain an award.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead for their insight into motorcycle accidents and lane splitting.