Lane splitting is a controversial topic across the United States. Lane splitting is the term used when motorcycles pass in a nonexistent lane. Motorcyclists usually do this when traffic is stopped or exceptionally slow. They might be observed riding the line between lanes of traffic. They can avoid sitting in traffic for long periods and benefit from their size. Motorcyclists can usually fit between the lanes of traffic they are straddling.

Is lane splitting legal?

Lane splitting is not illegal in California. Some states forbid it. Others are silent. Some states have legislation filed to legalize this practice.

Motorcyclists claim that lane splitting improves safety. Getting struck from behind is a common occurrence when traveling in stop and go traffic. Lane splitting allows a motorcyclist an escape route from a potential crash.

Allowing motorcyclists ride between lanes also reduces congestion on the highways, reducing the amount of traffic involved in any potential backup.

Lane splitting is not without risk. Motorcyclists should not consider allowed lane splitting as gaining a free lane where they have full access. Extra caution is called for when lane splitting. All vehicles travelling on the road should be considered unpredictable. Cars are not expecting a motorcycle to come up alongside them. Cars can easily veer into the space the motorcyclist is riding in. The space between the lanes can change quickly putting the motorcyclist at significant risk. Many car drivers don’t see motorcyclist’s lane splitting as helping anyone but themselves. Many see them as selfishly getting out of the traffic the car driver cannot. Many car drivers are not aware that lane splitting is legal in the locations that it is. Motorcyclist must take extra care when lane splitting to avoid the very dangers they are trying to avoid.

Contact our experienced law firm if you are in an accident involving lane splitting.


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