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Is it Legal for Motorcycles to Split Lanes in Traffic?

Lane splitting is an action in which a motorcycle that is traveling on a multi-lane road drives between cars, on the line that separates the lanes. There are benefits to doing this for motorcycle riders, but the practice can result in injury if a driver isn’t aware of a bike. The legality of lane splitting is questionable in most of the United States.

What is the Purpose of Splitting Lanes?

In many cases, the primary reason for splitting lanes is to avoid standstill traffic. If cars on the highway are not moving at all, motorcycles are able to surpass the stopped vehicles. Splitting lanes also gives motorcycle riders the ability to avoid driving close to cars, which can reduce the possibility of an accident.

Lane splitting can help a person on a motorcycle:

  • Avoid traffic
  • Drive away from dangerous drivers, inclement weather, or other dangers
  • Decrease their risk of being harmed in a rear-end collision

Lane Splitting Regulations

The only state that explicitly permits lane splitting is California. The 49 other states in the country may not legally allow lane splitting in the same way that California does, but may permit doing so in certain circumstances. Some states do not have any laws concerning lane splitting, leaving the practice in a legal gray area. The majority of the time, motorcycle riders who split lanes anywhere outside of California will likely be reprimanded by the police. The behavior is generally seen as reckless, and a police officer may consider the potential dangers above the potential benefits.

In Florida, lane splitting is against the law. Motorcyclists in the Sunshine State are allowed to share lanes, meaning two motorcycles can ride next to each other in the same lane. However, riders cannot drive their bikes between two cars.

Although splitting lanes can be beneficial, it can result in severe injury. The risk of injury is much higher in states where lane splitting is illegal because drivers are not as aware that motorcyclists may drive between lanes. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. to speak with our lawyers.

Complete our contact form or call (941) 960-7225 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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