Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle drives in between other vehicles and does not stay confined to one lane of traffic. Because motorcycles are smaller and more maneuverable than cars, they can fit between two lanes of cars, therefore moving quickly to pass slow or stopped traffic.
Lane splitting, which is also known as “white-lining” or “filtering forward,” is highly dangerous and illegal in the State of Indiana. In fact, it is illegal in almost every state. Indiana legal code states that all drivers should have full use of their lane of traffic. When lane splitting occurs, it forces three vehicles into using two lanes of traffic, hindering maneuverability and safe driving. Lane splitting can also occur when cars slip into the same space and ride parallel to motorcycles.
Why does lane splitting occur?
Lane splitting puts everyone at a higher risk for collision. Yet, it occurs because it lets motorcyclists travel much more efficiently through slow or stopped traffic. Instead of waiting in their lane on the road, motorcyclists can simply zip by in between cars on roads with two or more lanes going the same direction.
Lane splitting occurs because it can be frustrating to wait in traffic when the ability to bypass slow vehicles is both tempting and easy. Motorcyclists might also simply be reckless or not realize that lane splitting is illegal. Also, drivers or motorcyclists who are not paying attention might accidentally slip into the same space as another vehicle.
Lane splitting dangers
Lane splitting is dangerous for both cars and motorcycles. However, it is especially dangerous for motorcyclists. Because motorcycles are much lighter than automobiles and don’t offer seat belts or the same enclosed protection as cars, accidents between motorcycles and automobiles are typically much worse for motorcyclists. The larger the vehicle involved in a lane splitting accident, the more likely that a serious injury will occur.
When traffic is slow or stopped, traveling down the center of the road looks like an easy out for motorcyclists. However, any car, even if it’s slow or stopped, can pose a threat to a passing motorcycle. Even at slow speeds, a driver may have to swerve left or right and will not be expecting a motorcycle to be driving in the center of the road. Motorcyclists traveling down the road’s center also occupy passing cars’ blind spots, making motorcycles even more difficult to detect.
During stopped traffic, a car’s driver or passenger might open a door, presenting a sudden obstruction in the lane’s center. And while most motorcycles can fit between two cars, such a narrow lane is never a safe or optimal path. Similarly, drivers must always be aware of motorcycles and give them ample space when on the road. A driver should never creep into a motorcyclist’s lane and occupy road space parallel to the motorcycle.
Legal parameters of lane splitting
Accidents that occur as a result of lane splitting can result in criminal and civil legal action. A plaintiff likely would not need to prove negligence in a lane splitting case because the act of lane splitting itself is illegal.
It is important to have an experienced Indiana accident attorney look into your case after an accident. A personal injury attorney will investigate the incident to determine fault and figure out whose insurance will cover the cost of your damages. Because lane splitting accidents often involve three vehicles occupying two lanes, it can be more difficult to determine fault and the extent of responsibility on all parties. An Indiana accident attorney will be invaluable to figuring out your case.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, let the experienced team at Crossen Law Firm join your side from the start. Contact us to schedule a free consultation, and let us fight for your fair compensation while you focus on recovery.