Splitting Lanes is Dangerous, but is it Illegal?
When riding, you get to experience the freedom the open air gives you. Many riders even claim that you arrive at your destination faster, without speeding, when on a motorcycle than when in a car. Especially because you can sneak right up past that line waiting at the stop light and get to the head of the pack… right?
This procedure, called lane splitting, is common among motorcycle riders. And unless you’re in California, it’s not actually legal. In Texas, lane splitting is illegal. But why can’t you split the lanes?
Lane Splitting is Considered Dangerous
Here’s the situation. You’re stopped at a red light, quietly waiting your turn. Suddenly a motorcycle comes whipping up between you and the next car over, essentially riding the white line. It’s startling to say the least.
Now if everyone is just sitting and waiting, there shouldn’t be too many issues. But what if the traffic is moving slowly? What if the driver in the left lane is staring at his cell phone, so a driver in the right lane decides to sneak in ahead of him and changes just at the moment a lane splitting motorcycle is coming by?
There is little more than a few feet of room between the two lines of vehicles at an intersection. That does not leave much room for error if someone was to drift over, open a door, change lanes, or otherwise move. It creates an unsafe environment for everyone.
It May Lead to an Increase Number of Motorcycle Accidents
In the only state where lane splitting is legal, California, the data to determine if lane splitting leads to more accidents is fuzzy at best. There is no check box to say that the motorcycle accident happened during a lane splitting incident.
Proponents of lane splitting claim that allowing split lanes reduces the number of motorcycle accidents.
Opponents claim that split lanes increases the number of accidents.
The bottom line is that when done properly and safely, just like all driving the risk is minimal. But that doesn’t mean it’s legal in Texas.
Lane Splitting isn’t Expressly Forbidden
The problem with lane splitting is that there is no law expressly stating that you may, or may not, do so. The law refers to vehicles staying in their own lane, but doesn’t expressly forbid motorcycles from lane splitting.
When you’re driving in Texas, your vehicle must stay within a single marked lane, and only leave when it is safe to do so. If you’re splitting a lane in a motorcycle, you end up driving in an unsafe manner according to the current law.
Over the years there have been various bills to enact a law to legalize the action, but none have come to fruition.
Herbert & Eberstein are Your Texas Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Suppose you were lane splitting, and you did get in an accident. You’re automatically at fault and can’t seek reimbursement for damages… right?
Not so fast!
While you may have been committing a traffic infringement, the other driver might not be 100% free and clear of all wrongdoing. Road rage can come into play where another motorist acts maliciously toward you, or the other driver may violate the law in another way as well.
If you have been in a motorcycle accident while you were splitting lanes, you need to speak with Texas motorcycle attorneys Zach Herbert and Brian Eberstein. Your initial consultation is free, so let’s see how we can help!