Some motorcycle riders cross other lanes to pass slow-moving vehicles and go forward. The movement is called lane splitting and it is not legal across the United States. If you do it in a prohibited state, you may face a hefty fine.
This article will tackle the legalities of lane splitting and if you are allowed to do it in your location.
What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting refers to a motorcycle passing one or more slow-moving vehicles between two lanes, primarily due to avoidance of a full stop during heavy traffic.
Experienced motorcyclists can expertly move past cars in front of them to avoid congestion and save time.
Additionally, it leaves more space for incoming vehicles to fill in the gaps and ease the bottleneck.
This practice is in some states and some countries in Asia and Europe.
Why Do Motorcycles Split Lanes?
Lane splitting is a rider’s way to safely escape the congestion and the danger of accidents from four-wheeled vehicles.
Motorcyclists are safer when they conduct this maneuver as it avoids rear-end collisions caused by cars from behind during moments of high traffic. During a traffic jam, cars tend to overlook smaller vehicles in their front, causing car crashes or injury to riders.
Is lane splitting legal in Texas?
Now, the question is: Can you lane split in Texas?
Despite having advantages for the riders, lane splitting is not allowed in Texas.
If you use your motorcycle in Texas, you must abide by traffic rules and remain at a full stop during heavy traffic.
This means that even when you can safely maneuver your way forward, you still have to stay in your lane.
Lane Splitting Laws in Texas
Motorcycle lane splitting in Texas is strictly prohibited. According to the Transportation Code of Texas Sec. 545.060, all vehicles must drive within a single lane for traffic.
Specifically, there is no mention of permitting lane splitting among motorcycle riders.
While lane splitting is not allowed in Texas, some legislators saw its advantages and pushed for its legalization.
There were previous attempts to legalize lane splitting in Texas, but these were unsuccessful.
In 2017, an effort was made by a Democratic senator from Austin and presented measures for Texas lane splitting.
However, the Senate Transportation Committee junked the measure. Another bill was drafted in 2019 about lane filtering Texas measures but later dismissed by the 87th Texas Legislature.
Until today, there are still no new motorcycle laws in Texas that focus on legalizing lane splitting.
Accidents Caused By Lane Splitting
Accidents happen on the road. More often, motorcycles are involved in such unfortunate incidents. One of the most common reasons is lane splitting, as drivers are unaware of riders’ lane splitting.
Some of the causes of accidents involving lane splitting are the following:
It is possible that the driver will not be able to see motorcyclists crossing lanes, especially for trucks with blind spots. The driver may unknowingly hit the rider upon switching lanes.
Often, it is too late for the driver to avoid the motorcycle, causing the vehicle to swerve and result in multiple car damage.
A typical scenario is a rear-end accident when a driver suddenly steps on the break after spotting a rider who is switching lanes.
Who Is Liable for a Lane Splitting Accident?
If you were proven to split lanes in Texas, which is illegal, you would be liable. Lane splitting is considered reckless behavior, and you are accountable for any incident.
However, the driver of the vehicle involved will also have to face penalties if there is neglect on their part. For one, the driver is liable for switching lanes without checking the surroundings.
If you are involved in a road accident, call Attorney Sgt. Pike immediately to seek legal representation in your case. You need an expert in road laws who can identify your right as an injured party.
Lane Splitting Penalties
The same with car drivers, motorcyclists who break road rules have to face corresponding penalties. If you suddenly cross between two lanes to get ahead, you should expect a highway patrol officer to pull you over for your violation. Lane splitting in Texas may cost you a hefty fee of $175.
What states can you split lanes on a motorcycle?
Is it illegal to lane split in other states?
Riders have long been using the technique when driving. However, California is the only state that has motorcycle laws driving between lanes.
Texas joins many other states in the U.S which prohibit lane splitting at all times. The rules on driving through a single lane apply to all vehicles, including motorcycles.
Is There a Difference Between Lane Splitting, Lane Filtering, and Lane Sharing?
Lane splitting, lane filtering, and lane sharing are usually mistaken to be all the same. Although their meaning may seem close to each other, these terms are different activities riders generally do while on the road.
You can use the following description to understand the terms better.
- Lane Splitting – Refers to motorcycle movement that crosses road lanes to pass slow-moving vehicles. It is also called white lining.
- Lane Filtering -Refers to the movement of a motorcycle across two lanes to the front of vehicles halted in an intersection.
- Lane Sharing - Refers to motorcycles moving side by side in a single lane.
Is Lane Splitting Safe?
For motorcycle advocates, lane splitting is a solution to go through heavy traffic while securing their safety against more oversized vehicles that may cause them harm. It can also save them time and give more space for incoming cars to occupy.
However, law officials are against this maneuver as they find it even more dangerous for the rider and the vehicles around it.
The possibility of an accident is minimal when lane splitting at a speed of 10mph. However, the scenario changes when you ride at a rate of more than 30 mph.
Anything can happen at such speed. For instance, a car whose driver could not see you splitting lanes may hit you and cause a severe injury on your part. It worsens if you lack protective gear, which may aggravate your injury.
If you are involved in an unfortunate incident due to lane splitting, do not think you have no right to file a lawsuit or claim for insurance.
Attorney Sgt. Pike knows how to prove the other party’s negligence that causes your injuries on the road. He will seek the means for you to get your insurance claims which is a big help for your recovery. Book a consultation with Attorney Sgt. Pike today for an initial assessment.
Consult A Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Being in an accident on the road affects your daily life. It may result in debilitating health conditions, financial loss, and death. While this unfortunate incident may be unintentional, it should not have happened if not for someone’s negligence and reckless manner.
While you are recuperating from an accident, get the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer who is experienced in dealing with road-related cases. Attorney Sgt. Pike is the best motorcycle accident lawyer in Houston, Texas. He is here to help you seek legal rights and the proper compensation you deserve.