There are many compelling arguments both for and against lane splitting, and there is no legal consensus between many of the states – as indicated by the attempts to legalize this maneuver in a handful of states, and the fact that California is the only state in the United States to officially legalize it. In all other 49 states, lane splitting is either expressly prohibited or implied to be illegal based on oft-confusing language in the statutes. Regardless, it is important that you are aware of what lane splitting is, the arguments both for and against it, and how to engage in it safely if you choose to do so.
If you have been in an accident caused by lane splitting, then it is important that you partner with a personal injury attorney who is prepared to navigate the legal quagmire that comes with such a legally-ambiguous action. If you are working with an attorney who does not specialize in motorcycle accidents, or is unfamiliar with lane splitting cases, then you may find that their arguments for why you are entitled to fair compensation may be lacking at best, or inaccurate or absent at worst.
Contact Fasig | Brooks For a Free Consultation After a Motorcycle Accident
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident that you believe was caused by someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior, then contact us as soon as possible for a free initial consultation. Trying to take on the insurance companies by yourself is intimidating no matter what the situation is, and if you are suffering from injuries and dealing with the stress of missing work at the same time then it can feel like an impossible task.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Lane Splitting
The reality is that lane splitting is one big DON’T in the state of Florida, because it is illegal! If you are in an accident while engaging in lane splitting, the insurance company will attempt to use your traffic violation against you in order to either bring their own financial obligation down through pure comparative negligence or avoid paying at all by claiming that you are responsible for the accident since you were engaging in an illegal activity.
According to Chapter 316.209 of the Florida statutes, “(2) The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken”, and “(3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles”. Simply put, lane splitting is expressly prohibited on any Florida road, and can have a serious negative impact on a personal injury case.
Is it Lane Splitting Legal in My State?
There are a handful of states that are considering legalizing lane splitting, but at the time of publishing, California is the only state that allows for lane splitting. This could change in years to come, as there is a growing movement of motorcycle riders and advocates who believe that lane splitting is, in fact, a safer option for riders so that they can avoid being rear-ended in stop-and-go traffic, and that it helps to alleviate pressure on congested roads by allowing motorcycles to use the space between vehicles as their own.
If you are cited for lane splitting at the scene of an accident, it can have a negative impact on your claim even if it seems clear that the other driver was responsible for the accident. We will work with you to make sense of your situation, and to identify the most realistic and logical path forward to get you the financial compensation you deserve following your motorcycle accident.
Safety Guidelines Safety Precautions
If you do choose to engage in lane splitting in Florida, it is important to follow the safety guidelines and precautions set forth by a number of motorcycle advocacy groups and safety coalitions. The following are just a few of the many safety tips available on the internet for how to safely split lanes while riding on a motorcycle.
Watch For Mirrors
Mirrors are your biggest enemy while lane splitting, because hitting your shoulder into a side mirror at 30 mph can cause serious damage. Keep an eye on the mirrors on both sides of you, and make sure that you keep a safe distance from them as you pass vehicles while lane splitting.
Stay Alert for Turn Signals
Never assume that a driver can see you, and take defensive actions as often as necessary to ensure that you are the one who is in control of the situation. This means staying alert for turn signals, as well as predicting drivers’ actions and assuming that not everyone will be looking for lane-splitting motorcycles or using their turn signals before changing lanes.
Driving a safe and manageable speed is essential to staying safe while you are lane splitting. Oftentimes you will need to slow or stop as other vehicles change lanes or merge, and if you are driving too quickly they may either not notice you or you will not have time to slow down before a collision.
Get Ready To Brake or Shift
Keeping your hands on your brake and clutch, as well as keeping your foot near your brake and shifter, are good ways to make sure that you are always ready to react if another vehicle does something unexpected (as they often do).