Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Feb 20, 2019 in Motorcycle Accidents
Lane splitting can be dangerous and result in an accident with a serious injury or fatality. It is considered a controversial practice that most states prohibit it. If you or a loved was harmed in a lane splitting accident, it is in your best interest to contact the dedicated Fort Worth motorcycle accident lawyers at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings for legal help.
Our attorneys are well versed on current Texas laws pertaining to motorcycle lane splitting and how it might impact your claim and your right to compensation. We can explore the legal options available to you during a free, no obligation consultation today.
What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is the practice of driving between two lanes of traffic on a motorcycle. This typically occurs when there is stopped or slow-moving traffic on the road. Motorists may be sitting in a traffic jam, only to notice a motorcyclist driving by between stopped vehicles. This maneuver can cause an unsuspecting motorist to collide with a motorcyclist that has lane split.
Current Texas Laws on Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is currently illegal in Texas. Texas traffic laws state that vehicles must stay within a single lane of traffic on roads divided into two or multiple clearly marked lanes. Vehicles may move out of lanes, such as to change lanes, only when it is safe to do so.
Texas lawmakers are currently working to pass laws that make lane splitting legal. California is the only state in the U.S. that has made lane splitting legal. Specific laws outlawing lane splitting exist in certain states.
The state senate is now considering Senate Bill 288. This bill aims to make lane splitting legal in certain circumstances. Under this bill, motorcyclists on limited or controlled-access highways may perform lane splitting while traveling in the same direction as traffic on congested roadways under the following conditions:
- At a speed no greater than five miles per hour higher than the speed of surrounding traffic
- Only in traffic traveling at speeds of 20 miles per hour or less
Penalties for Lane Splitting
There are penalties for motorcyclists who break the law and lane split in Texas. Under the law, motorcycles are considered the same as cars and are subject to the same rules and regulations.
Lane splitting in Texas can result in a number of traffic violations and fines. Those found guilty of lane splitting may be subject to a $175 fine. In addition to lane splitting violations, motorcyclists may be ticketed for additional traffic violations including:
- Following too closely
- Unsafe lane changes
- Reckless driving
Liable Parties in a Lane Splitting Accident
In most cases of accidents caused by lane splitting, the motorcyclist is often held liable. Motorists do not anticipate that there will be a motorcyclist passing between lanes during high traffic times, and a motorcyclist’s carelessness is often pinned as the cause behind these types of collisions.
In some instances, a motorist and not a motorcyclist can contribute to a lane splitting accident. If the driver was using a cell phone, not paying attention or dangerously weaving in and out of or switching lanes, he or she may be held liable for any injuries suffered.
When this happens, motorcyclists must prove they were not responsible for the accident. To avoid liability, it helps to show:
- He or she was operating the motorcycle carefully. No traffic violations occurred such as speeding or weaving between lanes or around cars.
- He or she is an experienced motorcycle operator.
- He or she has taken a motorcycle safety course.
- The other driver performed a traffic violation that was more dangerous than the act of lane splitting.
Speak with an Experienced Attorney to Get Started
If you were injured in an accident caused by lane splitting, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Worth can work with you – we will review your case and discuss your legal options for recovering compensation.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our firm today. There are no upfront fees and we only get paid if we recover compensation for you.