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Lane splitting: Safe or dangerous?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Motorcycle riders tend to avoid frustrating traffic jams through a common practice known as lane splitting. This maneuver is where motorcyclists ride in the space between rows of cars traveling in the same direction.

With a study revealing that Florida’s rush hour commutes are some of the worst in the country, this technique seems to offer a convenient way for motorcyclists to bypass heavy traffic. They take advantage of their vehicle’s size to weave in and out of moving cars.

However, it is illegal in the state. Yet, the debate over its merits and risks continues. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that lane splitting is worthy of further study to determine whether it is safe or dangerous.

What makes lane splitting safe?

The ideal scenario for lane splitting is when vehicles are at a complete stop or moving slowly. Doing so tends to be safe because it:

  • Eases congestion, so there will be less time exposed to unpredictable road conditions
  • Reduces the chances of rear-end collisions in stop-and-go traffic situations
  • Allows riders to see further down the road and anticipate significant threats

Additionally, some riders prefer to keep moving, particularly in extreme weather, because the constant shifting of gears and balance can take a toll on the body and the motorcycle. While these reasons are often valid, the good always comes with the bad.

What makes lane splitting dangerous?

Unfortunately, lane splitting can also have tragic consequences. The approach can be unsafe because it:

  • Lessens the space acting as a safety cushion between vehicles
  • Makes riders vulnerable to low-visibility drivers suddenly changing lanes, opening their doors, throwing something out their windows or honking outrageously
  • Decreases any room for error when riders must brake due to debris, potholes, or uneven and wet surfaces

These factors can make for catastrophic crashes resulting in injuries and deaths. Regardless of where riders stand about lane splitting, they can work with their legal advocate during a potential claim to investigate and gather information that can help protect their rights and interests.

How does lane splitting affect a crash claim?

When the risks lead to accidents, riders alleged to be lane splitting may share liability. However, if they can prove that the other party is partially to blame, they may still pursue compensation depending on their percentage of fault.