Lane splitting refers to riding between slow-moving or stopped cars in the same direction. Motorcyclists are able to split lanes because motorbikes are smaller than cars and can squeeze between cars.
However, lane splitting can get you into trouble if you end up in a car-motorbike accident. Below are some of the factors that determine liability in case of a lane-splitting accident.
Lane Splitting Legality
If you are involved in an auto accident while breaking a traffic law, then other victims of the accident might hold you liable for your damages. Now, lane splitting is illegal in some states. Thus, if you are involved in a lane splitting accident in such states, the other parties might hold you liable for their damages. Their rationale would be that you caused the crash by breaking the law.
Other road users need to have a clear view of you and your bike while you are lane splitting. For example, your headlights should be on, and you should be wearing reflective clothes. Your visibility allows the cars around you to maneuver without crashing into you. Thus, lane splitting with dark clothes and poor visibility can make you liable for a lane splitting accident.
Riding Education and Experience
Whichever way you look at it, lane splitting has some element of danger — even if the danger is small. Adequate riding education and experience help to minimize the danger. A skilled and experienced rider knows when and how to split lanes and when to stay in their lanes. Thus, the court will evaluate your riding experience and skill as part of the liability assessment.
You can split lanes safety if you:
Thus, the court will evaluate your riding behavior when evaluating liability for the crash. Careful riding may absolve you of blame, while reckless riding might attract liability.
Lastly, the driver is not out of the woods just because you were splitting lanes. The behavior of the driver will also come into question, and their negligence or recklessness might shift liability from you to them. For example, a driver who opened their car's door abruptly or changed lanes without indicating might shoulder the blame for the crash.
If you were in an accident and need legal help, contact an automobile accident attorney.
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