What is Lane Splitting?
You may have seen lane splitting in traffic or even attempted it yourself. When heavy traffic is present, weaving between cars can get a motorcyclist to the head of the traffic quicker and ultimately get them to their destination quicker. Some may refer to this maneuver as “white lining” or “lane sharing.”
As motorcycles are smaller, they can be maneuvered in a way that is in between rows of cars and, therefore, gets ahead at stoplights or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. But is this legal? You may be surprised to know that this action is illegal in most states and may result in fines.
Why is Lane Splitting Illegal?
It can be argued that lane splitting can help with traffic flow. While this may be true, it puts motorcyclists and the drivers around them at risk for accidents, which is one of the main reasons for lane splitting to be illegal.
Motorcyclists can share a lane but are not allowed to weave between cars and move forward in a path to get ahead of traffic.
Why is Lane Splitting Unsafe?
You may see a motorcyclist coming in between cars from behind you and working their way up to the front of the traffic flow. It is essential to realize that, more often than not, other drivers don’t see the motorcycle, and they can choose to change lanes or move forward and accidentally hit a motorcycle.
It is a common fact that most drivers don’t see motorcyclists as well while driving, in their blindspots, at intersections, and more. This risk is even more prominent when they are attempting to weave in between cars without warning.
A motorcycle doesn’t have a cab, so the driver’s protection is limited. This can mean that even at very low speeds if a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, they can suffer serious injuries or death.
What is The Penalty for Lane Splitting?
The fine for first-time offenders is around $200 if caught lane splitting in Nevada.
However, this penalty can increase significantly if you are caught doing this multiple times. Fines can increase with a second offense, and in some cases, the motorcyclist can lose their license entirely.
If lane splitting can be proven and an accident occurred, the motorcyclist (or driver) that was lane splitting would likely be responsible for all of the damages resulting from the accident. Taking full responsibility is due to illegal lane splitting and the potential for accidents. Not only can the motorcyclist be found responsible for the accident damages, but they may open themselves up to other lawsuits, such as wrongful death due to the illegal actions and negligence that caused an accident.
Is a Lane Splitter Always at Fault For an Accident?
In some cases, if you split lanes and cause an accident, there may be hope for a defense. Some motorcyclists can prove they are responsible drivers and have had limited or no other accidents while operating their motorcycle.
Responsible driving can also be found based on how many years the motorcyclist has been operating their motorcycle. Another way to bolster a defense is to prove safety courses or riding courses have been completed throughout the years.
If the other drivers that were involved in the accident were also found to be at fault, this might increase your chances for a good defense as well. You may not be completely absolved of fault in the accident, but if other drivers acted negligently and led to the accident, you may have limited responsibility.
For example, if one of the other drivers involved was under the influence or driving aggressively, which led to the cause of the accident, this may help you avoid complete fault in the accident.
What Can I Do To Protect Myself as a Motorcyclist?
It is always important to follow the rules and laws of riders and drivers. Lane splitting, as of now, is banned in nearly every state. If you avoid engaging in lane splitting, this provides the best protection from any issues.
If you have been involved in an accident and were lane splitting leading up to it, you can complete some steps that will help provide you with some defense.
Get information regarding the accident, such as pictures, video, and witness statements. It is vital to have thorough contact information from those who witnessed the accident so they can provide their account of the accident in the future should you need to defend yourself in court.
There may also be a public video of the incident, depending on the location, and you can attempt to locate footage of the accident to help ensure you are not found 100% at fault.
Gather all evidence that suggests that you are a responsible and experienced motorcyclist. Evidence can be proof of safety classes completed, a clean and extensive driving record, and more.
Why Work with a Personal Injury Attorney?
Work with an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with how accidents happen and the aftermath they present for their clients. Whether you were at fault or involved and ended up with injuries due to lane splitting, an experienced personal injury attorney can be your best and strongest advocate moving forward.
Call our office today at (702) 901-6302 to learn how we can best help you. We have years of experience in Nevada, helping clients to defend and protect themselves in personal injury cases. We look forward to serving you.