Jason Stephens | January 28, 2022 | Motorcycle Accidents
Lane splitting refers to a practice that motorcyclists use to move through traffic, often traveling along the stripes separating lanes or weaving around vehicles traveling within the same lane on multi-lane roads and highways.
When lane splitting, a motorcyclist travels between lanes of traffic along a lane’s divider marks. The practice is also called “white lining” or “stripe riding.” The practice is not only dangerous, but it is also illegal in almost every state.
Is Lane Splitting Legal?
The practice of lane splitting is illegal in Texas. The Texas Transportation Code requires that vehicle operators travel within one lane of traffic. Motorcycle lane splitting can cause serious accidents that result in severe injuries and even death, especially when attempted at high rates of speed on interstates and highways.
Why Is Lane Splitting Dangerous?
Compared to other vehicles on the roadways, motorcycles are relatively small. Many motor vehicle drivers, especially commercial motor vehicle drivers, have trouble seeing them. That problem is exacerbated when motorcycles ride in unexpected places, like the highway divider line.
When engaged in this practice, a motorcyclist that is line splitting is passing through every motorist’s blind spot. That means that if a driver needs to switch lanes quickly or avoid something in the road, they could hit the motorcyclist, causing severe injury.
Many motorcyclists claim that there are significant benefits to the practice of lane splitting, particularly in relieving traffic congestion. However, most states haven’t agreed that the benefits outweigh the risks.
What’s the Difference Between Lane Splitting and Other Similar Motorcycle Maneuvers?
The dangerous practice of lane splitting is often confused with other maneuvers that motorcyclists will sometimes use to navigate heavy traffic.
- Lane Sharing: In Texas, it is perfectly legal for two different motorcycles to ride side by side inside a single lane. They may also ride, staggard, in the same lane as well. This practice is known as lane sharing. However, a motorcycle and car may not share the same lane. That would be lane splitting.
- Lane Splitting: As mentioned above, the practice of lane splitting by a motorcyclist is dangerous and illegal. It involves weaving in and out of traffic along a road’s dividing stripes as a way to pass motorists and move through traffic.
- Lane Filtering: Lane filtering is a practice among motorcycle operators similar to the practice of lane splitting. The method of lane filtering typically occurs when traffic is slow-moving or has stopped, like at a city traffic light. A motorcyclist drives slowly along lane lines around traffic. This practice is also illegal in Texas. It is dangerous because, like lane splitting, the motorcyclist is occupying an area in the blind spots of other drivers on the road.
Lane Splitting Can Result in Accident Liability
Any motorcyclist that is involved in a motorcycle accident and suffers personal injury, as a result, may be held responsible for damage and loss to others involved if they were lane filtering or lane splitting at the time of the accident.
Because the practices of lane splitting and lane filtering are illegal, they are likely to be considered a negligent act in the court’s eyes. Texas uses a modified comparative negligence principle, sometimes called proportionate responsibility, which means that any accident victim who is partially at fault will have their damages reduced.
Using this standard, the judge or jury in the case will likely assign a percentage of blame to each involved party once it determines each one’s share of fault. If a motorcyclist plaintiff is deemed partially at fault, their compensation will be reduced to an amount equal to their share of the blame.
An injured motorcyclist will likely want to recover the maximum compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. But if a court determines that the rider is 30% responsible for the accident, their maximum recovery amount will be reduced by 30%.
What’s the Penalty for Lane Filtering and Lane Splitting?
In Texas, a Motorcyclist faces a $175 fine if they are caught lane splitting or land filtering on a Texas road.
If you’ve been in an car accident caused by a motorcycle that was lane splitting, find a Fort Worth car accident lawyer with experience familiar with these laws and how it could affect liability in your case.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
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Fort Worth, TX 76107