Who Is Liable in a Lane Splitting Accident?

When a motorcycle splits lanes, it can increase the risk of an accident for both the motorcycle and other cars. Does this mean that the motorcycle is always liable for an accident where they were splitting lanes? It depends on what happened and where you are. Read on to learn more. 

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is when a motorcycle drives between lanes. The most common example is when cars are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and motorcycles drive along the lane divider lines between the cars to pass ahead of the traffic. Motorcycles may also split lanes when they are passing other drivers. 

Motorcyclists often say that lane splitting is safer because sitting in heavy traffic puts them at greater risk of being hit by an impatient driver who forgets to check their blind spot while weaving in and out of traffic.

Is Lane Splitting Allowed?

The laws on lane splitting vary by state. In some states, it is completely illegal. Others allow it. Those that do may set limits such as only allowing it if traffic is moving below a certain speed.

How Does Lane Splitting Cause Accidents?

Lane splitting creates a greater risk of accidents because it can create unexpected situations. For example, say a car in the left lane is overtaking a car in the right lane. They may have their eyes on the car they're passing and expect to be able to safely move into the right lane. If a motorcycle attempts to pass the cars at a much higher speed, the passing driver may not see the motorcycle.

In addition, a motorcycle could also make errors like misjudging the speed of cars or the distance between them.

Whose Fault Is a Lane Splitting Accident?

The person who is held liable for the accident will depend on a number of factors. The first factor is whether lane splitting is legal in that area. If it isn't, it would be similar to a motorcycle running a red light or speeding and being presumed at fault.

If the lane splitting was legal, it will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. The court will need to figure out if both the car driver and motorcycle were exercising reasonable care to avoid accidents as well as if they made any errors that contributed to the crash.

To learn more about lane splitting accidents, contact a local car accident attorney today.