In some states, motorcyclists can navigate around traffic using a technique known as lane splitting. Motorcyclists accomplish lane splitting by driving in the gaps between cars during heavy traffic. It is also known as white lining, stripe riding, lane sharing, or filtering. While many motorcyclist lane split throughout the nation, you might be surprised to find out that the only state that has legalized the practice is California.
Lane Splitting Laws in Texas
Lane splitting is illegal in Texas, but only because there is no law making it legal for motorcyclists to move between vehicles in the same lane. The only laws dictating lane splitting are those that state that vehicles may only move within a single marked lane and leave them only when it is safe to do so. Since motorcycles slip by large moving vehicles while lane splitting, traffic officials consider this maneuver unsafe under the current driving laws.
Currently, the state gives lane splitters a $175 fine. However, the state is in the process of legalizing lane splitting. Senate Bill 288 is currently in the Texas Senate. If passed, the bill will make the practice legal for motorcyclists across the state. The bill will allow motorcyclists to pass traffic at speeds no greater than five miles per hour faster than surrounding traffic. Additionally, the bill limits the speed of lane-splitting motorcycles to 20 mph.
The Risks of Lane Splitting
Even if it is legal, lane splitting can be a dangerous practice. If a car changes lanes in front of a lane-splitting motorcycle without warning, a serious accident may occur. Even if a motorcycle is only traveling at speeds below 20 miles per hour, a motorcyclist’s lack of protection could make for a severe accident.
When a lane-splitting accident occurs, multiple parties could be liable depending on the situation. First, the driver of the car that pulled into the path of the motorcycle should have prevented the accident by checking if a lane change would be safe. Even if lane splitting is not legal, motorists have a responsibility to make sure their lane changes are safe. Additionally, motorcyclists might be responsible for an accident if they failed to operate their vehicle safely. While a motorcyclist could receive a fine for causing an accident by lane splitting, the other vehicle may also be partly responsible for the accident.
If you’ve been in a lane splitting accident, call the firm that has won billions of dollars for clients. Our attorneys are ready to provide a free consultation when you call (888) 493-1629.