What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting refers to motorcycle riders sharing a lane with a car. In some states, lane splitting is a legal way of navigating roadways, but this practice is illegal in Texas. Riders who lane split in the Lone Star State could be fined hundreds of dollars for violating this law.
In addition to risking a heavy fine, lane splitters could cause a serious accident if an unsuspecting driver opens their car door or swerves while the motorbike is passing. This could cause a collision resulting in severe injuries and damages for both drivers and their property.
If you have experienced a crash due to someone else’s reckless or negligent driving, please contact Shariff Law Firm, PLLC right away by calling 713-244-8392. Our experienced lawyers can help you determine whether you should bring a lawsuit to collect damages for your injuries.
What Are the Laws Around Lane Splitting in Texas?
Because Texas legal code stipulates that all riders of motor vehicles must stay in a single lane, lane splitting is not permitted in Texas. This practice is used by riders of motorbikes who may find it more convenient to pass stopped or slowed cars in heavy traffic. While it could be tempting to lane split to arrive at your destination sooner, this practice has many dangers and is illegal.
There have been a few attempts to legalize lane splitting in Texas in the past. However, all of these attempts have failed, likely due to concerns about the dangers that surround lane splitting.
What Are the Penalties for Lane Splitting in Texas?
Since lane splitting is illegal in Texas, motorcyclists can be charged and fined if caught. Typically, penalties for lane splitting involve a fine of a few hundred dollars, and may also include jail time. Motorcyclists who lane split may also be charged with speeding or reckless driving.
Why is Lane Splitting Dangerous?
Lane splitting is illegal in Texas because of the dangers that surround it. Many people believe that lane splitting can put motorcyclists at a higher risk of motor vehicle accidents.
These risks include:
- Unpredictability. When driving, it’s important to know what the other vehicles around you are doing. If a motorcycle is lane-splitting, drivers may have a harder time predicting their movements, which can lead to accidents or collisions.
- Being in a vehicle’s blind spot. When a motorcycle is lane-splitting, the vehicles around them may not see them coming. This can lead to motorcycles being in a vehicle’s blind spot, which can lead to collisions.
- Constricted space. Motorcycles that are lane-splitting don’t have as much room to maneuver, which can make it difficult for them to balance or swerve out of the way of obstacles. This can result in motor vehicle accidents, especially in high-traffic areas.
What is the Difference Between Lane Splitting, Lane Sharing, and Lane Filtering?
These terms may sound the same, but they actually refer to different things. The legalities surrounding these terms can also differ.
Lane splitting is when a motorcycle drives between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane. In Texas, lane splitting is illegal, although other states may not have specific laws about it.
Lane sharing is when two motor vehicles drive side by side in one single lane. Similar to lane splitting, lane sharing is illegal in the state of Texas.
Lane filtering is a newer term that was introduced to help motorcyclists move through traffic. It specifies that if traffic is moving slowly (usually 10 mph or slower), motorcyclists can weave through the traffic if it is safe to do so. Lane filtering is not yet legal in the state of Texas, but is legal in a handful of other states.
How Can Motorcyclists Stay Safe on the Road?
Motorcyclists are already at a higher risk for accidents and injuries when on the road.
If you have a motorcycle, always follow these safety tips to avoid being hurt when out and about:
- Inspect your helmet and your brake lights to make sure they work properly before going out on a ride
- Always wear a motorcycle helmet
- Use signals when making turns or changing lanes
- Be very cautious when changing lanes
- Wear reflective clothing when riding after dark
Do I Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim?
If you have been injured because another driver was driving recklessly, such as engaging in behavior like lane splitting, you could bring a lawsuit and recover damages for your expenses. For a claim to be valid, three things must be true:
- The other party owed you a duty of care, such as driving safely.
- The other person breached their duty of care.
- The breach of duty led directly to serious injuries.
If those three elements are true in your case, you may have a valid personal injury claim. However, it’s important to contact a professional attorney for accurate information.
Should You Hire Our Motorcycle Crash Attorneys?
Being in an accident can be frustrating and overwhelming. You have to deal with the pain of your injuries and the mounting expenses, all while being unable to work or enjoy your life. Please don’t feel you must go through this challenging experience alone.
You can seek justice and find peace of mind by getting the financial compensation you deserve in a personal injury lawsuit. Reach out to our experienced lawyers to learn how we can help. We have assisted many clients in getting maximum compensation for their car and motorcycle crash injuries, and we know how to help you. Call Shariff Law Firm, PLLC today for a free case evaluation at 713-244-8392.