Is Motorcycle Lane-Splitting Legal in Florida?
Were you involved in a motorcycle accident when you were lane splitting? In a comparative fault state like Florida, every detail matters when it comes to how much compensation you can receive after you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.
What is lane splitting? Is it dangerous? Is lane splitting legal in Florida? Can it affect how much compensation you can receive for your injuries if you were involved in an accident while lane splitting?
Here’s everything you need to know about lane splitting in Florida.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is riding a motorcycle between two lanes of slowed or stopped traffic. Since the motorcyclist usually rides on the painted line dividing the lanes, some people also call it stripe riding or white lining. Some motorcyclists believe that lane splitting is safer in heavy traffic than staying in their own lane, making lane splitting a common practice in some parts of the world.
What Is the Difference Between Lane Splitting and Lane Sharing?
Lane sharing is when two motorcycles ride side by side in a single lane of traffic. Lane sharing is legal in Florida, and it may make motorcyclists easier to see, increasing their safety. We should note that only two motorcyclists are allowed to share a lane, not three.
Is Lane Splitting Legal?
Lane splitting is illegal in every state except California. While lane splitting was never illegal in California, a law in 2016 officially defined lane splitting so the California Highway Patrol could develop guidelines around it.
While some other states have been trying to legalize lane splitting, lane splitting is illegal in Florida and every other state besides California.
Lane splitting is legal and common across Europe and Asia, but it is still a controversial practice in most of the United States.
If you were involved in a Florida lane-splitting accident, contact our lane-splitting injury lawyers today!
Is Lane Splitting Dangerous?
Proponents of lane splitting say it makes motorcycle riding safer because motorcyclists may be less likely to be rear-ended. An analysis done by researchers from UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) found that lane-splitting is relatively safe if done in traffic moving at 50 mph or less, as long as motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 mph.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) says that lane splitting “appears to be worthy of further study because it offers a means of reducing congestion in addition to possible safety benefits.”
Opponents of lane splitting worry that motorcycles could easily get into a driver’s blind spot, potentially leading the driver to pull out in front of the motorcycle and cause a collision where the motorcyclist suffers from severe or even fatal injuries.
While some motorcyclists may feel comfortable lane-splitting with larger vehicles, the practice is extremely dangerous for several reasons:
- Motorcycles are smaller than passenger cars and therefore harder to see. Drivers should be keenly aware of their “blind spots” behind and to the sides while driving. Vehicles can sometimes pass through another driver’s blind spot as the driver makes a lane change, especially small vehicles. It’s crucial for motorcyclists to mind other drivers’ blind spots and proceed with caution, as other drivers may not catch them in time to stop a lane change or turn.
- Lane-splitting is especially dangerous in areas with multiple lanes of turning traffic. While lane-splitting on a very straight road may seem safe, maintaining a turn while lane-splitting is sometimes more difficult than it appears and can make it harder for other drivers to gauge their distance.
- Passing close between other moving vehicles poses the risk of bumping into them. Even slight bumps are incredibly dangerous at higher speeds. A small collision with another vehicle to one side can easily throw a motorcycle off balance, sending it crashing between the lanes. A bump could also startle a driver and cause him or her to swerve, creating another opportunity for an accident.
Whether lane splitting is dangerous or safe, it is still illegal across most of the United States, including in Florida, so you should avoid the practice if you want to receive compensation after being in a motorcycle accident.
Can I Recover Damages If I Was Lane Splitting?
Florida is a comparative fault state, meaning that fault can be split between two drivers. If you were lane splitting, which is illegal in Florida, you will likely be found at least partly at fault in the accident. You may even be found entirely at fault, making you ineligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
However, if the other driver was also partly at fault, or your lane splitting can be justified given the circumstances surrounding the accident, you may still be able to recover damages, even if you were lane splitting.
Talk to an experienced injury lawyer like those at SteinLaw to determine whether you can recover some of the damages you sustained as a result of lane splitting.
What Is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault means that both drivers in an accident may be found partly responsible. If you were lane splitting when you were in your accident, for example, you will likely be found at least partly at fault since lane splitting is illegal in Florida.
Your percentage of fault will be deducted from the amount of damages you could receive. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages but were found 50% at fault in the accident, you would only be eligible to receive 50% of that money ($50,000).
This could be good news for your case compared to a state that assigns all the fault in an accident to a single driver.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident where you were lane splitting, you may still be entitled to some compensation, but you will need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer on your side. While you may be found mostly or entirely at fault in the accident if you were lane splitting, the experienced lawyers at SteinLaw may be able to find extenuating circumstances that justify your lane splitting.
Perhaps you needed to swerve between lanes to avoid hitting another vehicle or being hit from behind, for example. The court will examine skid marks from the scene, traffic camera footage, and other evidence to determine how at fault you were in the accident.
To take advantage of Florida’s comparative fault laws and attempt to get some compensation after you were injured during a lane-splitting accident, contact SteinLaw today to find and contact your nearest location or by calling 877-STEINLAW.