Motorcycle Lane Splitting and Determining Car-Motorcycle Accident Fault

Motorcycle lane splitting is the act of driving between lanes, which some motorcyclists may choose to do when dealing with traffic that has slowed or completely stopped.

There are two important factors that must be determined when motorcycle lane splitting is involved in a car and motorcycle accident. The first is the legality of it and the second is if it was a contributing factor to the accident. A personal injury lawyer in Long Island will take this into account when helping accident victims file an injury claim.

Is motorcycle lane splitting legal?

In almost all states, motorcycle lane splitting is illegal, including in New York. State laws expressly prohibit driving between lanes of traffic, adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.

Since it is considered illegal, this could be a factor when determining fault if there is a car and motorcycle accident as the motorcyclist is riding between lanes. If a citation is issued for this traffic violation, it would likely be noted on the police report, which is among the evidence that a personal injury lawyer in Long Island may consider when providing legal guidance to accident victims.

Is motorcycle lane splitting safe?

The second factor concerns safety. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the actions of the motorcyclist will be the only consideration. Even if lane splitting occurred and it is found to be a contributing cause of an accident, another motorist could have also acted in a negligent manner and be found partially at fault. A personal injury lawyer in Long Island will help explore this possibility further.

However, driving between lanes is generally unsafe. Police officers, judges, and juries tend to consider motorcyclists who lane split reckless drivers. The proximity of cars and trucks and that danger is obvious to any reasonable person.

Motorcycles are often difficult for other drivers to see under the best conditions. But reduced visibility can be a greater problem when a bike makes an unexpected maneuver such as motorcycle lane splitting.

Finally, with limited space in which to move the motorcycle, it can easily cause the rider to lose control if an unexpected hazard arises, such as a pothole or another driver opening his or her car door. This can result in a collision, the motorcyclist being thrown from the bike or the bike skidding.

Determining Fault in a Car and Motorcycle Accident Involving Lane Splitting

Although this type of driving behavior can result in a motorcyclist being found partially at fault for a crash, the actions of the motorist will also be considered by the personal injury lawyer in Long Island handling the case. For instance, if the motorist was distracted at the time of the crash, it could indicate that he or she was negligent.

Distractions that are considered dangerous on the part of the car or truck driver include: 

  • talking on a cellphone;
  • texting;
  • eating,;
  • changing dials on the radio;
  • talking with a passenger; and
  • reaching for an object.

When a motorist isn’t paying attention for whatever reason, it could be considered a contributing factor to the car and motorcycle accident. When a driver changes lanes without signaling, fault is likely laid on the driver. Or if another vehicle was weaving in and out of traffic, this would be considered unsafe, too.

In attempting to show another motorist was partially at fault for the car and motorcycle accident, a personal injury lawyer in Long Island can help collect evidence. This could include statements from others who witnessed the driver’s unsafe or illegal driving, or a police report that summarizes what happened.

Since it is illegal in New York to drive between lanes, a motorcyclist may aim to prove someone else was also at fault for the car and motorcycle accident. This way some form of compensation may be recoverable if injured. Talking with a personal injury lawyer in Long Island at Gacovino, Lake & Associates may be the next step to take following a car and motorcycle accident in which motorcycle lane splitting was a contributing factor. Call 800-246-4878.

Related Posts