Published on:

Splitting the Difference: Motorcycles and Lane Sharing

Motorcycle riders are not only drawn to their two-wheeled vehicles because of their outlaw image and the allure of the wind against their face on the open road. Many motorcycle riders also choose this mode of transportation due to the cost of the vehicle, its fuel efficiency and the ease with which it can be parked and stored. Not least of all, many riders enjoy the superior maneuverability of motorcycles in certain situations.

Don’t try this at home or anywhere in Florida

When it comes to maneuverability, some riders engage in a practice called lane splitting, which involves driving between two lanes instead of choosing one lane like their four-wheeled counterparts. Cruising up the painted strip is especially enticing during stop-and-go traffic, standstills, and even urban congestion due to rush hour or special events. Some argue that lane splitting has disastrous results, since motorcycles have little or no opportunity to avoid automobiles that attempt to change lanes without seeing motorcycles that seemingly spring forth from their blind spots.

Under Florida law, lane splitting is explicitly prohibited by statute, which makes the practice a noncriminal traffic infraction similar to other moving violations. The state legislature moved to outlaw the practice based on the debatable theory that riding between lanes increases the likelihood of accidents for motorcycles and cars.

Same game, different name?

In such locales as Europe, the term lane splitting is viewed as pejorative, with proponents referring to the practice as lane sharing or traffic filtering. In such places, lane sharing is viewed as a safety technique that permits motorcyclists to actually avoid rear-end collisions, with data indicating that lane sharing is only responsible for one to five percent of all motorcycle crashes.

In California, which is the only state in which lane sharing is specifically authorized by statute, rear-end motorcycle deaths are almost 65 percent less common than in Florida. Proponents argue that when motorcycles travel in the space between lanes, they actually remove themselves from the danger spot behind cars in which rear-end accidents occur.

Lane splitting may be one of many factors that contribute to an accident. Sorting out the root cause is a complicated endeavor that’s best entrusted to an attorney who has a knowledge of the physics and the laws associated with motorcycle accidents. Contact our office or call us at (954) 522-4600 today for a consultation.

Contact Information