Lane Splitting Accident


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When stuck in heavy traffic, you may try to get between cars on your motorcycle or bike to get ahead of the congestion. This is called lane-splitting, and it is mostly illegal throughout the nation. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this activity, where an accident that happens during lane-splitting can be blamed on the motorcyclist or bicyclist. Lane-splitting is legal in California, meaning you can seek compensation for injuries caused by a lane-splitting accident. You will have to speak with an attorney to identify if you are eligible for a settlement. 

If you were in a traffic accident in Orange County that occurred while you were doing a  lane-splitting maneuver, seek the advice of an attorney regarding your damages. You may be eligible for a settlement based on the circumstances of your case. Contact Timothy J. Ryan & Associates for a free consultation. 

How Lane-Splitting Laws Work

Lane-splitting laws in California may be outlawed soon. It can be a surprise for drivers around the lane splitter, who may be unnerving drivers that they are weaving around. 

Which states allow lane-splitting?

The only states that allow lane-splitting are California and Utah. However, in Utah, motorcyclists are also allowed to pass between 2 lanes of traffic when it is not moving at all. This is called filtering and differs from lane-splitting because the latter occurs when the motorcyclist or biker is in moving traffic. Montana plans to allow lane-splitting beginning October 1, 2021. Washington and Oregon may legalize lane-splitting but haven’t acted on that yet. 

What does lane-splitting mean?

Lane-splitting is the activity of riding a bicycle or motorcycle between two lanes of moving vehicles. Typically, riders will start lane-splitting when there is a lot of traffic, especially when vehicles have come to a stop or are moving slowly. This allows bicyclists and motorcyclists to get around cars instead of waiting for the congested traffic to lighten up. In addition, because a bike is not as big as a car, there is the benefit of not being trapped in traffic. 36% of California motorcyclists perform lane-splitting as of 2013 and are known to save at least 20 hours of driving a year. 

How dangerous is lane-splitting?

It was shown that there is no evidence that lane-splitting is more dangerous than biking or cycling in a marked lane. However, if you drive faster than the traffic around you, it will be extremely risky and increase your chance of getting into an accident. For example, if you begin lane-splitting in moving traffic and are going 10 miles faster than the traffic around you, this can confuse and bewilder drivers. Moving in and around drivers at faster speeds can surprise them, as it is more difficult to see smaller vehicles like motorcycles and bicycles. If you are riding too fast, a driver will not see you in time and may slam into you. Things like this happen often, and you may be blamed for your injuries if you helped create the accident. 

May I Be Eligible for a Settlement?

If the excessive negligence of another driver caused your accident, you might have a case. For example, your motorcycle accident attorney has to prove that the driver was distracted in some way or breaking the laws of traffic. Some examples include the following:

Texting and Driving

The driver may have been on their phone texting or playing a mobile game. 

Aggressive Driving 

This is when the driver is under the influence of drugs and has made mistakes due to impaired thought processes. 


Impatient drivers may be racing to get to their destination, or they will cut you off because they don’t want a motorcyclist or bicyclist ahead of them. 

Irresponsible Driving

A driver may be fatigued and falling asleep at the wheel, not turning on their blinkers, or not paying attention to their environment around them. 

What Can I Do After a Lane-Splitting Accident?

Lane-splitting is quite controversial when it comes to accidents. This is because motorcyclists and bicyclists that lane-split sometimes aren’t caught by the driver in time or are swerving through traffic carelessly. Despite this, often, the fault can be because of the distracted drivers around you. When you get into an accident while lane-splitting, you have to prove that the driver was negligent in some way. If you were following traffic laws and not speeding, you might be able to receive a settlement. You can contact Timothy J. Ryan & Associates for a free consultation.