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Florida Personal Injury Lawyers / Blog / Motorcycle Accident / Should Florida Make Lane-Splitting Legal?

Should Florida Make Lane-Splitting Legal?

Lane-splitting is where a motorcyclist rides between lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic on a highway or other multi-lane roadway. While it is legal in some states, for the majority of states, including Florida, it is not legal.

What is Lane-Splitting?

Lane-splitting is when a motorcycle rider travels between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving

traffic. The motorcyclist rides in the space between the lanes, passing cars and other obstacles.

Lane splitting is a controversial topic. Many safety advocates argue that it should be outlawed in all states because it is dangerous. However, proponents, particularly in the motorcycling community, argue that there are benefits to the practice.

Risks of Lane-Splitting

  • Increased vulnerability: Motorcyclists who lane-split are exposed to greater risks from other vehicles, especially large trucks, as they are riding in very close proximity to them, and a rider may be in their blind spot. Bikers could also be struck by cars that are changing lanes.
  • Difficulty judging speed and distance: Determining the speed and distance of other vehicles can be challenging when you are lane-splitting, and it requires a high level of skill and attention. Because of the close proximity, it reduces the time that riders have to identify and react to emergency situations.
  • Frightening or unnerving other drivers: Drivers may be startled or surprised when they hear a loud motorcycle driving by, which could lead to accidents or even road rage incidents.

Arguments for Lane Splitting

  • Reduced congestion: Motorcycles take up less space on the road than cars, so lane-splitting can help relieve traffic congestion.
  • Improved safety: Lane-splitting can reduce the risks of rear-end collisions, common causes of motorcycle accidents.
  • Reduced exposure to exhaust fumes: Motorcyclists who lane-split are not stuck behind cars and trucks, which can reduce their exposure to exhaust fumes.
  • Improved commuting time: Lane-splitting can help decrease travel time for motorcyclists, helping them arrive at their destination more quickly.

Statistics on Lane-Splitting

According to an analysis published by researchers at the University of California Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, motorcyclists who engaged in lane-splitting were less likely to become injured in an accident in certain circumstances, primarily rear-end crashes.

Compared with other motorcyclists, lane splitting riders were more often riding on weekdays, during commuting hours, were using better helmets and were traveling at lower speeds. The study found that lane splitting was relatively safe if done in traffic moving at 50 mph or less, and if motorcyclists did not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 mph.

Implications in the Event of an Injury Claim

Under Florida law, lane splitting is illegal. As such, if a motorcyclist is injured in an accident while lane splitting, the fact that he or she was lane splitting at the time of the accident can have a significant impact on a potential recovery or case for personal injuries. A jury may determine that the motorcycle rider was partially at fault for causing the accident by lane splitting. On March 24, 2023, a new law was passed in Florida, that states that if an injured party is found to be more than 50% at fault for causing an accident, his or her claim will be completely barred. Therefore, regardless of which side of the lane-splitting debate a rider falls, it is crucial to follow Florida’s current laws.

Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Palm Beach Gardens and Port St. Lucie, Florida

At Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather Florida Injury Lawyers, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys are committed to helping injured riders and their families get the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. We will fight tirelessly on your behalf to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact us today at (561) 500-4357 772-500 HELP AND 561-500 HELP or fill out our form online to schedule a free initial consultation. With offices in Palm Beach Gardens and Port St. Lucie, our team of experienced attorneys are here to help.

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