What Is Lane Splitting? Is It Legally Permitted in the Lone Star State?
There’s nothing like getting on a motorcycle and hitting the open road, especially in Texas, where you can ride for miles and not see a soul. When you’re riding in town, though, it can be a real hassle, as motorists can creep and crawl along, making it necessary for you to stop and start, stop and start. You may be inclined to engage in the practice of lane splitting, so that you can quickly make your way through slow traffic. What is lane splitting? Is it legal in Texas? What happens if you are injured while lane splitting?
What Is Lane Splitting?
On many city streets and highways, there’s enough room between lanes going in the same direction that you can drive most motorcycles through without significant risk of contact with other vehicles. When you do that, it’s known as lane splitting (also referred to as “white-lining” or “stripe-riding”). It can help you move through congested traffic and there are situation where it can actually be safer than constantly stopping and starting. A famous report from 1981, known as the “Hurt Report,” suggested that lane splitting improved motorcycle safety by minimizing the risk of rear-end crashes. However, to date, no concrete evidence has been found to support this allegation.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Texas?
The Texas Transportation Code, in §545.060, specifically prohibits lane splitting in the Lone Star State, requiring all motor vehicle operators (including motorcyclists) “shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane…” If there are two or more clearly marked lanes going in the same direction, drivers (including bikers) may change lanes, but may not drive between lanes.
Though there is no specific offense of “lane splitting” in Texas, a motorcyclist who engages in the practice can be charged with a variety of moving violations, from unsafe lane changes to reckless driving. While the penalty is typically a fine, you could face up to 30 days in jail.
What Happens If You Are Injured While Lane Splitting?
While the fact that you were lane splitting will not automatically disqualify you from recovering compensation for any injury or loss suffered, it can be used as evidence against you to show that you were negligent. Texas is a modified comparative negligence state—if the jury determines that you were more responsible for causing the accident than the other parties, you won’t be able to recover anything for your losses.
Contact the Proven Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we understand how a personal injury can change your life. We’ll be your advocate throughout the legal process, helping you take the right steps to get full and fair compensation for all your losses. We can also be your liaison with insurance companies as well, so that you get all the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.