Motorcycle Lane
Splitting Lawyer

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Experienced Chicago Injury Attorney Discusses Motorcycle Lane Splitting and Illinois Laws

In most cases, motorcycles and other motor vehicles follow the same rules of the road. However, because of a motorcycle’s smaller, narrower size, there are some traffic laws that pertain to bikers only. For example, many states across the nation have laws against lane splitting and lane sharing, both of which can pose dangers to motorcycle riders, other drivers, and pedestrians.

If you have been injured in an Illinois motorcycle accident involving lane splitting, you may wish to speak to a Chicago personal injury attorney at Malman Law. We have a deep knowledge of handling motorcycle accident cases whether you were on a bike, in a different vehicle, or on foot.

We offer free case review to injury victims and their families. To schedule yours, or simply to ask a question about your possible injury claim, please contact us today by calling 888-625-6265.

The Difference Between Lane Splitting and Lane Sharing

Lane splitting is the act of driving a motorcycle between two occupied lanes of traffic driving in the same direction. Lane splitting laws vary by state and is illegal in Illinois. Lane splitting may also be called traffic filtering.

In most states, lane splitting is illegal. A minority of states, like California, allow the practice. In some places, splitting lanes is legal but has restrictions—for example, riders may be prohibited from going more than 15 miles per hour faster than traffic and their speed may be capped at 50 miles per hour.

Lane sharing is the act of two or more motorcycle riders traveling abreast in the same lane and in the same direction. Illinois law does not specifically mention lane sharing.

Why Do Motorcycle Riders Lane Split?

The most common reason for lane splitting is traffic and congestion. Lane splitting allows motorcyclists to continue to travel between lanes even when traffic on both sides of them have slowed or stopped. However, some motorcycle riders will lane split to pass two cars traveling at the same speed in adjacent lanes or to avoid being rear-ended by a vehicle approaching them too quickly from behind. Other motorcycle riders may lane split while speeding or driving recklessly.

The Possible Dangers of Splitting Lanes

While lane sharing does have a few limited advantages – it can cut down on congestion, for example – many lawmakers have outlawed the practice because of its potential dangers:

  • Lane splitting puts little distance between vehicles. Having a motorcycle travel between lanes doesn’t leave much room for error. Even a simple mistake at slow speeds can mean a collision.
  • Lane splitting makes changing lanes more dangerous. Drivers aren’t used to looking for motorcycles traveling in between lanes–especially vehicles traveling fast in congestion. The changes of a car or truck pulling out in front of a motorcycle are high and riders may not have a chance to stop.
  • Lane splitting makes it difficult to avoid a collision. Lane splitting traps motorcyclists into a narrow space, making it all but impossible to vere out of the way of trouble. This is especially dangerous if there is a hazard in the road, such as a pothole or debris, or if a car pulls out in front of them.
  • Lane splitting puts motorcyclists in a blind spot. The closer a vehicle is traveling to the side of your car, the longer it will stay in your blind spot, which is not visible through either your rearview or side view mirrors. Bikes that can’t be easily seen are more likely to be hit.
  • Lane splitting causes confusion at intersections. Intersections are already a common location for accidents. Adding lane splitting only complicates an already complicated dance of traffic rules and right-of-way laws.

Lane splitting accidents can be serious for both the motorcycle rider and all others involved. Accidents on the interstate and highway may happen at high speeds, while lane-changing accidents, and rear-end accidents could cause a chain-reaction of crashes. Lane splitting accidents involving pedestrians more often than not end with catastrophic injuries or even fatal injuries.

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