Lane splitting, which occurs when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of slower moving cars, is a divisive issue among road users. Some people believe the practice is dangerous, reducing reaction times for drivers and increasing the odds of a biker being hit if a driver changes lanes. Others argue that lane splitting is practical and beneficial, as it can reduce traffic congestion and allow more cars on existing roads and highways.
No matter what your opinion is on lane splitting, you should know that the practice is illegal in Florida—and can make it harder to recover in a bike crash case.
How Lane Splitting Can Affect Your Motorcycle Crash Case
Florida state laws have a specific ban against lane splitting: anyone who rides a motorcycle “between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles" will be ticketed for a traffic offense. Since it's illegal, lane splitting is often seen as reckless or negligent behavior on the part of the biker, and could be seen as fault for the accident.
However, you're not automatically barred from legal action even if you were lane splitting at the time of the accident. All factors of your motorcycle accident case should be considered carefully, including:
- Lane sharing. People may confuse lane splitting with lane sharing, which occurs when two motorcycles ride side-by-side or in an offset formation in the same lane. The two practices are completely different, especially since lane sharing isn't illegal under Florida law.
- The motorcyclist’s actions. Your history and experience as a rider can demonstrate to the court that you're less at fault for the crash that the driver (even if you were lane splitting). Your case will be stronger if you received specialized motorcycle training or safety courses, have a clean accident record, and otherwise ride responsibly.
- The driver’s actions. Florida allows accident victims to be compensated for injuries according to the amount of negligence they contribute to an accident. If a driver was texting, speeding, or driving under the influence, he may be more at fault for the accident and liable to pay a greater portion of the costs.
- Insurance coverage. If motorcyclists have liability insurance, they can collect from their insurance companies without the need to file lawsuits. While drivers must have insurance at all times under the law, bikers aren't required to have motorcycle insurance in Florida unless they cause an accident. If you weren't at fault for the crash, you should be able to sue the negligent driver to get payment for your injuries under the driver’s insurance policy.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, we can help. Simply fill out the form on this page today to set up your free consultation with an injury attorney.