Lane Splitting is Illegal in The State of Florida

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Motorcyclists who practice lane splitting or driving between two lanes of stopped or moving traffic are doing so in violation of Florida Law. Lane sharing on the other hand, where there are 2 motorcyclists sharing the same lane while cycling down the road are not in violation of Florida law.  Lane splitting is a dangerous activity that puts the motorcyclist and other drivers at risk. Many things can go wrong because of the distance shared between vehicles and the motorcyclist has limited control over their immediate situation and usually not enough time to anticipate the actions of other drivers. If an accident does occur, the motorcyclist practicing a lane splitting maneuver will be held responsible for the collision and of breaking Florida law. This would in most accident cases result in the cyclist not being able to recover damages because his reckless driving behavior contributed to, if not caused the accident itself. When accidents do occur due to lane splitting, many cyclists are seriously injured and often times killed, especially when the cyclist is travelling at high speeds.

What happens when Motorcyclists Lane-Split

The most obvious answer is that cyclists driving their motorcycles between traffic, moving in the same direction, does not give other drivers any advanced warning that a motorcycle is about to overtake and pass them. If vehicles are in stopped traffic, drivers or passengers might decide to open their car door for any reason and that simple action could cause an accident with dire consequences for the cyclist.  If the motorcyclist is travelling at a fast rate of speed, passing stopped cars or trucks in a lane splitting maneuver, reduces the distance between cars and the result could be a collision between the motorcycle and the other vehicles. If traffic is moving at a moderate or high rate of speed, motorcyclists deciding to pass between cars does not allow the other drivers to anticipate that the motorcyclists is about to break the law.  Passing between cars this way could startled one or both drivers being overtaken and their overreaction could cause an accident. This could also start a chain reaction of events and put other drivers in their immediate vicinity at risk. Automobiles and trucks have many blind spots and lane splitting motorcyclists, who are already at a disadvantage of not being seen due to their size and shape, could be sideswiped. Motorcyclists splitting lanes in stopped traffic are vulnerable to any oncoming car turning across their path because the unsuspecting driver believes the way is clear because traffic is stopped. Automobile and truck drivers distracted by cell phones, texting, gaming, music or videos playing can render motorcyclists splitting lanes more susceptible to an accident. Motorcyclists assume a greater degree of risk when lane splitting and Florida roads are not designed for such driving behaviors.

Last but not least. Motorcyclists who lane split are more at risk of an intolerant driver committing road rage because of the cyclist’s disregard for them and the law. This can sometimes lead to accidents resulting in injuries or even death.

The Benefits of States Legalizing Lane Splitting

Many states have adopted laws allowing motorcyclists to lane split. California is one such state where lane splitting has been legal for many years. Lane splitting, because of its controversial nature, has initiated many safety studies reviewing its practice and its outcome. Allowing motorcycles to split lanes increases a motorcycles mobility and can make driving a motorcycle safer. The cyclist in traffic can maneuver their motorcycle to positions of safety by not being restrained by ordinary traffic flows. By placing themselves in open sections of the roadway, lanes splitting allows a cyclist to strategically place themselves in pockets of lower traffic congestion.  California believes this improves overall traffic safety, by allowing cyclists to move in and out of traffic with relative ease because of their size and weight. By distancing themselves from hazards such as trucks or automobiles travelling at high rates of speed, cyclists can “get out in front”. Motorcycles are allowed to split lanes even at traffic lights and because motorcycles can travel faster from a dead start than other vehicles, cyclists can get out in front of traffic when starting out. As motorcycles are allowed to travel in more non-conventional patterns, as compared to other vehicles, this allows them more visibility and can improve their own view of the road ahead. Lane-splitting has been credited with reducing fuel consumption and thus reduces the effects of carbon emissions, something California is in desperate need of.

Studies Reveal Lane-Splitting Risks

Recent studies are showing an increased risk among cyclists engaging in lane splitting driving in California. Motorcycles are coming much closer to other vehicles, when driving in the lane between vehicles, but the studies so far have been inconclusive as to increasing the rate of accidents occurring because of this. The reduced space does increase the chance of the vehicles coming into contact with each other but motorcycles are only in that driving position for a few seconds or less. This does reduce reaction time for both drivers in the event of contact being made. Often times it’s the automobile and pick-up trucks performing lane changes without proper signaling, while the motorcyclists are performing a lane splitting maneuver. This does increase the chance for accidents when these types of situations occur. Additionally, motorcyclists traveling in that area between lanes are susceptible to hazards such as striping, pavement markings and reflector dots, thus increasing the chance of a motorcycle mishap.

Cyclists Assume their Own Level of Risk

As an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, Michael Atter and David Wolf understand the risks associated with operating a motorcycle, motorcycle scooter or bicycle. Wood, Atter and Wolf have handled 1000’s of motorcycle, automobile and truck accidents that have resulted in an injury or death for over 50 years. Every day, someone is injured in an accident due to the careless mistakes of others. If you or a loved one have been injured by another party give Michael or David a call. We are available 24 hours a day at 904-355-8888. We handle every type of personal injury claim and there are no fees or costs unless we will money for you…..

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