Lane-Splitting Is Illegal, But You May Still Get Compensation

Few things can match the feeling of riding a motorcycle on the open road. But unsafe behavior, or violations of the law, create a greater chance of a serious collision, which can be catastrophic for the motorcyclist and motorists alike. Lane-splitting is one example of such behavior – not because it is inherently unsafe, but because it is illegal in New York.

The merits of lane-splitting are subject to a great deal of debate among motorcycle enthusiasts and other drivers. However, for now, it is illegal for someone on a motorcycle to pass another vehicle either in the same lane or between lanes. That means drivers in New York have no reason to anticipate lane-splitting, making it extremely dangerous.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident where lane-splitting was involved, you need a top NYC motorcycle lawyer to represent you. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation today.

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What Is Lane-Splitting?

Lane-splitting, sometimes called filtering, is the act of a motorcycle traveling between lanes, passing other vehicles in traffic. This means the motorcycle passes one or more vehicles not in its own lane, but by traveling on the line between lanes. Proponents of the practice argue that it helps reduce traffic congestion and allows motorcyclists to maintain control of their vehicles.

Since lane-splitting is currently illegal in the state of New York, motorcyclists who do can be given a citation for the practice. It also means other drivers in New York don’t expect to see a motorcyclist lane-splitting, since it is forbidden.

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Is Lane-Splitting Legal Anywhere Else?

Lane-splitting is only explicitly allowed by law in the state of California. In about a dozen other states in the U.S., it is not specifically outlawed, but it is also not allowed. This means that engaging in lane-splitting in those states, such as Ohio and North Carolina, might not result in a ticket. However, police in those states can still issue a citation if they believe the lane-splitting was done in a way that violates general traffic safety laws, so it is still best to avoid it anywhere but California.

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What Are the Consequences of Lane-Splitting?

Although research has shown that lane-splitting is not inherently unsafe, so long as it is done at reasonable speeds, there are some dangers associated with it. For one thing, since it is illegal in New York, anyone who engages in lane-splitting can be stopped and issued a traffic citation by law enforcement. Not only can this be expensive, but repeat offenses may result in more severe consequences, such as license suspension.

Lane-splitting may also contribute to collisions. Since New York drivers do not expect motorcycles to maneuver through traffic, motorcyclists engaging in lane-splitting are more likely to be struck by a car that is merging or changing lanes.

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What Should I Do After an Accident?

After any accident, call the police. Get emergency medical help right away, if you’re seriously injured. Otherwise, remain at the scene to exchange information with anyone else involved. Take photos. It’s a good idea to get a medical checkup as soon as possible, just in case you have hidden injuries.

Before you deal with an insurance company or talk to another driver’s lawyer, talk to an NYC personal injury attorney about your rights. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353 today to schedule a free consultation.

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