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What should motorcycle riders know about lane splitting

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Southeast Texas is a motorcycle rider’s dream, as the area offers year-round opportunities for hitting the open road behind the handlebars of a cruiser or sportbike. When you encounter traffic, though, it can be tempting to split lanes.

According to the American Motorcyclists Association, lane splitting happens when a biker rides between two lanes of slow-moving or even stopped traffic. Whether you are thinking about buying your first motorcycle or have been riding for years, there are a few things every motorcycle rider should know about lane splitting.

Lane splitting is illegal in the Lone Star State

Section 545.060 of the Texas Transportation Code expressly prohibits motorcycle riders from lane splitting. Indeed, to comply with state law, motorcyclists have to ride in a single lane. While you obviously can pass slower vehicles, you must not drive between two vehicles.

Lane splitting can be dangerous

There is no across-the-board consensus about the safety of lane splitting, as some rider advocacy groups consider it to be safe. Still, lane-splitting can be dangerous for riders and drivers alike for a couple of reasons.

First, if you are in a place other drivers do not expect you to be, they might inadvertently change lanes or drift into your motorcycle. Second, when traffic stops or moves slowly, you have an obstructed view of your surroundings, giving you less time to notice and react to riding hazards.

As a safety-conscious rider who follows the law, you should probably avoid lane splitting. Ultimately, though, if you suffer an injury while splitting lanes, you should still investigate whether you might be eligible for financial compensation.