All motorists are expected to operate their vehicles in a manner that does not endanger others on the road. Examples of driving behaviors that can place others on the road in danger include distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving.

Other driving behaviors can also increase the risk of an accident, such as following too closely and improper lane changes. For motorcyclists, lane splitting is a driving choice that is illegal and could be dangerous.

What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting describes the practice of driving a motorcycle between two lanes of slowed or stopped traffic. For example, a rider decides to drive between two lanes of vehicles that have stopped because of a car accident a couple of miles ahead. The rider decides to move to the front of the congestion instead of waiting in stopped traffic.

Florida prohibits lane splitting. According to §316.209 of the Uniform Traffic Control Code, riders cannot operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent rows or lines of vehicles. Police officers can issue traffic tickets for lane splitting in Florida. 

Is Lane Sharing Different From Lane Splitting?

Yes, lane sharing is different from lane splitting. Lane sharing occurs when two motorcyclists ride side by side in the same lane. 

Florida laws do not prohibit lane sharing. However, the statute does limit lane sharing to no more than two motorcycles per single lane.

Is Lane Splitting Safe?

There is much debate about whether lane splitting is safe or dangerous. Opponents state that lane splitting increases the risk of a motorcycle accident. They claim that riders are less visible and could cause an accident because the driver may not see the motorcycle when the driver changes lanes.

Individuals in favor of lane splitting argue that the practice is safe because traffic is slowed or stopped. Some people argue that being in between vehicles prevents the rider from being rear-ended by distracted or negligent drivers. Another argument for lane splitting is that it reduces traffic congestion. 

Regardless of your opinion about lane splitting, it is illegal in Florida. It can also impact your settlement for a personal injury claim if you are involved in a motorcycle accident while line splitting.

How Can Lane Splitting Impact My Personal Injury Claim?

Being injured in a motorcycle accident can result in catastrophic injuries, including broken bones, brain damage, and spinal cord injuries. The financial damages incurred because of a motorcycle crash can be substantial. A rider may incur expensive medical costs for treatment of injuries, in addition to substantial loss of income.

If another driver is responsible for causing the motorcycle crash, you can receive full compensation for your damages. Your recovery may include financial damages and compensation for your pain and suffering. 

However, if you are partially to blame for the cause of the accident, you might receive an amount that is much less than the full value of your personal injury claim because of Florida’s comparative fault laws.

What Are Florida’s Comparative Fault Laws?

Comparative fault is a legal theory of apportioning damages based on a person’s negligence. If a person is partially to blame for the cause of their injury, the person is not entitled to receive full compensation for damages. The person’s compensation is reduced by an amount equal to the person’s contribution to the cause of the accident.

For example, let’s assume that a jury finds that you were 40 percent to blame for the cause of the motorcycle wreck. If the total of your damages equaled $200,000, you would only be entitled to receive $120,000. You would lose 40 percent of the value of your claim because your actions contributed to the cause of the crash.

Lane splitting could be considered a factor in your motorcycle case. The other driver’s insurance company might claim that lane splitting contributed to the cause of the collision. Depending on the strength of their evidence and the jury, you could stand to lose a substantial portion of your personal injury recovery.

Blaming the Victim for a Motorcycle Accident is Common

Insurance companies often blame motorcyclists for causing an accident, even when the rider was not at fault. Because motorcyclists have an unfair and unjust reputation for being reckless or careless drivers, insurance companies play on the stereotype to lower their liability for injury claims.

The best way to fight allegations of comparative fault is to hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to argue your case. An attorney understands the tactics used by insurance providers to avoid paying valid motorcycle accident claims and how to fight back to protect their clients’ best interests.