If you engage in lane splitting, you violate Florida law. If you maneuver a motorcycle back and forth between two lanes of stopped or slowed traffic, you commit lane splitting. Like all motor vehicles, motorcyclists must follow all traffic laws, as well as those laws that apply only to motorcycles. Therefore, lane splitting is not legal in Florida.
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Defining Lane Splitting Under Florida Law
Although it is legal only in the State of California, you likely have noticed motorcyclists riding between lanes of stopped or stalled traffic on busy highways or roads. This controversial practice allows motorcyclists to bypass stopped or slow traffic. It is also commonly known as white lining or stripe riding. Although it may be tempting to motorcyclists, the practice also is illegal.
The Statute to Know Regarding Lane Splitting
Florida Statutes §316.209 establishes rules for motorcyclists riding on roadways with multiple traffic lanes. This statute specifically outlaws lane splitting, which it defines as operating “a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.”
Likewise, motorcyclists may not “overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.” In other words, you cannot ride a motorcycle in between two lanes in order to pass a vehicle in one of those lanes.
The same statute also notes that motorcyclists are entitled to use the full lane, just like any other motor vehicle. Additionally, motorcyclists can legally engage in lane sharing, or riding two abreast in a single lane of traffic.
Consequences of Lane Splitting in Florida
Lane splitting is a noncriminal traffic infraction. Law enforcement officials treat lane splitting as a moving violation, which means that you can receive a ticket for lane splitting and be required to pay a fine. The amount of the fine can vary by county.
Lane splitting also can result in different types of accidents. The motorcyclist who is engaging in lane splitting may collide with another motor vehicle, either by having side contact with a vehicle or by abruptly passing in front of another vehicle. The motorcyclist also may cause other motor vehicles to collide without being struck. This can happen if the presence of the motorcycle in between lanes causes other vehicles to abruptly stop and rear-end one another.
As a result, lane splitting by a motorcyclist could lead to liability in a personal injury claim. Likewise, a driver who fails to allow a motorcyclist to use the full lane and causes an accident also may face liability if the motorcyclist is injured.
Lane Splitting and Liability for Injuries
Since lane splitting is illegal in Florida, if the practice causes an accident, there can be additional repercussions. Evidence of a traffic violation can be evidence of negligence, which is the legal basis for many car accident claims. Negligence is composed of four different elements, which include:
- A legal duty of care owed to others
- A violation of this duty of care
- A violation that results in harm to others
- The injured parties suffer damages as a result of that harm
All drivers, including motorcyclists, owe a duty of care to other drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. When they violate a traffic law or engage in other forms of careless behavior and their conduct results in an accident, they can be responsible for any damages that occur. These damages can include compensation for property damage to vehicles, injuries, and other related losses.
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Damages in Lane Splitting Accidents
When lane splitting leads to an accident, the accident victims can seek compensation from the responsible parties through a personal injury action. The process of getting compensated for your injuries often begins with insurance claims against the insurance policies of the at-fault motorcyclists or motorists.
This compensation or damages can take different forms. For instance, some damages are economic, and others are non-economic. They might include:
- Lost wages from being off work
- Medical bills to treat injuries
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Compensation for emotional distress
- Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life
Under Florida Statutes §95.11, injury victims usually have four years from the date of the accident to file personal injury lawsuits based on negligence in court. Therefore, getting legal advice about your situation early on in the process can be crucial to meeting these (and other) essential deadlines.
Contact Us for a Free Evaluation of Your Case
When you want to know if lane splitting is legal in Florida and other information about your legal rights after a car accident, we are here to help. We can answer your questions and provide you with the information that you need in this situation.
Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your case. We are waiting to hear from you and give you the answers that you need.