As a motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida, I have grown accustomed to the act of lane splitting. When a motorcycle operator drives between two lanes of stopped or slower moving cars in Florida, they are breaking the law. This behavior, known as “lane splitting,” is not illegal in some states. However, Florida is not one of those jurisdictions.
If an accident occurs when a motorcycle is lane splitting, they will be presumably held liable for the collision. In Florida, an accident victim will be compensated to the extent that his or her negligence did not contribute to an accident. Therefore, if a motorcyclist is at fault, then they will generally be unable to recover. The caveat to this rule is that if the rider can show that the other driver contributed to the accident. For example, if the driver was talking on a cell phone, weaving between lanes, or performing other careless maneuvers then they may be found to have contributed to the accident.
The factors that one should be mindful of are whether the motorcyclist was riding with care, is an experienced rider, has specialized training such as a motorcycle riding safety courses, and whether the other driver did something more dangerous than lane splitting.
In order to prove this, the motorcyclist needs to be able to support their version of events. This means that if the accident victim isn’t seriously injured, they need to make sure they collect the names and contact information of witnesses. Furthermore, using your cell phone to take pictures will help explain the circumstances. In that case, it’s important to pay attention to where the damage occurs, any skid marks on the pavement and the weather conditions.
For anyone who does decide to split lanes, in jurisdictions where it is legal, there are a few things you can do to stay safe. First, be exceptionally alert when entering a car’s blind spot. Next, make sure to utilize headlights and reflective clothing to increase visibility. Be aware of indications that a car is preparing to change lanes, such as turn signals and whether the car is trending towards one side of their lane. You can indicate that you’re coming through by honking if a car gets too close. Never try to split lanes if the traffic is over 30 mph. There is too little time to make a correction in these cases.
This activity should be distinguished from “lane sharing.” Lane sharing occurs when two motorcycles occupy the same lane, side-by-side. This move is legal in Florida, as it is in most places. Lane sharing is only allowed with two motorcycles; meaning three riders cannot ride next to each other in the same lane.
Finally, the truly safest practice is to refrain from any type of lane splitting. Sometimes this behavior cannot be avoided. When those instances occur and you’re injured, remember that the Dolman Law Group may be able to help you. We take personal injury seriously because we understand the long term and debilitating effects of motorcycle crashes. If you have been physically injured as a result of the negligence exhibited by an individual or corporation, call the >motorcycle injury lawyers at the Dolman Law Group for a free consultation and case evaluation.