Is Lane Splitting Safe?
While stuck in traffic or inching along a congested roadway, you may have seen motorcyclists ride by in the narrow strip between two lanes of vehicles. When a motorcycle rides between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic, this is called lane splitting.
Is lane splitting safe? Whether lane splitting puts motorcyclists at greater risk for injury has been widely debated in recent years. In the past, it was almost always viewed as dangerous and illegal. However, some states, including Arizona, have changed their motorcycle laws regarding riding in between lanes.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a lane-splitting or another type of motorcycle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, our personal injury lawyers are here to help. Call us now at 1-800-706-3000 or fill out our free case evaluation form.
Analyzing the Pros and Cons of Lane Splitting
The pros and cons of lane splitting have been a topic that has been debated by motorcyclists and motorists. Both supporters and non-supporters of lane splitting cite safety as their reason.
Consider what has been said regarding the pros and cons of lane splitting.
Cons of lane splitting
Lane splitting can be dangerous in some situations, especially when drivers are traveling at high speeds. An unsuspecting motorist may be startled by a motorcycle rider lane splitting and momentarily lose focus, possibly causing an accident.
The following are some common scenarios that have caused or contributed to lane-splitting accidents:
- A vehicle suddenly opens the door, hitting or causing a collision with an oncoming motorcyclist
- A vehicle abruptly changes lanes and collides with a lane-splitting motorcycle
- A motorcyclist cannot see around a large truck or moves into the truck’s blind spot, resulting in a collision
- A motorist turns in front of a lane-splitting motorcyclist resulting in a hook collision
Pros of lane splitting
In many parts of the world, people rely on motorcycles and scooters for transportation, and lane splitting is an accepted driving practice. In the US, motorcyclists and drivers have become more aware of the advantages of lane splitting. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has commented that the possible safety benefits of lane splitting are worthy of further study.
The following are some of the advantages of lane splitting:
- It helps reduce traffic congestion
- It may prevent motorcyclists from being rear-ended in stop-and-go traffic
- It reduces fuel consumption and emissions since riders are not sitting in traffic without moving
What Have Research Analysts Found Regarding Lane Splitting?
In 2015, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, published the results of a study conducted on lane splitting. To the surprise of some, their research revealed that lane splitting is reasonably safe under some circumstances.
The researchers analyzed data from June 2012 to August 2013 on traffic collisions involving motorcycles. There were close to 6,000 motorcycle-related accidents during that time, and 997 of them involved lane splitting.
Speed was a common factor in most lane-splitting accidents. They found that lane splitting at speeds of under 50 mph was reasonably safe. The most common scenario where a collision occurred was when a motorcycle rider was traveling too fast and a motorist attempted to change lanes.
The study also found that in comparison with other motorcyclists involved in a collision, lane-splitters were less likely to suffer head, torso, and brain injuries.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Arizona?
California was the first state to legalize lane splitting, and Utah and Montana passed similar laws in the years following. Arizona has recently passed a law that allows “lane-filtering,” which is different from lane splitting.
Lane filtering allows motorcycles to pass between stopped vehicles to get to the front of a lane of traffic. While lane splitting, which is still illegal in AZ, allows vehicles to go between moving vehicles on freeways and other roads.
The following rules govern lane-filtering in Arizona:
- Only when traffic is stopped: Motorcycles are only allowed to ride between lanes of traffic when vehicles are at a stoplight and at a complete stop
- Only at slow speeds: Motorcycles can only lane filter on roads where the speed limit is 45 mph or less, and the motorcyclist cannot travel at speeds greater than 15 mph
Motorcycle Accidents Can Result in Serious Injuries
Motorcycles do not offer riders protection from the surrounding elements. They do not have the airbags, seatbelts, or safety features that cars and trucks have. Even if a biker was wearing a helmet and other safety equipment, he or she may still be seriously injured in the event of a motorcycle accident.
Injuries commonly sustained in motorcycle accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Back and neck injuries
- Scarring/ disfigurement
- Lost limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
What Should You Do If You Were Injured in a Lane-Splitting Accident?
If you were injured in a lane-splitting or another type of motorcycle accident, you may be coping with severe physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial stress. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Phillips Law Group can help take some of the burdens off of your shoulders.
When you have skilled legal representation on your side, it can mean the difference between having your medical bills, bike repairs, and other losses compensated – or having to pay for them out of pocket.
The following are some of the actions a personal injury lawyer will take on your behalf:
- Investigating the accident: Your lawyer will launch a full investigation into the cause of the accident and begin building a solid case on your behalf
- Defending your legal rights: Insurance companies often try to blame the motorcyclist for the accident, as your lawyers we will defend your right to compensation
- Gathering evidence: This may include eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, phone records, police reports, and other evidence
- Establishing fault and liability: Our legal team will identify all liable parties and work diligently to hold them liable for your losses
- Calculating the value of your claim: Insurance companies may offer you a quick settlement that is far less than what your claim is actually worth; we know how to assess all of your losses and calculate the value of your claim
- Negotiating a settlement: Our lawyers are skilled negotiators who will not back down until we have negotiated a just and fair settlement on your behalf
- Going to court if necessary: If we are unable to negotiate a fair settlement, we are prepared to litigate your case at trial
Contact Phillips Law Group for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in a lane-splitting accident, it can be helpful to work with a legal team that understands this maneuver and is knowledgeable in Arizona motorcycle law. Our law firm has successfully represented many motorcycle accident victims and helped them recover maximum compensation for their losses.
At Phillips Law Group, we believe that everyone has the right to skilled legal representation regardless of his or her current financial situation. For this reason, our law firm takes clients on contingency. This means you will not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses throughout the course of your motorcycle accident case, and you will owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you.
Our law firm is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact Phillips Law Group to get the professional legal help you deserve during a free, no-obligation case review session.
Call us at 1-800-706-3000 or submit your case information via the online evaluation form.
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