Lane-Splitting in Phoenix, AZ Motorcycle Accidents

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 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:

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 602-222-2222 or submit your case information via the online evaluation form.

For motorcyclists and motorists alike, lane splitting tends to be a hot topic with a range of strong opinions. However, no matter our personal thoughts on the practice, the truth is a lane-splitting accident can cause a number of problems for all involved – whether physical, financial, or emotional.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a lane-splitting accident, it is important to have up-to-date, accurate information on your legal rights and the options available to you. When you work with one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Phillips Law Group, you put your case in the hands of a team of legal professionals who can fight for you and your family to receive the full compensation you are owed.

Our law firm is proud to offer the legal advice and support that you need. We care about providing each client with the professional representation necessary after an accident. Contact us today at 602-222-2222 for a free consultation.

What Exactly is Lane Splitting?

There are a few terms for a motorcyclist who travels between lanes. These words and phrases are sometimes used interchangeably, easily leading to confusion.

For example, in some areas, the term for a motorcycle advancing past slow-moving or stopped vehicles is referred to as “lane splitting.”

In other states, though, this practice is referred to as “lane filtering.” In these areas, lane splitting only refers to the practice of a motorcycle weaving through traffic at a higher rate of speed by traveling between the lines.

Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Safety

One major concern of motorcyclists on the road is being involved in a rear-end collision. In Arizona in 2020, for example, rear-end accidents made up approximately 30 percent of all motorcycle crashes and 10 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents.

Whether lane splitting improves motorcycle safety is contested. Groups such as the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) endorse lane splitting, pointing to certain studies that show lane-splitting improves motorcyclist safety in congested traffic. In these cases, lane splitting is seen as a way for motorcyclists to avoid being caught in heavy, slow-moving traffic where drivers are more likely to be distracted and pin a motorcycle between two vehicles.

Others are more wary of lane splitting. After all, no practice, safe or not, completely eliminates the risk of an accident. Even the University of California Berkeley study – widely used to demonstrate the benefits of lane splitting – shows that between 2012 and 2013, California saw nearly 1000 motorcycle crashes that happened while the motorcycle was lane splitting.

Contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at Phillips Law Group today to start your free consultation.

Lane Splitting Legislation

When it comes to lane splitting, California became the only state to explicitly legalize the practice in 2016. Beforehand, as in many states, lane splitting was on neutral ground, with no legislation in place to either ban it or condone it. Since 2016, multiple other states have followed suit, drafting specific legislation to address and regulate lane splitting.

As of May 2022, some of the states that have legislation in place for lane splitting or lane filtering include:

  • California
  • Arizona
  • Utah
  • Montana

In Arizona, for example, lane filtering was approved by legislation in May 2022. Rather than completely allowing all forms of lane splitting, this legislation established certain conditions in which lane filtering would be legal.

These conditions include:

  • Lane filtering can only be done on roads with a speed limit of 45 miles per hour or less
  • The motorcycle can only travel up to 15 miles per hour while lane splitting
  • The street must have at least 2 lanes in the same direction

The motorcycle accident lawyers at Phillips Law Group understand how important it is to stay up to date on legislation and legal precedents surrounding personal injury law. Reach out to us today to learn more about local laws that could impact your potential claim.

How Fault is Determined After an Accident

One of the most important steps in a successful motorcycle accident claim is determining fault. The impact fault has on a potential accident claim depends on the state in which the accident occurred. In the case of a lane-splitting accident, the question of negligence on the part of the motorcyclist and the motorist is at play when it comes to compensation.

For example, is lane splitting or lane filtering considered legal in the state where the accident occurred? If so, was the motorcyclist or the motorist following the safety regulations and recommendations in place?

Depending on state law, the answers to these questions can either reduce the amount of compensation available to the injured parties or bar them from recovering compensation entirely. It depends whether the state in question applies comparative negligence, contributory negligence, or no-fault law.

Comparative negligence

Under comparative negligence, the amount of compensation a personal injury victim can recover is reduced by his or her level of fault. Comparative negligence is generally broken into two types:

  • Pure comparative negligence: A personal injury victim can recover compensation no matter his or her level of fault. For example, someone who was 99 percent at fault for the accident could still recover 1 percent of damages. (Ex. Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and Washington).
  • Modified comparative negligence: Most states operate under a modified comparative negligence system, meaning that injury victims can only recover compensation if they are under a specific limit of fault, either 50 or 51 percent. (Ex. Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada).

Contributory negligence

Under a contributory negligence system, a personal injury victim is only able to recover compensation if he or she had no fault in the accident. Even 1 percent fault is enough to stop an injured party from recovering any compensation. This strict system is only followed in a few states, such as Alabama, the District of Columbia, and Virginia.

No-fault insurance

A number of states also employ no-fault law. This means that each party’s personal insurance company is required to provide compensation for damages incurred in an accident. This system is in place to reduce the necessity of personal injury lawsuits in order to win compensation. States that apply this rule include New York, Minnesota, and Utah.

However, in many cases, personal injury lawsuits are possible and at times necessary even in states with no-fault insurance laws. For example, there are often limits to the insurance settlement that do not exist within personal injury law. Car accident victims may sometimes be able to recover additional compensation from the liable party through a lawsuit.

Contact the Team at Phillips Law Group After Any Motorcycle Accident

At Phillips Law Group, we want to ensure that injured victims receive the maximum compensation they are entitled to after an accident. We are familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to deny claims or in an attempt to reduce the potential settlement, and we work hard to protect our client’s legal rights.

If you or a family member has been involved in a lane-splitting accident, we are here to help. Our lawyers and legal professionals have decades of experience handling personal injury claims, recovering millions in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.

By working on a contingency fee basis and offering a free consultation to prospective clients, we ensure that you can receive the legal help you need without an additional financial burden during a difficult time. Contact us today for a free case review of your potential claim.