A Quick Guide to Motorcycle Lane Splitting
When motorcyclists search for a motorcycle accident lawyer District Heights MD can trust, it’s common for several car accident lawyers to pop up in search results lists. Accident victims who are injured in motorcycle collisions may not realize initially that car accidents can be vastly different from motorcycle accidents. An experienced lawyer who has only dealt with car accident cases might not be the most competent motorcycle accident lawyer District Heights MD has to offer.
At Cohen & Cohen, our legal team understands that there are many complicated details that factor into motorcycles — details that may not be present at all in a regular car accident. Our team of legal professionals knows that these small details can drastically change the outcome of a case. When searching for a reliable motorcycle accident lawyer District Heights MD drivers depend on, motorcyclists know that they can turn to Cohen & Cohen for legal counsel.
Accidents that involve lane splitting are just one example of how motorcycle accidents can differ greatly from car accidents. Here’s a quick look at how lane splitting could play a role in a motorcycle accident injury claim.
What is lane splitting?
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives in between two vehicles, when all three vehicles are driving in the same direction, in order to pass or get around those vehicles. As the name itself suggests, the motorcyclist makes use of both lanes and splits them apart to create a smaller third lane in order to pass.
When a motorcyclist uses lane splitting carefully, it might not cause any harm. Lane splitting is often done safely when traffic is at a standstill or when traffic is moving very slowly. Motorcyclists sometimes also make use of lane splitting on busy highways — especially when these highways only have two or three lanes of traffic for each direction — although it is generally more dangerous to do it when cars are moving at high speeds. As any experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in District Heights MD will know, traffic accidents can become much more damaging to all parties involved when one or more vehicles are traveling at a high speed.
Is lane splitting legal?
The legality of lane splitting is highly debated. Many states do not recognize lane splitting as a valid driving technique for motorcyclists, but most states do not expressly prohibit lane splitting or have laws against it. Even though line splitting may not officially be prohibited, local authorities may have the ability to rule an instance of lane splitting as unlawful.
As any experienced District Heights MD motorcycle accident lawyer will attest, it is often advisable for motorcyclists to stay vigilant before using lane splitting in traffic. Courts and law enforcement officials in certain states or cities may be more likely than others to consider lane splitting illegal.
How is liability determined for lane splitting when an accident happens?
When lane splitting is a factor in a traffic accident, the court may be more likely to consider the motorcyclist at least partly responsible for the incident. In these complex situations, it may help to seek legal counsel from a motorcycle accident lawyer District Heights MD can depend on. Some of these cases may be caused directly by lane splitting, but it’s possible that the motorcyclist’s actions played a small role in the entire accident.
As with all motorcycle accidents, there are many factors at play in each accident case; a certain ruling in one case cannot guarantee that a similar case will receive the same ruling.
A motorcyclist may still be able to successfully claim monetary damages for his or her injuries if the court finds that the motorcyclist’s actions likely played a very small part in the accident. Additional details that may help a motorcyclist’s injury claim when lane splitting is involved may include:
- The motorcyclist is an experienced rider
- The motorcyclist holds a valid motorcyclist’s license
- The motorcyclist has successfully completed a driving or safety course
- Traffic was at a standstill or was moving very slowly
- The motorcyclist was carefully using lane splitting; e.g., not weaving through cars abruptly or drifting across multiple lanes
- The motorcyclist signaled to other drivers when he or she intended to move out of a lane
- Another driver made a mistake that was more problematic and played a bigger role in causing the accident
After a lane splitting accident, what’s next?
As any motorcycle accident lawyer District Heights MD can provide will attest, motorcycle accidents tend to have a great deal of personal injuries and property damage — and the motorcyclist is much more likely to face these consequences than the occupants in other passenger vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 80% of all reported motorcycle accident result in injury or death for the motorcyclist.
Even when lane splitting is a factor in an accident, a motorcyclist may still be able to successfully make a personal injury claim.
There are several different ways that an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer District Heights MD trusts may choose to approach an injury claim for a motorcyclist:
- In cases where another driver’s insurance company should be able to cover a reasonable settlement, it might be in the rider’s best interest to negotiate a settlement (or have a trusted District Heights MD motorcycle accident lawyer do so on his or her behalf).
- If the injured rider is seeking more money in damages than the other driver’s insurance policy holds — as many injured motorcyclists do, simply because their injuries are so costly to treat — it may be advisable to seek a higher settlement in court.
- If the rider was severely injured because a defect in the motorcycle itself caused an accident, the person may be able to seek damages from the motorcycle manufacturer through a products liability case.
Cohen & Cohen: A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer District Heights MD Deserves
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident and you have sustained a serious injury — even if you used lane splitting as a way of getting through traffic — contact Cohen & Cohen today. Our legal team understands that motorcycle accident cases are complex and may require extra attention. For more information about working with a motorcycle accident lawyer District Heights MD residents trust, contact our firm today by calling our Maryland office at (301) 250-1957.