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Why Do Motorcyclists Engage in Lane Splitting?

Posted on in Personal Injury

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If you’ve ever watched a motorcycle zoom by as you’re sittingin heavy traffic, you’ve already witnessed the practice of lane splitting first-hand. By driving in-between crowded lanes, motorcyclists often hopeto avoid long traffic wait times. Of course, this practice is currentlyillegal in the state of New York, and a growing body of evidence showsthat lane splitting is also dangerous.


Were you injured as a result of lane splitting? Contact Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara, LLC to seek justice for your injuries!


At Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC, our White Plains accident lawyersare committed to getting to the bottom of every lane splitting accidentcase. Whether you’re a motorcyclist who has been unfairly blamedfor an accident or a car driver injured because of a motorcycle rider, we can help you get the closure-andthe financial recovery-that you need.

In this post, we’ll discuss why motorcyclists believe that lane splittingis safer, and how you can seek assistance when you’ve been involvedin an accident.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in NY?

Because lane splitting is perfectly legal in other places, most notablythroughout Europe and Asia, motorcycle riders often point to these othercountries to argue that lane splitting must necessarily be safe, too.In New York, lane splitting is currently illegal to ensure the utmostsafety of motorcycle drivers throughout the state.

The American Motorcycle Association has even defended the practice, saying that “…one of themost dangerous situations for any on-highway motorcyclist is being caughtin congested traffic.” Providing statistics from a 2015 UC Berkeleystudy that tracked lane-splitting in California, the AMA notes that motorcyclistswho split lanes may be less likely to be struck from behind or sustainfatal injuries.

Here are some of the other common reasons that motorcyclists decide tosplit lanes:

  • It allows traffic to move more quickly. While car drivers may watch in envy as motorcycle riders speed ahead,motorcycle safety advocates claim that this very technique makes the freewayless congested, by filtering the smaller vehicles out to the front.
  • It provides an escape route. Due to the small size of their vehicles, motorcycle riders have to be perpetuallyvigilant against danger. Motorcyclists argue that the lane lines providean easy “escape route” when an accident is imminent.
  • It prevents against overheating. Some older motorcycle models aren’t designed to stop for long periodsof time - and they can quickly overheat in traffic, especially whenthe weather is already warm.

In spite of the arguments provided by motorcyclists, an equal number ofpeople believe that lane splitting is risky, and that it increases therisk of accidents for drivers, especially at high speeds. The same UC Berkeley study found that it was difficult for California drivers to spot lane-splittingmotorcyclists, reducing their overall visibility on the road. It alsofound that lane-splitters who ride above 10 mph beyond traffic are ata greater risk, and that they may end up rear-ending other drivers morefrequently.

Assisting Injured Drivers and Motorcyclists in New York

No matter where you fall on the lane-splitting debate, it’s truethat this practice carries some unique risks - and it is still ultimatelyillegal in New York City, regardless of how congested the traffic maybecome. But even if you were engaging in lane-splitting at the time ofyour accident, you may not necessarily bear the brunt of the liability.

At Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC, our skilled injury team can providedecades of experience negotiating on insurance claims and representingour clients in court. If you need financial recovery for your injuries,give us a call to get your free consultation!

Call 203-661-6000 now to contact our legal team in Metro New York,Fairfield County, and Westchester County.

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