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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 sitting in 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 shows that 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 lawyers are committed to getting to the bottom of every lane splitting accident case. Whether you’re a motorcyclist who has been unfairly blamed for an accident or a car driver injured because of a motorcycle rider, we can help you get the closure-and the financial recovery-that you need.

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

Is Lane Splitting Legal in NY?

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

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

Here are some of the other common reasons that motorcyclists decide to split 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 freeway less 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 perpetually vigilant against danger. Motorcyclists argue that the lane lines provide an easy “escape route” when an accident is imminent.
  • It prevents against overheating. Some older motorcycle models aren’t designed to stop for long periods of 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 of people 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-splitting motorcyclists, reducing their overall visibility on the road. It also found 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 true that this practice carries some unique risks - and it is still ultimately illegal in New York City, regardless of how congested the traffic may become. But even if you were engaging in lane-splitting at the time of your accident, you may not necessarily bear the brunt of the liability.

At Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC, our skilled injury team can provide decades of experience negotiating on insurance claims and representing our 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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