Lane splitting is a maneuver that happens when a motorcyclist travels in two lanes at the same time. Motorcyclists may sometimes attempt to lane-split when passing slower traffic or stopped vehicles. This is said to be a dangerous move and it is illegal in the state of Virginia and many other states. Motorcycles cannot pass between other vehicles or pass cars in the same lane. This maneuver can also be referred to as white lining, stripe lining, lane sharing, or filtering.
Because motorcycles are smaller and more agile than cars, many riders believe it is safer to lane-split than to stay in one lane of traffic at the risk of being hit from behind by a distracted driver. The topic is controversial and the only state to have legalized lane-splitting in the US is California. Lane-splitting may also position a motorcyclist in a passenger vehicle’s blind spot, increasing the chances of an accident, but every situation is unique and determining the safest option for motorcyclists doesn’t always come with a straightforward answer.
How Can Lane Splitting Affect My Accident Case?
Whether lane-splitting is safe or not remains to be seen, but what we do know is that if a motorcyclist is involved in an accident and it is determined that he or she was engaging in lane-splitting, the motorcyclist is less likely to receive compensation even if he or she sustained injuries. Because lane-splitting is not legal in Virginia, the motorcyclist may be assigned partial blame for the accident. If that happens, according to the state’s pure contributory negligence rule, the other party involved in the accident may not be required to compensate the motorcyclist for any damages.
Will I Be Determined Solely Responsible?
If a court determines that the motorcyclist was solely responsible for the crash, even if he or she was injured as a result, then the motorcyclist may have to cover for the other driver’s injuries and/or property damage costs. Regardless of the reason, many bikers still engage in lane-splitting, and other drivers need to exercise proper caution on roadways by checking their blind spots and avoiding distracted driving in order to make a minimum effort to prevent a crash.
The only time a motorcyclist is legally allowed to lane-split in Virginia is when sharing the lane with other bikers, riding side-by-side. This maneuver is safer than lane-splitting between passenger cars, and by riding in a group, bikers can become more visible to larger vehicles and be safer on the road.
Can an Attorney Help With My Accident Case if I Was Lane Splitting?
There is no definite answer, an every case is unique, but a case evaluation can provide all the answers you need. If you got into an accident on your motorbike while lane-splitting, or if you have been injured in an accident and believe a motorcyclist may be at fault, contact the Johnson Law Firm, PC for a case evaluation. We can help you gather enough evidence to build a strong claim and recover compensation for your injuries, pain, suffering, and material losses resulting from the accident. We serve the Gainesville and Woodbridge, VA communities and are ready to help you with your motorcycle accident claim.