Lane splitting by motorcycles is a common occurrence. How often have you sat in traffic and watched a motorcycle effortlessly weave through the cars wishing you were in the rider’s position? They can keep going even when everyone else stops. On the flip side, have you also asked yourself, “Is it legal to lane split in Texas?” This article will go through lane splitting, discuss lane splitting laws in Texas, and the implications these laws have on motorcycle accidents.
What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is when motorcycle riders ride on the white line between two lanes. Motorcycle riders do this in slow-moving traffic that has not come to a complete stop. It allows the motorcycle rider to avoid any delays and get ahead of other motorists. The practice also allows motorcycle riders to avoid being rear-ended by a vehicle that does not stop in time when traffic is slow-moving.
What is the Difference Between Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering?
Lane filtering is similar to lane splitting but occurs when traffic is at a standstill. This occurs when motorcycle riders move between cars in a traffic jam or cars that are stationary (for example, stopped at a red light). Motorcycle riders see lane filtering as being one of the largest benefits of riding a motorcycle, as they don’t get stuck when other vehicles do — but what are the legalities surrounding lane filtering in Texas and other states?
Texas Lane Splitting Law 2022
There is no specific law about Texas motorcycle lane splitting. However, a draft bill submitted in 2019 spoke about lane splitting and motorcycles specifically. The bill was never passed and nothing has been done since then, so it’s still considered something of a legal gray area.
Texas transportation code introduced in 2015 makes it clear that all vehicles must drive within a single lane. So if you’re wondering if you can lane split in Texas in 2022, the answer is no. While there may be proposed changes in the works, the existing transportation code still stands until another is officially introduced regarding the matter.
Is Lane Splitting Illegal in Texas?
Yes, lane splitting is illegal in Texas. No matter how common it is to see motorcycle riders lane splitting or lane filtering, it is illegal to do so. In fact, California is the only state where you can legally do this.
Lane Splitting Implications
Texas motorcycle lane splitting can cause problems when it comes to legal implications. As lane splitting is illegal in Texas, it could impact any claims you make after an accident or even result in traffic fines if pulled over. Let’s examine the risks in greater detail.
If a highway patrolman pulls you over after witnessing you lane splitting, you could face a hefty traffic fine. Your traffic infraction will determine how much you have to pay. Some motorcycle riders even drive on the shoulder, resulting in a higher penalty.
Lane splitting may reduce your chances of being rear-ended, but it does not eliminate the possibility of an accident altogether. You can still get into an accident if a car driver moves suddenly. If this does occur, the fact that you were splitting lanes becomes a problem.
Firstly, Texas is a comparative negligence state. This means that the state determines the fault of everyone in the accident. Lane splitting may be seen as an unsafe driving practice and put you above 50% fault. This will negate any claim that you try to make in the accident. Secondly, even if your fault percentage is below 50%, lane splitting may decrease any compensation you receive. Partaking in lane splitting puts you at risk of implicating yourself.
Motorcycle riders and their lawyers must find evidence that the driver shares some of the fault. They could have been texting, not signaling that they were changing lanes, or simply distracted. Whatever the reason, you have to prove this before trying to make a claim.
This is one of the main reasons why you should hire a Dallas motorcycle accident lawyer to help if you have been in an accident. Motorcycle riders often suffer severe injuries even if they are in slow-moving traffic. It is a consequence of riding a motorcycle and being less protected than a person in a car. They also fall into a driver’s blind spot, which is why accidents can occur easily.
The team at Angel Reyes & Associates has decades of experience in Texas road law, including motorcycle accidents. Our lawyers understand the nuance and intricacies of these complex cases, as well as the rights of motorcyclists on the road. We will always fight for victims to receive the full compensation they deserve.
You may wonder: is lane filtering illegal in Texas? The answer is yes. Lane splitting is only permitted in the state of California. Several other states have specific concessions where lane splitting or lane filtering is legal. For example, lane splitting in Hawaii is illegal because of narrow roads, but motorcycle riders can pass on the shoulder lane if traffic is at a standstill. Likewise, in Utah, the state allows lane filtering but not lane splitting. There are also several states, like Texas, where there are bills submitted regarding lane-splitting laws that are awaiting consideration.
The answer to this question comes largely from a study by UC Berkeley in 2015. The study states that splitting lanes resulted in fewer accidents involving motorcycle riders. This is because the motorcycle is not left vulnerable to being rear-ended by cars that do not stop in time when traffic slows down or comes to a halt. However, motorcycles can still get into accidents when lane splitting, resulting in injuries even if the motorcycle travels at low speeds.
Well, that depends on the details of the accident. When lane splitting, motorcycles end up in a car's blind spot. This is why lane splitting is dangerous and illegal in Texas. However, if you can prove that the driver shares some fault in the accident, you may be able to get some compensation. If you cannot prove that the car driver has a fault in the accident, then you cannot claim as you will be seen as the main reason for the collision.
Key Findings on Lane Splitting in Texas
So, in summary, can motorcycles split lanes in Texas? No, they can’t. It’s hard to believe that lane splitting in Texas is illegal when motorcycle riders always do it. Regardless of its commonality, lane splitting is unsafe and illegal — and lane splitting without knowing the implications can be dangerous. Even when traveling at low speeds, motorcycle accidents can result in severe injuries. This is why it is best that you refrain from lane splitting and secure the services of one of our motorcycle accident lawyers with the experience to help you get the compensation you deserve.Angel Reyes & Associates has more than 30 years of experience dealing with motorcycle accident cases of varying severity — from simple knocks to the most devastating wrecks. Our team of experienced, trusted lawyers know Texas road rules and legislation inside out, and are able to secure the best outcomes for our clients. Get in touch with us today for more information and a free, no obligation case assessment.