If you are a motorist in the United States, it’s very likely that you have encountered some form of lane splitting while on the road. Despite being illegal in most states, lane splitting occurs more than one would think.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist drives in the space between two lanes in order to pass one or more vehicles. This may occur when traffic is backed up and requires other drivers to be more alert to their surroundings. However, this is not the only lane splicing maneuver motorcyclists perform on the road.

How Does Lane Splitting Differ from Lane Filtering?

Lane filtering is when a motorcyclist weaves in and out of slower traffic. When filtering, the motorcyclist will try to occupy the center of the chosen lane, only weaving in and out when traffic becomes stagnant.

Lane Sharing

Lane sharing occurs when two or more motorcyclists occupy the same lane in a horizontal formation. Unlike filtering, those engaging in lane sharing will stay in the same lane, which does not mean that the practice is without hazards.

Researchers at UC Berkely have found that lane filtering and sharing actually leave motorcyclists more vulnerable to being hit by cars from behind. 

While those engaging in lane splitting are less likely to be hit from behind than other motorcyclists, they are not immune to those who do not see them coming from behind.

The answer to whether lane splitting is legal or not depends on which state you live in. As of July 2022, only the State of California has legalized lane splitting. Following its example, the state of Utah legalized lane filtering. Additionally, six other states are currently considering legislation that would legalize lane splitting: 

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Oregon
  • Virginia
  • Washington

In regards to California, a study conducted by UC Berkely summarized data extracted from the California Enhanced Motorcycle Collision Data Project. 

It concluded that almost 20% of motorcycle accidents occurred as a result of a motorcyclist trying to split the lane. Those who got into an accident as a result of lane splitting were found to have less alcohol in their systems and were injured much less than their non-splitting counterparts.

Lane Splitting in Florida

Lane splitting remains against the law in the State of Florida. This year alone, the Sunshine State has seen 300 fatalities resulting from motorcycle crashes. In 2021, that number capped at 592. If you have been injured as a result of lane splitting, you may want to consult with a local attorney as soon as possible.

Lane Splitting Remains Controversial

Advocates for lane splitting claim that it reduces congestion and promotes driver awareness, while detractors say it is dangerous due to limitations on visibility. 

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that there have not been enough studies conducted to determine whether the practice is safe or not. Thus, lane splitting remains steeped in controversy.

No matter what your personal feelings on the matter may be, it is important to adhere to the local laws of the state you are driving in to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

Were you injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

Accidents can occur when one or more parties are operating outside the boundaries of the law. This is especially problematic when the majority of other drivers in a certain state are not used to a specific practice. When it comes to lane splitting and lane filtering, the risks seem to outweigh the benefits.

But if you do find yourself involved in a motorcycle accident – whether it was caused by lane splitting or not – reach out to an experienced attorney for help.

Contact the Tampa Motorcycle Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a Motorcycle Accident lawyer in Tampa. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442