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What Is Lane Splitting?

Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on February 10, 2023

While motorcycle riding can be fun and exciting, riders must take special care on the road, as accidents are common. One of the ways motorcyclists can help prevent accidents is by avoiding lane splitting.

Understanding Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is a riding maneuver commonly performed by motorcycle riders. The term refers to the practice of riding along with white lines that split the lanes of a road. This maneuver is also commonly referred to as “white lining” and “stripe riding.” 

Motorcyclists often split lanes to move along quicker in traffic and avoid getting stuck. However, lane splitting can be dangerous and has the potential to result in serious accidents.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in New York?

New York law explicitly prohibits lane splitting. In New York, motorcycle riders cannot legally ride between lanes. For the purposes of this law, it doesn’t matter whether the line between lanes is dashed or solid. 

A primary reason lane splitting is outlawed in New York is the severe traffic in the city at any time of day. New York is known for its heavy congestion, which already causes frustration and increases the chances of collisions. When motorcyclists engage in lane splitting, they further increase the likelihood of an accident.

It’s worth noting that lane splitting isn’t the same as lane sharing. While the two terms are commonly used interchangeably, they denote very different maneuvers. Lane splitting refers to riding between motor vehicles, while lane sharing means riding a motorcycle alongside another motorcyclist.

Motorcycle laws in New York don’t prohibit lane sharing. However, only two riders may share a lane at once. Additionally, motorcyclists are allowed full use of a lane while riding on their own.

Risks Associated With Lane Splitting

Like many things in life, riding a motorcycle comes with certain risks. However, engaging in lane splitting can create a dangerous environment on the road for many reasons. 

Some of the reasons lane splitting is so dangerous include:

  • Drivers may make sudden lane changes
  • Commuters tend to drive aggressively in the city
  • The streets of New York are often narrow, making lane splitting more unsafe
  • Motorcycles are often invisible to larger vehicles like semi-trucks
  • Distracted driving is common, meaning a driver may not see a lane-splitting motorcycle

While many riders believe lane splitting can help them avoid accidents, generally speaking, that’s not the case. For these and many other reasons, New York believes lane splitting should be outlawed, and that’s unlikely to change in the future. 

Consequences of Lane Splitting

A motorcyclist may face legal consequences if they’re caught lane splitting. Motorcycle riders may be fined up to $450, sentenced to up to 15 days in jail, or penalized by having points added to their licenses, depending on the severity of the offense and number of convictions.

While motorcyclists can suffer many penalties under the law, accidents are typically the worst consequence. Motorcycle riders put not just themselves at risk but also others sharing the road. Collisions can result in particularly severe injuries with life-altering effects.

Motorcycle Accidents Can Still Happen Without Lane Splitting

With or without lane splitting, motorcycle accidents are still common, happening every day. If you experience a collision without engaging in lane splitting, you may have a valid motorcycle accident claim.

After a motorcycle collision, it’s best to discuss your situation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. A lawyer can provide valuable guidance and create a strong legal strategy to help get you the best possible outcome.

Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City motorcycle accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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