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What is Lane Splitting?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Motorcycle Accidents


At first glance the news could seem good: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the number of motorcyclists injured between 2014 and 2015 decreased 3 percent (92,000 versus 88,000). However, further analysis reveals that fatalities increased significantly over this time period, jumping 8 percent (4,594 versus 4,976). More than ever, motorcyclists are vulnerable on the road and lane splitting puts them at even greater risk.

Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. has earned the reputation as Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers because we respect and protect the traveling rights of motorcyclists as much as car and truck drivers. We can help if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, so contact us at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.

Lane Splitting Defined

Anyone who has ever found themselves in bumper-to-bumper traffic has likely witnessed a motorcyclist zip past them by moving between cars gridlocked in two lanes. This practice of driving between automobiles in side-by-side lanes is known as lane splitting and it is illegal in the U.S. with the exception of California.

Why Lane Splitting is Dangerous

Motorcyclists traveling between cars put themselves in danger of being hit if a car or truck suddenly switches lanes without seeing the motorcyclist riding between them. The automobile driver could also open the vehicle’s door only to have a lane splitting motorcyclist crash into it and become severely injured.

The American Motorcyclist Association advocates lane splitting as a way to avoid an accident, suggesting that it reduces the likelihood that a distracted driver in congested traffic will hit a motorcyclist during stop-and-go traffic. Despite this argument, lane splitting is a bad and dangerous idea. Although it is a common practice in Europe and Asia, the U.S. recognizes lane splitting as a threat to everyone on the highway.

Lane Splitting in Illinois

State statute 625 ILCS 5/11-703 prohibits lane splitting by those on motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds. The law states that they may not pass two vehicles simultaneously on the right and the left, i.e., by lane splitting between them. Furthermore, they are only allowed to pass two vehicles simultaneously when traveling at least a three-lane highway in which they can make the pass using a full lane. Failure to obey this law can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge in the event of an accident with no injuries. But, an accident with injuries can result in a Class 3 felony and imprisonment.

Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. to Help

As a motorcyclist, you deserve to travel the open road as much as car and truck drivers, but it is necessary to be smart about doing so. Do not break the law by lane splitting and put yourself and other motorists at risk. Your case will prove challenging even if you are hurt and try to sue the driver of the car or truck because you failed to follow the rules. If this is the case, you could find yourself facing a countersuit.

Let Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. help if you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own. With our experience, you can take confidence knowing your case is being skillfully handled to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

Call us at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free initial appointment,

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900