Motorcycles are unique vehicles with abilities that aren’t afforded to regular passenger vehicles. With only two wheels, they are smaller and able to move more quickly into spaces that other motor vehicles can’t. One example of this is lane splitting. Motorcycles, being smaller than other vehicles on the road, can move between lanes of traffic. This is called lane splitting and is legal in some states when traffic stops or moves slowly.
However, lane splitting is not legal in Indiana. Under IC § 9-21-10-6, drivers on Indiana roads are entitled to the “full use of a traffic lane” they are legally occupying. While it’s legal for two motorcyclists to operate side-by-side in one lane, splitting lanes is against the law.
If you or someone you love was involved in a lane splitting accident in Indiana, it’s essential that you contact a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney for help as soon as possible.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines lane splitting as when a motorcyclist travels “between lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars.” Scooter riders and some other motorists may also practice lane splitting, which is legal in some states but not in Indiana.
Motorcyclists split lanes for a variety of reasons, which can include the following:
However, no matter the reason for a motorcyclist splitting lanes, their decision to drive between vehicles is illegal.
Lane splitting presents potentially dangerous situations to the motorcyclist, other motorists, and pedestrians on or near the road. When riders decide to split lanes, they count on other motorists to act predictably, cautiously, and attentively. Unfortunately, operating under this assumption comes with many risks.
Lane splitting is illegal in Indiana due to these risks. For example, it can cause a motorcycle accident when and if:
Suppose another motorist switches lanes without the lane-splitting motorcyclist anticipating it. In that case, the motorcyclist may collide with the vehicle while it’s changing lanes.
Bikers reduce their margin for error when they decide to split lanes. They have plenty of room when traveling only in their own traffic lane. However, when they split lanes, the motorcyclist is exceptionally close to vehicles on both of their sides. If they lose control of their bike, the risk of an accident is extreme.
Legal or not, other motorists and their passengers sometimes open their doors when they are in stand-still traffic.
It’s always reasonable for someone inside a vehicle to check their mirrors and blind spots before opening a door, but unfortunately, they don’t always do so. A lane-splitting motorcyclist may hit the open door of a vehicle, causing a severe accident.
Suppose another party’s negligence caused you harm. In that case, you might be able to receive compensation for your damages after a lane-splitting accident. Our experienced Indiana motorcycle accident lawyers can review the details of your accident and injuries to determine what you might be entitled to recover. Your recoverable damages after a lane-splitting accident may include the following:
The motorcyclist who splits lanes may be liable for a resulting accident. However, each motorcycle accident has its unique circumstances. For instance, liability is often more complex if the other motorist involved in the accident was negligent, such as distracted driving or drunk driving. Whether you are a motorist, motorcyclist, or another party impacted by a lane-splitting collision, your Indiana motorcycle accident attorney can explain whether you might deserve compensation for your damages. If so, they can help you pursue them.
At Blackburn Romey, we know how devastating motor vehicle accidents can be. Our accident attorneys are happy to provide no-obligation case consultations to those injured in motorcycle accidents or their family members. Call us at 833.264.0903 or use our online contact form today to learn more about how we can help.