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Is Lane Splitting Legal In NY?

Lane splitting is a common maneuver among motorcycle riders, especially during rush hour or when there is a traffic jam. However, just because it is common, it does not mean that it is legal. In the state of New York, lane splitting is prohibited. Actually, most states in the country have laws that prohibit lane splitting. 

What is lane splitting?

The definition of lane splitting, also known as white lining or stripe riding, is the action of driving in the area between two lanes of traffic, where the white line is painted (hence the name). Normally, this technique is employed by motorcyclists, cyclists, and motor scooters riders. This maneuver is especially used when traffic is moving really slowly. This way motorcyclists can pass cars and other larger vehicles that are not moving. 

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Does lane-splitting cause more accidents?

Lane splitting has been a controversial topic for a long time. While some say that lane sharing makes riding a motorcycle in stopped traffic or traffic jams safer, there are others that do not agree.

Unfortunately, all studies that have been done throughout the years, do not really provide a clear answer to this question. For example, California was the first state to legalize lane splitting so it is often compared to other states that prohibit white lining.

When compared to other states such as Florida, it turns out that California has a lower amount of motorcycle rear-end collisions. According to a study that took place at the University of California, lane splitting is safer for motorcyclists than just sitting in traffic congestion. Nonetheless, one of the most important conditions to consider that lane splitting is safe, is that the motorcyclist must ride at slow speeds.

Most accidents caused by lane splitting are caused because motorcycle riders maneuver between cars too fast. It is clear that not all motorcyclists will be as careful as they should while lane splitting, therefore, thinking that whitening is safe is not exactly accurate.

There are many road hazards that can make lane splitting a very dangerous action. For example, something as simple as a driver adjusting their mirror or tossing something out the window can cause a motorcyclist who is lane splitting to get injured. Furthermore, because motorbikes are much smaller than cars, vehicles changing lanes are very likely to ignore the biker and collide with them.

Naturally, in this circumstance, the motorcyclist will be the one who suffers the most damage. While lane splitting may have some benefits, it is crucial to remember that not everyone drives flawlessly, which can lead to incidents in which motorcyclists can get badly injured. 

When it comes to lane splitting and filtering, what’s the difference?

Besides lane splitting, there are other maneuvers, very similar but that have some differences. There is another maneuver called lane filtering. The practice of riding a motorbike between clearly demarcated lanes for moving traffic heading in the same direction is known as “lane splitting.”

The practice of riding a motorbike between stopped automobiles to the front of the line, typically at a signalized crossroads, is referred to as “filtering”. Filtering is normally used to move between cars to get to traffic where all the other cars stop. This way the motorcyclist will be able to ride relatively quickly even when traffic is very dense because they will not have to make a line like the other cars for a long time. 

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May lane-splitting help save lives?

Lane splitting is said to be a riding practice that can help save the lives of motorcycle riders. According to a study, it is more dangerous for a motorcycle rider to sit in traffic during times of congestion. A motorcycle rider is more vulnerable to a rear-end collision than any other type of vehicle driver during a traffic jam.

Undoubtedly, if a truck driver rear-ends a motorcycle, the motorcyclist can suffer devastating injuries or even death. When a driver is riding a motorcycle between lanes, it is impossible for them to be struck by a larger vehicle from behind. 

Who is at fault for motorcycle splitting lanes?

Due to the fact that lane splitting is illegal in New York City, it is possible that the motorcyclist can be held responsible for a lane splitting accident totally or partially. In New York state, contributory negligence exists. This means that liability may be split unevenly between the different parties involved in an accident.

For example, if the car driver is deemed responsible for 70% of the accident and the motorcycle for the remaining 30%, the motorcyclist’s compensation will be reduced by 30%. Keep in mind that since the accident involved lane splitting, insurance companies will try to take advantage of this to try to pay as little as possible.

For that reason, it is crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury & motorcycle accident attorney. A personal injury attorney will negotiate with the insurance company to try to seek compensation for your injuries.

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What should I do if I’m involved in a lane-splitting accident?

If you are engaged in a lane-splitting accident, you must follow the same guidelines as if you were involved in any other form of accident. The first thing to do is to seek medical attention.

Motorcyclists can easily get injured, even if the car crash happened at low-speed limits. Therefore, ensuring the safety of all parties involved is extremely important.

Then, you need to gather evidence. Take photos and videos of everything. The attorney can use all the evidence you gather to negotiate with the insurance company for whatever reason necessary.

Contact and insurance information must also be exchanged with the other drivers. Remember to notify the police and your insurance company about the collision. A police record can be extremely valuable in the future. Notifying your insurance provider of the accident is far preferable to them learning about it later from someone else.

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Finally, contact a personal injury attorney

If you are unsure who to contact in the event of a lane splitting accident, please feel free to contact Greenberg & Stein P.C. Our personal injury attorneys can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our legal team has helped numerous clients that have been involved in all kinds of car accidents. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your case, call us at 212-681-2535.

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