With spring here and summer on the way, the weather is perfect for motorcycle rides. As a driver, you’re expected to be familiar with and obey all traffic laws, which can vary from state to state.
Lane splitting is a common motorcycle riding maneuver, but it’s not legal in every state. In fact, Florida Statute 316.209 specifically forbids the practice. Here’s what you need to know about lane splitting and why it’s important.
What is lane splitting?
Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle in between two lanes of stopped traffic. This is different from lane sharing, which occurs when two motorcycles ride side-by-side in the same lane. Lane sharing is legal in Florida, but lane splitting is not.
Florida lane splitting law
Motorcycle riders in Florida are “entitled to the full use of a lane,” and no other vehicles (except for another lane-sharing motorcycle) may be “driven in such manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane.” Lane splitting is illegal under 316.209(3), but motorcyclists should also note that they may not overtake and pass a vehicle in the same lane the vehicle is using, either.
What happens when a lane splitting motorcyclist causes an accident?
Violating this traffic law is considered a noncriminal moving violation, but if a motorcyclist causes an accident while lane splitting, they are considered negligent per se.
When someone causes an accident while violating the law, the fact of their violation creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence. Because drivers have a duty to obey all traffic laws, violating the law is a breach of that duty. All the plaintiff has to prove is that the defendant’s violation was the cause of the accident, and they suffered actual harm. Therefore, the consequences of lane splitting could be a lot more serious than a traffic ticket.
If you were injured as a result of a lane-splitting motorcyclist, reach out to a knowledgeable Sarasota, FL auto accident lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.