Everyone wants to feel and be safe on the road. Everyone also wants to get to their destination promptly. When traffic is backed up, and you are in a hurry, it may be tempting to squeeze your motorcycle between two other vehicles to avoid the long wait of seemingly endless cars on the highway. This practice is called lane splitting.
Lane Splitting may Save Time, but is it Legal?
Not only is lane splitting illegal, it is also dangerous and aggravates other drivers. The only state that does not have explicit laws against lane splitting is California. Unless you find yourself diving in the Golden State, the practice is illegal.
Illinois statute 625 ILCS 5/11-703 prohibits two-wheeled motor vehicles, such as a motorcycle or scooter, from passing between two vehicles where one vehicle is directly to the right and one directly to the left, unless the two-wheeled motor vehicle can use an entire lane doing so.
This is possible when a highway has three or more lanes traveling in your direction. In essence, driving between two vehicles is legal only when you are passing through your own lane to do so.
What Risks are Associated with Lane Splitting?
When a motorcycle or other two-wheeled vehicle split a lane, risks increase in proportion to how fast the motorcycle is traveling compared to the general flow of traffic. For example, if traffic is stopped and a driver decides to open his door, a motorcycle splitting the lane will have difficulty avoiding a collision if he is traveling at a high rate of speed.
If traffic is moving slowly and a driver changes lanes, once again, a collision may be difficult to impossible to avoid if the motorcycle is splitting the lane at a high rate of speed.
Lane Splitting and Road Rage
When traffic is backed up, drivers commonly become annoyed. Drivers who see a motorcycle or other vehicle quickly approaching by driving between lanes may get angry.
It is common for angry drivers to pull to the edge of their lane to prevent lane splitting. If the vehicle splitting lanes is traveling too fast to stop in time, this may result in a collision.
Are there Consequences for Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting poses an obvious risk of injury to the driver of the two-wheeled vehicle and also to the drivers and passengers of the cars he is traveling between. In Illinois, a violation such as this is considered a Class A Misdemeanor if no accident with bodily harm occurs.
If an accident resulting in bodily harm does occur, the misdemeanor may be upgraded to a Class 3 Felony charge that may result in jail time.
To protect yourself legally and physically, refrain from lane splitting.
Have You been Injured in an Accident Involving Lane Splitting? Costa Ivone Injury Lawyers can Help
When you are involved in an accident, you need representation to make sure that you are protected in a lawsuit. You may also be entitled to monetary compensation if you are the victim of an injury that resulted from an accident involving lane splitting. Contact us today for competent representation so you can focus on getting your life back to normal following an accident.