Lane splitting, also known as lane sharing, is when motorcycle riders drive between two lanes while traffic is stopped or moving slowly. While many motorcyclists use this technique to move forward in traffic, it is not legal to do so in Texas or any other state, with the exception of California.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident due to lane splitting, contact the Austin motorcycle accident lawyers at the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm for a free consultation.
What are Texas’s Lane Splitting Laws?
Lane splitting laws in Texas can be found under Section 545.060 of the Texas Transportation Code, which states that all drivers and motorcyclists must drive within a single lane. If a roadway is divided into two or more clearly marked lanes, motorcyclists may change lanes but may not drive between them.
Penalties for lane splitting in Texas include fines of $175 or more, citations for speeding, unsafe lane change, reckless driving, and following another vehicle too closely.
There were attempts to legalize lane splitting in Texas in 2016 and 2018 by former Texas Senator Kirk Watson. Both of his proposed bills died in committee.
Where is Lane Splitting Legal?
The only state to legalize lane splitting is California. In California, motorcycles may travel “between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane.” There are other states considering bills to allow similar lane-splitting legislation across the country.
Is There a Difference Between Lane Splitting, Lane Filtering, and Lane Sharing?
There is a difference between lane splitting, lane filtering, and lane sharing. These are as follows:
- Lane splitting is operating a motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane;
- Lane filtering permits a motorcyclist to move between two lanes to the front of traffic stopped at an intersection; and
- Lane sharing is when two motorcyclists ride side-by-side or staggered in the same lane.
The Pros and Cons of Lane Splitting
Whether or not lane splitting is safe is a hotly debated topic in Texas. Supporters of lane splitting argue it eases congestion and decreases the likelihood of rear-end collisions. Opponents of lane splitting argue that it is too risky and puts everyone on the road in danger of an accident.
Accidents Caused by Lane Splitting
Accidents caused by lane splitting are generally blamed on motorcyclist negligence. This is often due to other drivers being unaware that motorcyclists are passing between lanes of traffic. However, other motorists can be partially at fault for a lane-splitting accident.
A motorcyclist must show the following to avoid liability for an accident:
- The motorcyclist was carefully operating their motorcycle;
- There were no traffic violations committed around other vehicles;
- The motorcyclist was an experienced and licensed motorcyclist;
- The motorcyclist took and completed a motorcycle safety course; and
- The driver of the other vehicle was negligent or performed a traffic violation that was more dangerous than lane splitting.
Contact an Experienced Austin Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love were involved in a motorcycle accident caused by lane splitting or another motorist’s negligent or reckless behavior, you need a compassionate and experienced Austin motorcycle accident attorney on your side. At Villareal & Begum Law Firm, we are committed to holding negligent motorists accountable for the financial burdens their actions place on motorcyclists and their families.
If you need help paying for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to your accident, contact us today and learn about your legal rights and options. Your consultation is complimentary, and there are no legal fees until we win your case.