When a motorcyclist splits between rows of vehicles heading in the same direction, it is called lane splitting. This is most commonly seen on the highway. Motorcycle accidents and lane splitting is a subject of great debate in Washington and elsewhere. Proponents argue that legalizing lane splitting would relieve congestion and keep motorcyclists safe, whereas detractors argue that lane splitting benefits one motorist over another and introduces additional hazards to motorists. Regardless of which side you take, one thing is certain: motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Quick Law Group PLLC in Kirkland, WA, work on behalf of victims in these accidents.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Washington?
No. However, a significant push is underway to legalize it. A bill has been introduced in the state senate that would legalize lane splitting so long as motorcyclists do not exceed 25 miles per hour and do not travel more than 10 miles per hour faster than traffic.
What Are the Arguments for and Against Lane Splitting?
Advocates for the legalization of lane splitting argue that it protects motorcyclists in stop-and- go traffic. Because motorcyclists do not have the benefit of a steel cage to protect them, they are far more susceptible to serious injury at low speeds. Proponents also argue that lane splitting would relieve congestion. Opponents argue that lane splitting presents an additional danger for all vehicles. Further, they argue that it gives an unfair advantage to motorcyclists and can cause road rage incidents.
What Dangers Does Lane Splitting Present?
While the extent of the danger is a matter of heated debate, lane splitting unquestionably presents risks to some degree. For example:
- If a motorcyclist winds up in a driver’s blind spot, the driver may not know that they are approaching when beginning to change lanes. If the driver changes lanes at just the wrong time, the motorcyclist could slam into them from behind and potentially be thrown from the seat. Should a motorcyclist be ejected from the seat in a crash, he or she faces the possibility of being run over by another driver who does not have the space, time, or awareness necessary to react.
- A motorcyclist could be clipped by a car’s side view mirror. Considering cars rarely perfectly align between lanes and the path is rather narrow, this could occur.
Who Is at Fault?
Because it is illegal in Washington, chances are you will be held liable if you are a motorcyclist in a lane splitting accident. However, if your attorney can demonstrate that the other driver contributed to the accident in any way, it is feasible that you could be partially or even fully compensated for your injuries and property damage. For example, if the other driver was weaving recklessly in and out of traffic, changing lanes without signaling, talking on his or her cell phone, or eating, the driver could be held liable.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Contact the expert team of motorcycle accident lawyers at Quick Law Group, PLLC if you have been injured in an accident. To schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call (425) 576-8150 today.