What is Lane-Splitting?
According to JD Power, “lane-splitting for motorcycles refers to bikes which weave between traffic that’s moving in the same direction as they are.” Due to the narrow width of a motorcycle vs. a car, they can maneuver between traffic lanes while traffic has slowed or stopped, which can help them avoid accidents when done safely. You may have seen motorcycles squeeze in between cars or ride between vehicles when they have an opportunity; this is an example of lane-splitting.
Several states have considered laws regarding lane-splitting, so it’s important to know what Indiana deems safe and effective. While some see it as a safe and viable option, others feel that the maneuver leads to unsafe driving conditions.
According to the AMA, or the American Motorcyclist Association, after a thorough investigation, they have stated that “in full consideration of the risk and benefits of lane splitting, the Motorcycle Industry Council supports state laws that allow lane splitting under reasonable restrictions.”.
Is Lane-Splitting Legal in Indiana?
Lane-splitting is illegal in the state of Indiana, according to Indiana Code 9-21-10-6. There may be several reasons behind this decision by the state. One of the most important aspects to consider is safety. Safety for the motorcyclists and safety for the drivers around them.
Due to the sheer size of standard or commercial vehicles vs. a motorcycle, accidents that occur can result in devastating or deadly results. Especially if the rider isn’t wearing a helmet, their means of transportation don’t allow them added protection like a car’s structure would. Traumatic brain injuries are common with motorcycle accidents of this nature. One of the main complaints that you will hear riders make is that other drivers don’t see them. If a rider is attempting to lane-split and another car doesn’t expect them to be there, they may not know to look for them, which can easily lead to accidents.
What Aspects Are Reviewed When Determining Whether Lane-Splitting is Legal?
There are several different aspects to consider when determining whether lane-splitting should be legal in each state. One of which is safety, as we just discussed. Another important aspect is the carelessness that can occur should lane-splitting be legal. Riders can become reckless or careless when navigating traffic if they can weave in and out, creating safety concerns.
Knowledge – some riders assume that lane-splitting is legal and choose to utilize it in high-traffic areas. They may inadvertently be positioning themselves for fines or penalties if so.
Road rage – it’s essential to consider the possibility of road rage when considering lane-splitting from the rider or another driver on the road. Suppose you are a rider and choose to lane-split, which frustrates another driver. This illegal action may make road rage unsafe for any surrounding vehicles and the rider. On the contrary, suppose the rider has road rage and uses lane-splitting to illegally catch up to another car. These actions can create very unsafe conditions for all involved.
Efficiency – many riders will argue that lane-splitting allows for more efficient traffic flow and should be legal. While this may be logical to some, as of now, it is still illegal in Indiana.
What is Comparative Negligence and Why is it Important?
Indiana follows a comparative negligence rule if you have been in an accident. What this rule means is that multiple parties can be found at fault for the accident that occurred. Even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you may still be eligible to collect damages.
You may be eligible for damages if you are no more than 51% at fault for the accident. Thorough investigations must be done to determine what percentage of fault each party will have. Aspects like accident recreation, pictures of the damage or the scene of the accident, video surveillance, if available, eye witness statements, and more are all valuable to establish fault following an accident.
In relation to lane-splitting, if an accident occurred and the other driver was lane-splitting, their damages may be reduced or refused based on their percentage of fault for illegal lane-splitting.
Illegal Lane-Splitting and Personal Injury Claims
If you are guilty of lane-splitting, additional legal actions could be brought against you. This is due to the absence of the requirement to prove negligence if you were breaking the law. In most cases, negligence has to be a factor to have an effective personal injury claim. However, if a rider is lane-splitting because it is illegal, there just needs proof that it occurred rather than negligent actions.
Unless and until lane-splitting is legal, it’s in your best interest to avoid it for many reasons.
Aggressive and Tireless, Our Family of Lawyers if There When You Need it the Most
If you were involved in an accident where one of the parties was lane-splitting, it is imperative to seek legal guidance immediately. There may be options you haven’t yet thought of, which can drastically change the outcome of any damages being sought. With the importance of the comparative negligence policy, it’s even more imperative that accurate fault is established to ensure the best outcome for your situation. Don’t let inaccuracies lead to settling for less than you deserve.
With 80 years of combined experience, it’s safe to say we are competent and dedicated to our clients. With a thorough knowledge of important legal aspects, we can efficiently evaluate your case and formulate a strategy that can help to ensure success.
Call our office today at (812) 247-8416 to learn more about how we can help you.