Sean Lopez | April 14, 2023 | Florida Law
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Florida?
One of the many benefits of riding a motorcycle is the ability to maneuver around slow-moving or stopped traffic. Lane splitting is common in many parts of the world.
However, many states have laws that prohibit such “lane splitting.” If you were injured in an accident involving lane splitting, you might have questions about this practice, like: Is lane splitting legal in Florida? Why do people lane split? How can lane splitting affect my case?
Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys explains the law in Florida and how it might impact your motorcycle accident claim.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Different states and organizations define lane splitting in different ways. The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) defines lane splitting as “the practice of riding a motorcycle between clearly marked lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction.” The AMA also uses the term “filtering” to describe “riding a motorcycle between stopped motor vehicles to the front of the pact, typically at a signalized intersection.”
Florida law defines lane splitting as operating a motorcycle “between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.”
Why Do People Lane Split?
Some people choose to lane split because they want to save time and don’t want to be stopped in traffic. Their vehicles are small enough to move around slow-moving or stopped vehicles.
Additionally, lane splitting can sometimes be safer for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists are sometimes overlooked by other drivers. Lane splitting allows motorcyclists to get out of dangerous positions, such as being caught between congested traffic and away from potentially distracted drivers in congested areas. Most motorcycle accidents occur in congested areas, so lane splitting can be one way to avoid these situations. The Hurt study found that reducing a motorcycle’s exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can help reduce rear-end collisions.
Where Is Lane Splitting Legal?
The only state where lane splitting is technically legalized is California. Some states allow similar behaviors like filtering but not lane splitting, including Arizona, Montana, and Utah. Some states directly outlaw lane splitting, while others do not specifically address the issue.
Why Is Lane Splitting Legal in California?
California’s Vehicle Code specifically permits the practice of lane splitting, which it defines as “driving a motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane.” There is a lot of traffic in California, the weather is good, and there are many more motorcycle riders than in other states. Lane splitting can be effective at avoiding motorcycle accidents because motorcyclists aren’t pushed between two larger vehicles.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Florida?
No. Lane splitting is not legal in Florida. Florida law specifically prohibits the practice of lane splitting.
What Happens if I Lane Split and Get in an Accident?
If you lane split and are involved in an accident, the fact that you were breaking Florida law will likely be brought up. This does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to recover any compensation. Florida’s comparative fault law allows accident victims to recover compensation even if their own negligence contributed to the accident as long as they are not more than 50% at fault for the accident. However, their amount of compensation is reduced by their degree of fault.
For example, if you are involved in an accident in which you were lane splitting and the jury finds you 10% responsible for the accident but found the distracted driver 90% at fault for the accident, your compensation would be reduced by 10%. However, you would still be able to bring action against the at-fault driver.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can discuss how any lane splitting might affect your accident claim during a free consultation.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Law Firm – Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
Contact a St. Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyer at Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.
Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701