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Is It Legal to Lane Split in Texas?

Posted On February 5, 2021 In Uncategorized

Lane splitting may not be a term that many non-motorcyclists are familiar with, but this is a popular practice in some areas throughout the country and here in Texas. If you have ever seen a motorcycle ride in between two lanes of traffic they are heading in the same direction, then you have seen a motorcyclist lane splitting. However, we want to discuss whether or not lane splitting is legal in Texas. Here, we will further define lane splitting, its dangers, and the legalities behind these actions.

What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is a controversial practice of motorcyclists traveling between two lanes of vehicles that are moving in the same direction. When lane splitting, the motorcyclist will travel between the vehicles while riding on the center dotted line. In many cases, motorcyclists do this when traffic is moving very slowly or stopped at a stoplight. There have long been advocates for motorcyclist lane splitting, and a study from U.C. Berkley actually indicates that lane splitting increases motorcyclist safety, and can reduce motorcycle accidents, by decreasing the chance that the cyclist will be rear-ended in stop and go traffic. The research indicates that lane splitting is generally safe when it happens in traffic moving slower than 50 mph so long as the motorcyclist does not operate 15 mph faster than surrounding traffic.

However, lane splitting is not legal in Texas. The only state where lane splitting for motorcyclists is permitted in the United States is California.

What Are the Penalties for Splitting Lanes in Texas?

Motorcyclists can be pulled over and ticketed for lane splitting in Texas. Motorcyclists who are stopped by law enforcement officials could face a citation and a fine of up to $175.

Additionally, it is crucial to understand that motorcyclists face other risks aside from possible citations and fines. Some of the potential hazards that motorcyclists face when they participate in lane splitting include:

  • Car doors opening
  • Hands or objects coming out of car windows
  • Vehicles turning unexpectedly
  • Vehicles changing lanes unexpectedly

Can Motorcyclists Ride Side by Side?

Yes, Texas law does allow two motorcyclists to share a lane when they are moving in the same direction. You will often hear this referred to as motorcyclists riding “two abreast.” In group rides, it is not uncommon to see many motorcyclists riding side by side in the same lane.

Motorcycle Accidents Affect Texans

Motorcyclists face significant risks on the roadways in and around Texas. Motorcyclists do not have the same level of protection that those inside vehicles do, and even a seemingly minor crash can result in severe injuries. Lane splitting accidents could result in severe injuries for a motorcyclist as well. It is not uncommon for a motorcycle crash in Texas to result in the following injuries for victims:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions
  • Open head wounds
  • Spinal cord trauma with paralysis
  • Other severe back and neck injury
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Lacerations and road rash
  • Significant scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional and psychological trauma

Injured motorcyclists may be entitled to various types of compensation in the event they are injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another driver on the roadway. This can include compensation for their medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.

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