Is Lane Splitting Legal in Texas?
For motorcyclists, getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic is more than just aggravating. It can end up being extremely dangerous. Stopping and starting a motorcycle over and over is more difficult than navigating traffic in a car, especially during extreme weather.
During these traffic situations, many motorcyclists use a technique known as “lane splitting” to prevent fatigue, increase safety, and reduce congestion. But is lane splitting legal in Texas? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle in between lanes of heavy traffic to reduce stops. While some drivers find lane splitting aggravating, motorcyclists use this technique to protect themselves and prevent the fatigue that often occurs from pushing their motorcycle forward manually in stop-and-go traffic.
Is Lane Splitting Allowed in Texas?
In Texas, lane splitting is currently not legal, though there is no law that specifically forbids it. Still, motorcyclists can be issued a small fine for lane splitting in the state.
Initiatives have been put forward several times since 2015 to permit lane splitting in Texas. If the legislation eventually passes, motorcyclists would still have to follow certain restrictions on speed while lane splitting to reduce the potential for accidents.
Where is Lane Splitting Legal?
Currently, legal lane splitting in the United States is limited to California, which passed a law in 2016 permitting the practice. Montana has also adopted a similar law, allowing motorcyclists to pass stopped vehicles in traffic at low speeds.
Other states have introduced laws that give motorcyclists more freedom to move around cars in heavy traffic, though these laws are quite different from lane splitting. Utah allows lane filtering, which allows motorcycles to move past stopped cars toward an intersection. In Hawaii, motorcyclists may pass stopped cars on the shoulder or white line, as long as they don’t exceed 10 mph while doing so.
More states are considering allowing lane splitting, and it might become an accepted practice eventually. For now, however, it is illegal in most states.
Is Lane Splitting Dangerous?
Lane splitting can have safety benefits, including reducing opportunities for motorcycles to get rear-ended, helping with traffic congestion, and reducing fatigue. However, it can also be quite dangerous, especially if a car changes lanes suddenly, with no warning. The debate on lane splitting continues as motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to collisions and poor driving conditions.
If you are ever injured in a motorcycle or car accident, it’s important to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your rights. For more information, call our San Antonio, TX law firm at (210) 953-7486 to discuss your case with our experienced personal injury attorney.