Maybe you have seen it happen: Traffic has come to a stopped or slowed down due to congestion or accident and you spot a motorcyclist riding between two lanes of traffic.
The technical term for this act is often referred to as “lane splitting” or “white-lining.” In addition to Indiana declaring it illegal, lane splitting is an extremely dangerous act and a source of motorcycle accidents throughout the Hoosier state.
In fact, attorney Matt Boulton has investigated past instances of Indiana motorcyclists who were injured in an accident while attempting to lane split.
In one case, the motorcyclist was traveling between two lanes of traffic that had stopped due to an accident when a passenger in a car to the left of the biker opened their door, causing the motorcyclist to make contact and crash.
Unfortunately, the motorcyclist was injured and unable to file a personal injury claim due to being more than 50% at fault for lane splitting.
In another example, a motorcyclist was lane splitting on a crowded highway that was slowed due to congestion when a vehicle in front of him spotted a sudden opening in traffic and attempted to change lanes. Not expecting a motorcycle to be traveling between the two lanes, the driver of the car made contact with the motorcyclist, leading to a crash and injury.
As was the case above, the motorcyclist was unable to collect compensation for their injuries due to being more than 50% at fault for the accident.
When Might a Motorcyclist Attempt to Illegally Lane Split?
Illegal lane splitting is more likely to occur in traffic that has slowed or stopped, placing the motorcyclist and other drivers at a higher risk of being involved in an accident.
In some instances, motorcyclists may be unaware of the illegal and dangerous nature of lane splitting, thinking that it is ok to perform in stopped traffic, such as at a red light, or while waiting for an accident to clear.
However, our state’s law on lane splitting is very clear: Ind. Code 9-21-10-6, “a vehicle may not be driven or operated in a manner that deprives another vehicle of the full use of a traffic lane.” Lane splitting encroaches on the space of other drivers and denies not one, but two drivers, the ability to make full use of their lanes.
And while we are largely focusing on the illegal nature of lane splitting by a motorcyclist, it should be noted that Indiana law specifically refers to “a vehicle.”
In other words, drivers of a car or truck are equally capable of lane splitting if they attempt to slide into a motorcyclist’s lane and occupy the road space parallel to the motorcycle.
Boulton Law Group has handled a number of cases for injured motorcyclists who were struck by a vehicle that failed to yield the right of way to a biker, so please always be aware of motorcyclists and share the road appropriately when in their presence.
Dangers of Lane Splitting for Motorcyclists
Even while operating a motorcycle in a perfectly legal manner, it is fairly obvious why a motorcyclist faces enormous risk riding on Indiana’s roads:
- The motorcycle’s much smaller size.
- No enclosed barriers for protection.
It does not matter if the traffic is traveling at a slow speed or completely stopped, any automobile poses a serious threat to a motorcyclist that attempts to lane split.
In addition to the examples we discussed above, it should also be noted that motorcyclists riding in or near the center lane of a road will be in a car or truck’s blind spot, making the biker impossible to detect.
In the event that you are involved in a motorcycle accident as a result of lane splitting, we advise that you contact an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney to provide you with an independent review of the incident.
Injured in an Indiana Motorcycle Accident?
If you are an injured biker and unsure of your legal rights with regard to filing a personal injury claim, Matt can provide you with a free case evaluation to determine whether or not you have the right to seek financial compensation.
If an investigation determines that you are not more than 50% at fault for the accident, Indiana allows injured motorcyclists to attempt to recover for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
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Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.