Lane splitting is not legal in Indiana. IC § 9-21-10-6 entitles drivers to the “full use of a traffic lane” they are legally occupying. While two motorcyclists can operate side-by-side in a single lane, the act of splitting lanes is against the law.
What Is Lane Splitting?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains that lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist travels “between lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars.” Other motorists, such as scooter riders, may also engage in lane splitting.
Why do Motorcyclists Split Lanes?
A motorcyclist may drive in between two lanes of traffic because:
- Their motorcycle may be narrow enough to fit between adjacent vehicles
- They believe that they can split lanes without causing a collision
- Lane splitting allows them to avoid traffic
- They experience an emotion, such as rage or frustration, that compels them to split lanes when they normally would not
- They derive some desirable emotion, such as exhilaration, from driving between other vehicles
Regardless of why a motorist chooses to split lanes, their decision to drive between vehicles is illegal.
Is Lane Splitting Dangerous?
Lane splitting may be dangerous to the motorcyclist, other motorists, and pedestrians near a roadway. When motorcyclists choose to split lanes, they bet that other motorists will act predictably, cautiously, and attentively – this is quite a gamble.
The danger lane splitting poses explains why the practice is illegal in Indiana. Lane splitting may result in an accident when:
The Motorcyclist Loses Control of Their Bike
Motorcyclists who split lanes willingly reduce their margin for error. When traveling in their own lane, a motorcyclist has ample room to operate. When they split lanes, the motorcyclists close to vehicles on either side of their bike. If the motorcyclist loses control of their bike, an accident is almost certain to occur.
Other Motorists Change Lanes
If a motorist changes lanes when a lane-splitting motorcyclist does not anticipate, the motorcyclist may strike the vehicle as it changes lanes. The motorcyclist may be liable for such a collision because lane splitting is illegal in Indiana.
A Motorist or Vehicle Passenger Opens Their Door
Whether or not doing so is technically legal, motorists and their passengers may open their doors when they are in stand-still traffic – to dump out a drink, retrieve an item in their trunk, or for any other reason.
While it may be reasonable for someone to check their mirrors and blind spots before opening a door, they may not do so. A lane-splitting motorcyclist may strike the open door of a vehicle, causing a collision.
Lane splitting may cause an accident under other specific circumstances. Even if a motorcyclist splits lanes without causing an accident, the act of lane splitting always has the potential to be dangerous.
Can You Collect Compensation After a Lane-Splitting Accident?
If another person’s negligence caused you harm, you might receive awards after a lane-splitting accident. Our firm can review your losses. Recoverable damages may include:
- Medical treatment: You may not have to pay for any medical care linked to another person’s negligence.
- Vehicle damage: As is often the case in motor vehicle accident cases, the liable party may be responsible for repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle.
- Pain and suffering: Negligent parties may pay their victims for pain, trauma, and other types of suffering. They may also pay the cost of treatment for pain and suffering.
- Lost wages: A financial recovery may replace any wages you lose because of injuries.
- Lost earning power: A settlement or judgment may replace the difference between your pre-accident earning power and post-accident earning power.
Lane splitting is one of the actions that can cause death in motorcycle accidents. The situation on the road could have been chaotic, or the accident might have been severe. You could recover wrongful death damages for the loss of a family member in such an accident.
How Will My Lawyer Prove the Other Party’s Negligence?
You may receive coverage of any other accident-related losses. We may establish your right to compensation by proving negligence. Someone is generally negligent if:
- They owe you a duty of care (all motorists and motorcyclists in Indiana owe this duty of care)
- They breach their duty of care
- The breach of duty of care caused or contributed to your lane-splitting accident
- We can prove your accident-related losses
Who Is Liable When Lane Splitting Leads to an Accident?
The motorcyclist who split lanes may generally be liable for a resulting accident. However, each accident is subject to unique considerations. For example, liability might be more complex if the motorist who a motorcycle struck was engaged in a negligent act, such as distracted driving or drunk driving.
Whether you are a motorist, motorcyclist, or another party affected by a lane-splitting accident, your motorcycle accident lawyer can explain whether you deserve compensation.
Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. About Your Lane-Splitting Case
Representing yourself after a lane-splitting consequence may jeopardize your recovery and fail to provide a positive case result. Our firm can fight for you. Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. today at 317-720-3229 for a FREE case review.
Lane splitting is illegal in our state. Our Indiana-based firm can help you through a difficult situation.