In the congested traffic on Texas roads and highways, many motorcycle riders want the freedom to engage in lane splitting. Lane splitting is the practice where a motorcyclist drives over the painted dotted lines on roadways to pass between slowed or stopped vehicles. Proponents of motorcycle lane splitting claim that it reduces rear-end collisions and traffic congestion. However, can motorcycle riders in Texas legally engage in lane splitting?
Is Lane Splitting by Motorcycle Riders Legal in Texas?
Motorcycle lane splitting is common in Europe, and California was the first state to legalize the practice. The Texas legislature is considering making Texas the second state to allow lane splitting, but to date, it is not legal in Texas. Legislation was introduced in December 2016, but a prior bill that was introduced a few years earlier did not pass. Under the new proposed legislation, it would be legal for a motorcycle rider to engage in lane splitting in these situations:
- Lane splitting would only be permitted on limited-access or controlled-access highways that are divided into two or more clearly marked lanes of traffic.
- The motorcycle rider who is lane splitting must be moving in the same direction of traffic as other vehicles.
- The motorcycle rider could not travel at more than five mph above the speed of vehicles around them and no faster than 25 mph.
- Lane splitting would only be allowed if traffic is moving at 20 mph or slower.
What Are Motorcycle Lane Splitting Safety Tips?
If the legislation passes and lane splitting becomes legal in Texas, it is important for motorcycle riders to do so safely to avoid a crash. These safety tips should be followed when lane splitting:
- Lane splitting should not be tried when surrounding traffic is moving at 30 mph or faster.
- Motorcycle riders should avoid lane splitting around wide vehicles, such as RVs and trucks.
- It is safer to engage in lane splitting in the left lanes of traffic to avoid exit and entrance ramps.
- When lane splitting, a motorcycle rider should not travel more than 10 mph faster than other drivers.
Even if you are a careful motorcycle rider and follow Texas’ traffic laws, you may be involved in an accident caused by a negligent driver. Hiring an experienced and trustworthy motorcycle accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. Call our office today to schedule your consultation to get your questions answered and to explore your legal options.