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Texas Motorcycle Laws: Is Lane-Splitting Legal?

By August 8, 2019Motorcycle Accidents

Riding a motorcycle is a great hobby. Unfortunately, it can also be a dangerous one. Many motorcycle accidents happen because motorists are not looking for motorcycles and do not give them any deference when they come across a bike on the road.

As a result, many motorcycle enthusiasts advocate lane splitting. However, lane splitting is not legal in Texas, which means you could get into legal trouble if you try it.

What is Lane Splitting?

Put simply, a biker is lane splitting when he or she drives between two lanes of traffic. Often, this can happen when traffic has slowed on a road. Other bikers lane split at an intersection, when they stop their bike in between two different vehicles.

What are the Benefits of Lane Splitting?

Advocates like to point out that there are benefits that accrue to both the public and the biker. For example:

  • Advocates claim that lane splitting can speed up the flow of traffic. More vehicles will be able to go through a green light, for example, if motorcyclists are lane splitting as they drive through the intersection.
  • Motorcyclists also emphasize that lane splitting can be safer for them, especially when stopped at a red light. They are vulnerable to getting rear ended by cars and other motor vehicles. When bikers split lanes, the cars they are in between serve as a buffer, minimizing the risks of getting hit.

Is Lane Splitting Legal?

Not in Texas. Currently, lane splitting is only legal in California. Other states have considered possibly making it legal, but it is not yet legal in Texas. So if you decide to lane split, you could be stopped by a police officer and given a ticket.

You also could face legal liability if you end up hitting someone while lane splitting. That means you would owe compensation to your victims.

Every few years, Texas legislators submit bills to make lane splitting legal. According to KVUE, they have all failed, though things might change in the future. Watch our blog for more updates.

What Are Arguments against Lane Splitting?

Not everyone is convinced that lane splitting is a good idea. First, they emphasize that lane splitting doesn’t really increase the flow of traffic because there aren’t enough motorcycles on the road in the first place to slow traffic down.

Critics also argue that lane splitting exposes a motorcyclist to other hazards. For example, a motorist might open a door in front of you, causing a crash. A motorist also could make a sudden movement that pins you in between two vehicles. Most drivers are not expecting a biker to be in between the lanes, so they could accidentally injure you.

Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

At DC Law, we have helped many motorcyclists receive compensation after a terrible accident. We are only a phone call away, 512-220-1800.

Depending on the circumstances, you might qualify for money to pay for your medical care, replace lost wages, and compensate you for your physical pain and emotional distress. Give us a call and schedule a free consultation to learn more.