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Is Lane Splitting Legal in Florida?

Posted on October 15, 2019

Have you ever been in traffic and had a motorcycle ride right past you, in between your lane and the lane of traffic beside you? If so, you may have wondered if what you saw was legal. Lane splitting was first legalized in California, and many other states have considered making the practice legal. 

What is lane splitting?

Any time a motorcyclist rides the motorcycle in between two lanes of moving vehicles, they are lane splitting. This is not legal in the state of Florida. Despite it not being legal, advocates of lane splitting say that it keeps the motorcyclist safe because:

  • They will not be stuck in stop-and-go traffic with an increased risk of rear-end collisions. 
  • They do not have to stay near distracted or careless drivers.
  • They can get through traffic faster in poor weather. 
  • They can get out of the heat faster.
  • It can help reduce traffic congestion on busy roads. 

However, there are several ways that a motorcyclist can get injured while lane splitting:

  • Vehicle drivers do not expect a motorcyclist to lane split in the first place, increasing the change of them not paying attention when a cyclist is doing so.
  • A vehicle can change lanes and sideswipe a motorcyclist or cause the motorcyclist to rear-end them.  
  • Lane splitting usually requires the motorcyclist to drive faster than the vehicles around them, therefore increasing the risk of serious injury in a crash.
  • Drivers in passenger vehicles can open their doors into a lane-splitting driver, whether intentionally or unintentionally. 
  • Motorcyclists may not be able to find a way to exit traffic when they need to, leading to unnecessarily dangerous driving to find a way out. 

Florida motorcycle accident statistics

Florina citizens are no strangers to motorcycles. With more motorcycles than most other states in the country, drivers in Florida are used to dealing with bikes on the roadway. Florida is also home to some of the largest motorcycle rallies in the country, with many of them taking place in the Spring and Fall. 

During the latest reporting year, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles says that there was a total of 9,707 motorcycle crashes. Out of those, there were:

  • 515 total fatalities
  • 7,725 total injuries

A high percentage of motorcycle crashes result in an injury or fatality for the motorcycle rider. Some of the most common injuries we see in the aftermath of a motorcycle crash include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions
  • Severe road rash
  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding

These injuries can lead to tremendous medical expenses and lost income for the accident victim. However, motorcycle crashes can also cause serious injuries to those inside a passenger vehicle as well. Contact a Tampa car accident lawyer today for more information on car and motorcycle accident laws in Florida.

Is lane sharing something different?

Lane sharing is not the same as lane splitting. Motorcyclists may ride side-by-side together in the same lane in Florida. If riders wish to ride side-by-side, they need to understand that only two cyclists can do this at a time. Lane sharing allows motorcyclists who are riding together to communicate more easily with one another when they are driving down the roadway. However, motorcyclists who are lane sharing need to be aware that drivers may not see both of them and should still follow all traffic laws.