Lane splitting, while often viewed as unsafe by other drivers, is a maneuver that can help motorcycle drivers avoid rear-end crashes caused by sudden traffic backups. Being in bumper-to-bumper traffic is more dangerous for motorcyclists than those in standard vehicles, so evading traffic is one way motorcyclists can protect themselves.
As a motorcyclist, you should know what New Jersey law says about lane splitting and what you should do if you’re involved in a lane splitting accident.
What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is a driving strategy that utilizes a motorcycle’s narrow width to navigate traffic more efficiently. It’s also known as white-lining or lane-sharing. A driver can ride the dotted white line to move between lanes of traffic. It’s typically not recommended for motorcyclists to use this strategy for long periods of time. Where lane splitting is legal, drivers should use it to get through traffic and promptly return to a clearly-marked lane.
One reason that lane splitting isn’t legal in many places is the inherent risk posed to motorcyclists. Drivers are notoriously unaware of motorcyclists in their vicinity, and a driver switching lanes may not expect to see a motorcyclist on the white line. This can lead to accidents that seriously injure or kill motorcyclists.
What New Jersey Law Says
Lane splitting is only explicitly allowed in the state of California. Some other states have laws that prohibit lane splitting. New Jersey law does not directly address lane splitting, but lane splitting is not authorized in this state. Motorcyclists who split lanes can be cited for failure to keep right.
What to Do After a Lane Splitting Accident
Since lane splitting is not authorized in New Jersey, motorcyclists often have difficulty seeking compensation after an accident. This is true whether or not the motorcyclist is actually responsible for the accident. In many cases, a motorcyclist riding on the white line isn’t the responsible party. Drivers are expected to check their blind spot and ensure that it is safe to change lanes before making the shift, but many drivers fail to take proper precautions.
Even when the other driver is at fault for the accident, the motorcyclist may be cited and be held liable by their insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company.
After an accident, gathering the proper evidence is crucial. The first step is to call the police and report the accident. If you’re not seriously injured, make sure to take pictures of the crash, gather contact information for nearby witnesses, and swap contact and insurance information with the other party. The pictures you take and the witnesses you talk to can be invaluable during a personal injury case.
If the other party is found liable for the accident or you believe you’ve been unfairly blamed simply because you were lane splitting, a motorcycle accident attorney can build a strong defense and try to demonstrate that the other party was negligent while driving.
Contact Us If You’ve Been Injured in a Lane Splitting Accident
A lane splitting accident can be costly, leading to extensive medical bills, lost income, property damage, and more. If you or someone you love has been involved in a lane splitting accident in Vineland, New Jersey, contact Rosner Law Offices, P.C. at (856) 692-6500.