Washington, D.C. Motorcycle Injury Attorneys Take a Look: What Are Your Rights if You are Involved in an Accident while Lane Splitting?

Riding a motorcycle has many advantages that many people recognize. Fuel economy and maneuverability (not to mention easier parking in a crowded city) are among top-cited reasons for switching from four wheels to two. In traffic jams, there may be an added bonus—lane splitting.

Lane Splitting and Washington, D.C. Motorcycle Accidents: Is It a Good Idea?

Most of us have been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and a complete stand-still, when we see a motorcycle slip between lanes of stopped traffic. We may have felt jealousy, shock, or pure annoyance, wondering whether it is safe or fair.

The fact is, lane splitting is a common practice among motorcyclists. The strange thing about it is that it is neither really legal nor illegal—in fact, the only state that expressly allows it is California. Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia never even mention lane splitting, which leaves a lot of room for police officers or judges to interpret the law as they see fit.

This makes a case that involves an accident that occurred during lane splitting especially complicated. While it is not illegal, it does bend the traditional rules of the road, and even California only legalized it under a “reasonable and prudent” restriction. This means that if the motorcyclist was going too fast (but what is too fast?), or dodging and weaving in between cars, that their injuries may be their own fault even though they were not breaking the law.

The Physical and Legal Dangers of Lane Splitting: Thoughts from a Bethesda Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Because of the speed differential between stopped cars and moving motorcycles, the limited maneuvering space, and the difficulty in spotting a moving vehicle in a nonstandard lane, not only do accidents happen often while lane splitting—they are also often considered to be the motorcyclist’s fault.

There are a few strong arguments that a skilled attorney may be able to argue convincingly on your behalf, however:

  • You, as the motorcyclist, were riding responsibly.
  • You are an experienced motorcycle rider and applied your experience and knowledge while riding.
  • The other driver acted negligently or dangerously, such as changing lanes quickly without signaling.

While it is a difficult position to prove, the right attorney will be sure to fight on your behalf if you feel as though you were not in the wrong. The D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia motorcycle accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins are standing by to talk to you about your case—call today at 202.296.0666 for a free consultation.

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