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Can lane splitting lead to motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycles, often praised for their speed and maneuverability, are cited as an exhilarating mode of travel. Unfortunately, their smaller stature and the temptation of avoiding slow traffic has gotten many riders into dangerous situations resulting in severe injuries.

Lane splitting might seem like an attractive alternative to waiting in stop-and-go traffic patterns. Unfortunately, as yet, this maneuver is only legal in California – only in very specific circumstances. Riders in South Carolina are not legally permitted to lane split – which is the act of driving between vehicles along the painted lane divisions.

While little data exists on the safety of lane splitting, it is widely believed to be a dangerous move.

  • Vehicle drivers might not see you and attempt to merge or change lanes.
  • Riders can suffer even a slight loss of control and collide with the vehicles they are attempting to split.
  • Thermoplastic paint used to divide lanes might result in a difference in traction in wet conditions.
  • A rider who suddenly changes his mind about turning or exiting has very little room to maneuver safely.
  • Lane splitting can lead to anger, misunderstandings and road rage.

This last point is interesting in that it relies on the perceptions of the drivers affected by the lane splitting action. Many drivers feel the need to swerve away from a lane splitting motorcycle to avoid hitting the rider. This can cause a chain reaction among the other cars and lead to a vehicle collision. Some drivers become enraged by the rider’s actions and follow them to provoke a physical altercation. While it is important to remember that drivers of every vehicle on the road wants to quickly and safely arrive at his or her destination, it is important to take the steps necessary to ensure this happens.

If you were injured in a motorcycle collision, do not hesitate to discuss your case with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney.

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