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Don’t Split Hairs When it Comes to the Rules: Lane Splitting on a Motorcycle Is Illegal in Florida—and Downright Dangerous

When you are trying to sell your friends on the idea of owning a motorcycle, what do you typically say? Many people tout the benefits of fuel economy and easier parking. Others talk about the sense of community they get when they ride with their friends. Most people just say that having a motorcycle is fun, and really, who could argue with that?

Some motorcyclists will say that one of the primary benefits of riding a motorcycle is that it is easier to get through traffic because they can keep moving by driving between the lanes of stopped cars—even when traffic is at a standstill. This is called lane splitting, and while it may seem convenient, it is very dangerous—and it is also very illegal here in Florida.

Don't Stack the Odds Against Yourself

Despite the fact that lane splitting is illegal, it is not uncommon to see a motorcycle inching its way up in a line of traffic by riding between the lanes. In fact, some advocacy groups argue that lane splitting is safer for motorcyclists because they are less likely to be rear-ended, and they are more visible to cars.

California is the only state that allows lane splitting, but it has very stringent rules that say a motorcycle can travel no more than 10 miles per hour faster than the vehicles around it. In addition, the rules encourage motorcyclists to avoid lane splitting if traffic is moving at more than 30 miles per hour. While fewer motorcyclists die in rear-end collisions in California than in Florida, lane splitting still adds an unnecessary element of risk to your ride at the savings of a few minutes in traffic.

Picture yourself behind the wheel of your car in a traffic jam. You are trying to move into the lane beside you, and you have your eyes on your mirrors to time your merge. Traffic is moving between five to ten miles per hour, and you spot your chance to move—when suddenly, a motorcycle appears out of the space between the lanes.

If you are a motorcyclist, you know that the key to your safety is being predictable in traffic. Most drivers want to look out for you and avoid you, but when traffic is behaving uniformly and you are not, you have stacked the odds against yourself.

Follow the Rules and Stay Safe

As the weather turns to perfect riding conditions here in Florida and you hit the road with your motorcycle, do not take chances with your safety. Follow the laws and ride predictably—it could save your life.

Do you have friends who will be taking their bikes out for the winter? Keep your pals safe this season; share this article via Facebook and spread the word that lane splitting is dangerous and illegal.

 


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney