You probably ride a motorcycle for more than one reason. For example, not only does your bike allow you to satisfy your craving for adventure, but it is also an effective way to get to your destination. If you regularly ride in traffic, though, you must realize lane splitting is probably a bad idea. As personal injury lawyers in O’Fallon, IL, we unfortunately see more than our share of motorcycle injuries.
In simple terms, lane splitting involves riding a motorcycle between rows of slow-moving or stopped traffic. Because your motorcycle is smaller than other vehicles on the road, lane splitting may seem harmless. The maneuver, nonetheless, carries with it some significant consequences.
A violation of state law
Illinois state law says that a motorcycle rider may not pass two vehicles simultaneously. That is, it is illegal to pass a vehicle on both your left and right sides. This provision effectively outlaws lane splitting. If you decide to ignore the law and split lanes anyway, you may face class A misdemeanor charges. If your actions cause an injury, however, you may be guilty of a class C felony.
An increased risk of harm
While some motorcycle enthusiasts believe that lane splitting is safe, others see it as hazardous. One thing is certain, though: If you ride your bike in a place where other motorists expect it not to be, you may have an increased risk of harm. Specifically, a driver may inadvertently collide with your bike if you suddenly appear to the side in the same lane.
An uphill battle for compensation
The Insurance Information Institute reports that motorcycle riders have a much higher likelihood of dying or sustaining a serious injury in a crash than their car-driving counterparts. While Illinois law generally allows injured individuals to pursue compensation for their injuries, lane splitting may complicate your case. That is, if your actions contributed to the crash, winning compensation may be an uphill battle.
While there is some debate about the risk of lane splitting, the practice is not acceptable in the Land of Lincoln. As such, you should probably obey the law and not split lanes. Nevertheless, by understanding the consequences of lane splitting, you can make an informed choice.