Lane splitting refers to the practice of riding a motorcycle on the dashed lines between lanes of traffic, usually traffic moving in the same direction that is slow or stopped. A study by the University of California Berkeley found that motorcyclists who split lanes in heavy traffic were significantly less likely to be struck from behind by other motorists and less likely to suffer head or torso injuries.
Opponents of lane splitting believe the practice will increase accidents and fatalities for motorcyclists because other drivers will not expect motorcyclists to ride between lanes. Proponents disagree and add that lane splitting could help ease traffic congestion in cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin.
Lane splitting motorcyclists are usually involved in accidents caused by drivers who were not aware of their surroundings while attempting to change lanes. Even at low speeds, these motorcycle accidents can still result in costly property damage and serious injuries.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Texas?
No, lane splitting is not legal in Texas.
Texas Transportation Code § 545.060 establishes that any driver on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic must stay within a single lane and can only move from the lane if it is safe to do so. This statute prohibits lane splitting, although the law may not be regularly enforced.
Lawmakers in Texas have tried multiple times (twice in 2005, and as recently as 2017) to pass laws legalizing lane splitting, but none have been enacted thus far. California is currently the only state in the nation where lane splitting is legal. Lane splitting is specifically prohibited in certain states and other jurisdictions.
Penalties For Lane Splitting in Texas
Because lane splitting is not authorized by state law, motorcyclists may be ticketed by officers. Citations may be issued for an unsafe lane change or illegal passing.
People who have been issued tickets for lane splitting in connection to accidents they sustained injuries in should not assume they will be unable to recover compensation. Victims should instead act quickly to seek legal representation.
Texas Motorcycle Laws
Motorcycle riders are required to wear a helmet in Texas, unless they meet specific exceptions. Riders are exempt from wearing a helmet if they are at least 21 years of age, have passed a Department of Public Safety-approved Motorcycle Operator Training Course, and have medical insurance coverage of at least $10,000. The state does not require riders to wear other safety clothing, although it is still a good idea to protect yourself with the proper footwear, gloves, and protective outerwear.
Like all vehicles in Texas, motorcycles must pass an annual safety inspection.
Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Ready To Help You
If you were hurt in an accident while lane splitting in Texas, don’t assume that you do not have the right to seek full and fair compensation from the responsible party. The circumstances surrounding every accident are unique, so make sure to contact an attorney who understands motorcycle accident claims in Texas and who can help you.
Tate Law Offices, P.C., represents clients in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and across the state of Texas. We have more than a 99% success rate with motorcycle accident claims, and we’re ready to help you. Schedule a free case evaluation with our motorcycle accident attorneys by calling us, filling out a contact form, or chatting with us live.