While lane-splitting is currently legal in California, the move to legalize it in other states could be on the horizon. But Florida law (State Uniform Traffic Control 316.209) makes it clear that, "The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken,” and “[n]o person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles."
In 2015, Florida's 550 motorcycle fatalities accounted for more than 10 percent of the nation's 4,837 motorcyclist deaths. Texas is the only other state in the nation to record more than 200 rider deaths per year.
Lane-Sharing Accidents in Palm Beach County
Bicyclists are at highest risk for these accidents in Florida, particularly at intersections. Special care must be taken around tractor-trailers, as wide turns can cause cyclists or motorcycle riders to be run over by the rear axles of a trailer. Safety advocates advise riders to never stop alongside such vehicles; the safest locations will be directly in front of or behind a tractor-trailer.
However, problems are most likely to arise in Florida when motorists crowd riders, by pulling alongside them at intersections, often with the intentions of making a right turn on red. Similar rules apply to cyclists, although dedicated bike lanes in Palm Beach are meant to provide a rider with a dedicated lane of travel, making it permissible to pull alongside traffic in such cases.
Lane-Splitting & Legal Liability in Florida Traffic Accidents
Those injured in lane-splitting collisions may in some cases still be entitled to collect damages. Florida law follows a comparative fault model, F.S. 768.81, which permits accident victims found partially at fault to still collect damages. A damage award will be reduced by proportioned blame.
However, an increasing number of motorcycle accidents are the fault of other motorists. Top causes include passenger vehicles that fail to yield the right of way by turning left in front of an oncoming rider and rear-end accidents at intersections. In the event of a crash, contact David J. Glatthorn.