Lane sharing is the act of using an open portion of a traffic lane to pass slower traffic in the lane and, therefore, reduce the chances of congestion by “filtering forward.” Lane splitting, on the other hand, is the act of filtering forward by passing traffic between the lines of traffic that are separating the two lanes. While lane sharing is not specifically named in Illinois traffic laws and is, as a result, a presumptively legal practice in Illinois, lane splitting is not.
In fact, lane splitting, which is also referred to as whitelining, filtering or strip-riding, is illegal in most U.S. states with the only notable exception being California. Although some studies have purported that lane sharing and splitting is not only safe but also can reduce the incidence of rear-end collisions, many experts take issue with this contention, stating that lane sharing and splitting can be particularly risky for motorcyclists, as it puts them in the blind spots of drivers who may suddenly change lanes or make a turn.
Establishing Liability in Lane Sharing and Splitting Motorcycle Accidents
Because there is such a fine line between what is considered to be lane sharing versus lane splitting – and because lane splitting is illegal in Illinois, motorcycle accident cases involving this type of accident tend to rely on the specific actions of the vehicle driver and the motorcyclist immediately prior to the accident. Factors that can support a motorcyclist’s case can include proving that:
- The motorcyclist was obeying all traffic laws immediately prior to the accident and was not riding recklessly between cars.
- The motorcyclist has taken riding safety courses and is experienced at riding a motorcycle.
- The other driver involved in the accident failed to use his blinker when changing lanes, made an illegal maneuver with his vehicle or otherwise acted recklessly before the accident.
In these cases, witness statements can be particularly helpful in establishing both the motorcyclist’s and the other driver’s behaviors prior (and possibly during) the accident.
At the law firm of Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C., our experienced Mount Vernon motorcycle accident lawyers have been providing client-centered representation to our Southern Illinois clients since 1950. Our trusted attorneys focus on our clients’ needs, and we do everything we can to help them get the maximum possible compensation for their injuries so they can focus on recovery and moving on with their life. If you or a loved one has sustained any type of injury due to a motorcycle accident, contact us by calling (800)-553-3125 for a free, thorough assessment of your case, along with professional advice regarding the best manner in which to move forward.