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Is Lane Splitting Legal in Texas?

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle crosses the painted dash lines in the road with the intention of passing between slow moving cars or trucks. But is it legal? Most states have lane splitting laws in place that aim to curb this behavior. However, California – and now maybe Texas – have laws in place that allow motorcycles to split lanes. Texas Senate Bill 228 was introduced on December 9, 2016, and, if passed would give motorcyclists the green light to ride between lanes of traffic. This is a serious proposal, as Texas highways are already amongst the most dangerous in the nation. Those in support of the bill say lane splitting may help reduce how congested Texas highways are, however, safety is a top concern.

Texas May Join California in Allowing Lane Splitting

Lane splitting has been a legally-ambiguous practice in California [1] and throughout the rest of the states up until it was legalized in 2016. Motorists and motorcycle drivers alike are unsure about whether or not this action is legal. Lane splitting is quite common in Europe, where motorcycles can often be seen weaving their way to the front at intersections and lights. Motorcycles also ride between lanes of traffic and can be seen navigating around vehicles in crowded European cities.

So, will this soon become the norm in the United States? Those who are in support of the bill claim the practice of lane-splitting helps reduce traffic congestion and is much safer than people realize. Furthermore, advocates say that motorcycles can be damaged by long periods of slow moving in traffic in the hot Texas heat, and allowing lane splitting would not only be better for the bikes but would lower the risk of riders suffering from dehydration and heat stroke.

Texas Legislature Addresses Lane Splitting Bill

Texas legislature was slated to look into the lane splitting bill [2] during their May 29th summit. We’ve yet to hear a verdict on which direction they are leaning, but we will be sure to update you as we do. According to a study published by the University of California – Berkeley, motorcyclists who split lanes in heavy traffic are less likely to be struck from behind by other motorists. The study also found that lane splitting lowers the risk of riders suffering head or torso injuries. These findings are just a couple of the reasons why California decided to allow it, and why Texas may soon do the same. The number of motorcycle accidents and injuries that take place in heavy traffic situations are staggering, and the idea is that by allowing motorcycles to weave in and out of slow traffic, they will be lessening their chance of being hit from behind by distracted drivers.

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Texas, please contact Shamieh Law today. Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers understand what you are going through and will be able to advise you on what your rights are. If the state does pass lane splitting laws, it is imperative both motorists and riders understand and respect the news. Please contact us today to discuss your Texas motorcycle accident case with one of our attorneys.

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