Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | February 16, 2022 | Motorcycle Accidents
For many people, commuting on a bicycle or motorcycle (rather than a standard car) is a no-brainer. It’s cheaper, healthier, and arguably more fun as well.
Because bikes and motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles on the road, it’s easier for riders to maneuver in and out of traffic. This works out great for the rider because it allows them to reach their destination faster. So if you’ve been complaining about your long commute, it may be time to switch to a smaller vehicle.
Some riders choose to split lanes as they are riding in congested traffic. Keep in mind that lane splitting is actually a controversial move. Many people loathe it, and you may face aggressive drivers if you choose to lane split. What’s more, it’s not legal in many places.
To learn more about lane splitting and whether you should do it, keep reading.
Is Lane Splitting Safe for Motorcycle Riders?
Needless to say, lane splitting is a very appealing maneuver for riders of bikes and motorcycles. But is it a safe thing to do? It depends on who you ask. Here are the arguments for and against lane splitting.
Arguments in Favor of Lane Splitting
According to some, lane splitting is a perfectly safe maneuver. It may even increase rider safety in some situations. A study from 2013 found that lane splitting can be safe when traffic is moving 50 miles per hour or less. Lane splitting also seems to reduce the risk of head injuries and rear-end collisions.
This kind of information might lead one to conclude that lane splitting is a perfectly safe maneuver that should be legalized across the board. But the truth is not so black and white.
Arguments Against Lane Splitting
One argument against lane splitting is that when more motorcyclists lane split, less respect is given to their space on the road. After all, if a motorcycle feels free to cut in front of other drivers, why would the other driver not feel entitled to do the same?
In New York City, the dangers of lane splitting are especially obvious. Because the lanes are notoriously narrow, there is even less of a buffer between vehicles. Plus, heavy traffic and aggressive driving further increase the risks.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in New York State?
You can draw your own conclusions about the safety of lane splitting. But the real question is this: Is lane splitting legal in New York?
No, the maneuver is not legal in the state. Here is what New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law 1252 says about the matter:
- Motorcycle riders cannot overtake or pass vehicles that occupy the same lane
- Motorcycle riders cannot travel outside of marked lanes or between rows of cars
- Motorcycle riders cannot operate their vehicle on a sidewalk unless accessing a parking lot or driveway
Now you know that lane splitting is illegal in any form in the state of New York. So what happens when you get caught splitting lanes?
Getting a ticket for lane splitting can cost you time and money. If you are cited for lane splitting, you can face penalties, surcharges, and even jail time. And the cost goes up with each ticket.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Any time you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you should call your attorney. This is especially true with an accident involving lane splitting. An attorney who understands New York law can inform you of your rights and walk your options for recovering compensation.