Crossing the Line on Motorcycle Safety
Lane splitting may seem like an easy way to get through a traffic jam, but it is incredibly dangerous. Weaving through traffic by going between vehicles can get you ticketed. You could also end up seriously injured if someone doesn’t see you and changes lanes.
You could also be held at least partially liable for any injuries or damages caused by your lane splitting, so think twice!
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting refers to the act of moving a small vehicle between other cars or trucks stopped on a road. This is most commonly done using a bicycle or motorcycle and is considered a specific type of “filtering,” which refers to moving through traffic that is stopped. It is particularly dangerous since most motorists do not expect a person to just appear beside them.
Is It Illegal?
Lane splitting is illegal in Nebraska. Our laws prohibit the use of a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles. In the entire United States, California is the only state that currently allows any kind of lane splitting. Anywhere else, lane splitting on a bike or motorcycle will get you ticketed.
In other parts of the world, lane splitting is not only legal but very common and considered a reasonable act in navigating bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Nebraska and Contributory Negligence
The illegality of lane splitting is important, because Nebraska’s liability laws take into account something called “contributory negligence.” This means that an accident is viewed with regard to how negligent each person involved was. Any negligence can impact the liability of each person.
For example, let’s say a motorcyclist is stuck in traffic. He decides to proceed between vehicles and is struck by a drunk driver. While the intoxicated motorist is certainly negligent, the motorcyclist is also negligent because he was lane splitting. This means that both parties are partially liable, since both of them contributed to the accident. In Nebraska, the damages the biker could be awarded in a civil suit would be lowered by his or her percentage of contributory negligence, and if the biker’s contributory negligence is equal to or greater than the negligence of the other drivers, the biker will be totally barred from recovery.
After any Omaha motorcycle accident, call us at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234. Tell us about your situation, and together we can talk about your options. We can help!