Motorcyclists have a few freedoms that other motorists don’t share on the road. Many bikers ride together in groups, and it’s not uncommon to see a few riding side-by-side, also known as lane sharing. Lane sharing and lane splitting are two frequently used tactics for motorcyclists, but are they legal?
Lane sharing is legal in Florida, while lane splitting is not. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations, and here we’ll explore the legality of riding side-by-side and other details of riding safely in Florida.
At Marsalisi Law, we’ve helped countless motorcycle accident victims recover damages after being hurt in St. Petersburg. We understand how devastating these accidents can be for bikers. Motorcyclists must always be careful on the roads. However, sometimes no matter how careful they may be, an accident happens due to the fault of another. Frank P. Marsalisi and his staff at Marsalisi Law are here to help those injured victims.
Lane Sharing According to Florida Law
Florida Statute 316.209(3)(4) defines strict regulations on where how and where motorcyclists can operate while riding on laned roadways. According to the statute:
“Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic – no person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles; Motorcycles shall not operate more than two abreast in a single lane.”
It’s worth mentioning that police officers and firefighters are not required to abide by these same laws and regulations. Any motorcyclists who violate this law can be issued a citation for a moving violation.
What is Lane Sharing?
Lane sharing is when motorcyclists share the same lane and ride side-by-side or in a staggered formation on the road. This is legal in Florida and most other states, but only for two bikers at a time. It’s illegal for three bikers to share a lane, and for a good reason. The average lane on the road is about 12 feet wide – which is enough room for two motorcyclists to ride safely and comfortably next to each other. It’s recommended that motorcyclists, especially less experienced ones, ride in a staggered formation rather than directly next to each other.
Many police officers in Florida ride motorcycles and often practice riding side-by-side when riding in a group. While that’s something police motor officers do almost every day, it’s not how the average citizen rides. The key is to ride where you’re most comfortable and never share a lane with more than one motorcyclist at a time.
What is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between lanes of traffic that are either stopped or moving slowly. Many motorcyclists will split lanes within areas of congestion to get through traffic or at a red light to get to the front.
In Florida, lane splitting is illegal. In fact, lane splitting is prohibited in all states except California. Lane splitting can be dangerous because so many people are driving their cars while distracted and are not on the lookout for motorcycles, especially between the lanes.
Lane splitting is also hazardous for motorcyclists because:
- They could be in a car’s blind spot;
- Drivers may not see them coming;
- Drivers may not indicate that they’re changing lanes.
If a driver doesn’t alert others on the road that they’re about to change lanes, they could hit a motorcyclist that’s lane splitting and cause a devastating accident.
Why Does Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law Matter?
Florida’s comparative negligence law means that if a person was partially responsible for causing an accident in which they got injured, the amount of compensation they can recover in a personal injury claim would be reduced by their percentage of fault.
This means that if an accident occurs when a motorcyclist is lane splitting or lane sharing with more than one other motorcyclist, they will likely be held at least partially accountable for the collision. Because of the comparative negligence law, motorcyclists who are considered 100% at fault for causing the accident will not be able to recover compensation for their injuries from another person. However, the motorcyclist may be able to recover if it can be proven that the other motorist was also at least some percent at fault for causing the accident.
For example, if the driver negligent in any way like was texting while driving, then they would also be responsible for causing the accident. In that case, with the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, the injured motorcyclist might be able to recover some compensation for any injuries.
Contact St. Pete’s Trusted Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible for help. With more than twelve years of experience, Frank P. Marsalisi of Marsalisi Law has helped injured motorcycle accident victims receive millions of dollars in damages for injuries caused by a wreck. Frank is a member of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association and knows what to expect from the other party when handling your injury case. Because personal attention is the hallmark of Marsalisi Law, if you’re too injured to meet at his law firm, he will come to you.
To schedule your free consultation and discuss your case with Frank, complete an online contact form or call today at (727) 800-5052.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.