Motorcycles and Lane Splitting in Texas
Riding is a great pleasure and a great convenience for many. Motorcyclists, however, are obviously more vulnerable to injury than motorists of larger vehicles whom they share the road with. Nevertheless, many Texas cyclists are advocating for legal lane splitting, which can help reduce sluggish traffic and diminish commute times. California was the first state to opt for legalized lane splitting, and Texas is considering doing the same.
Lane splitting refers to the motorcycle practice of sharing or splitting lanes with other vehicles when traffic is slow or stopped. When lane splitting, a motorcycle will ride over the dashed lane lines and pass between slower moving vehicles. Legal lane splitting allows motorcycles to drive in between the lanes of larger vehicles.
Lane Splitting in Texas
Texas law does not address lane splitting. In fact, Texas law views motorcycles in the same way that it views other motor vehicles, so lane splitting is obviously not permitted. Two bills are currently in front of Texas legislature – for the third time – that could change this restriction. Senate Bill 288 would allow lane splitting within very specific parameters:
- Only on limited-access or controlled-access highways that are clearly marked and divided into two or more lanes;
- Only when traffic congestion is in evidence;
- Only when driving in the same direction as traffic;
- Only when one’s driving speed doesn’t exceed traffic’s by more than five miles per hour; and
- Only when traffic is moving at 20 miles per hour or less.
Ultimately, the bill would allow motorcyclists engaged in lane splitting to drive no faster than 25 miles per hour.
The Jury’s Still Out
Advocates believe that lane splitting will help ease traffic and, thus, improve highway safety. Opponents believe that just the opposite is true and highlight the fact that motorcycles are already difficult to see and that larger vehicles pose a serious threat to motorcycles. The verdict on the safety lane splitting remains undetermined, but many who ride continue to clamor for its implementation.
Contact an Experienced Houston Motorcycle Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
Motorcycle accidents are often devastating, and at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, we understand how such an accident can adversely affect your life. Our knowledgeable legal team is here to help. We’ll begin by thoroughly evaluating your case, explaining your rights, and working closely with you through every step of the legal process. If you or your loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to call and discuss your case with a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer at 800-898-4877 today.