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The attorneys of Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence, & Starling

Is lane splitting legal in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents rarely end well for riders. Occasionally, one may walk away with only a few minor scrapes and bruises, but most often critical injuries occur. The state of North Carolina has created a motorcycle handbook addressing proper ways for a rider to share the road with other vehicles. Its purpose is to ensure the safety of not only the rider, but also other motorists. One of the safety issues addressed in that handbook is lane sharing, which also includes lane splitting.

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rider travels down the center line, in-between rows of stopped vehicles, or when a motorcycle passes a vehicle in the same lane. It is a very dangerous, and generally illegal activity. The state of North Carolina does not currently have a specific law which bans lane splitting, thought it is always discouraged. There are far too many factors that can quickly go wrong when the driver of a motor vehicle does not expect a motorcycle to appear so close. A door may be opened in front of the rider, an arm may be extended out a window, or a quick lane change may be made, just to name a few.

When a motorcycle accident occurs in which there is an accident investigation to determine who is at-fault, lane splitting will become a big factor in that determination. One of the safety measures most highlighted in the handbook is creating a “cushion of space.” In other words, advising motorcyclists to keep a safe distance from all motor vehicles on the road so as to ensure enough reaction and maneuver time, if needed.

Not all motorcycle accidents are a rider’s fault. However, it is of utmost importance that traffic laws be followed at all times in order to leave no room for error or fault. If you are a rider who has been falsely blamed for an accident, or if you are a driver who has been injured in a collision with a motorcycle, we are here to help. Discussing your case with an experienced attorney can shed light on which, if any, laws were broken and who may be to blame.