April 12, 2022 | Oklahoma Law
If you ride a motorcycle, any precautions you can take to keep yourself safe on the road are wise. Because motorcycles provide less protection than cars, they leave riders much more vulnerable during accidents.
To keep themselves safe, motorcyclists will sometimes maneuver through traffic in ways that seem dangerous to other drivers. Usually, these actions, like lane splitting, help the motorcycle rider avoid getting into accidents with cars. But they do not always have that result. Read on to find out whether lane splitting is legal in Oklahoma.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is when a motorcycle rider moves between stopped or slowed traffic lanes. “White lining” is another term for lane splitting based on the way motorcyclists will travel on the white centerline of the road between rows of cars.
Motorcycle riders usually split lanes to get around traffic or avoid being rear-ended by a car. When traffic is stop-and-go, motorcycle riders are at a greater risk of getting hit by another vehicle. To a motorcyclist, lane splitting appears to be a safer alternative than keeping up with slow-moving traffic. Motorcyclists also lane split to save time, as they can bypass traffic when lane splitting.
Is Lane Splitting Legal?
Lane splitting is preferred by many motorcycle riders to prevent car accidents or to save time. However, lane splitting is illegal in Oklahoma. This illegality is the norm throughout the country, as almost every state has some kind of law against lane splitting.
The nature of lane splitting makes it difficult for other cars to keep track of motorcycles. Modern lane-splitting laws have been implemented to avoid the risks associated with motorcyclists riding between traffic lanes, including reducing accidents. Lane splitting accidents can be more dangerous as they are more likely to involve multiple vehicles.
Oklahoma Lane Splitting Laws
In Oklahoma, lane splitting is defined as a cyclist (on a motorcycle, scooter, or another bike) passing a vehicle in the same lane of traffic. According to Okla. Stat. § 47-11-1103, lane splitting is only allowed for emergency purposes, such as for police or other emergency responders.
Consequences of Lane Splitting
The number one priority for motorcycle riders is always safety. Lane splitting seems like a good idea because it can keep you from getting hit by a car in heavy traffic situations. As stated, lane splitting can also save the motorcycle rider time.
However, lane splitting can result in other kinds of accidents. If you lane split when riding a motorcycle, it is possible for you to hit another vehicle. You could crash into a car if you’re passing too quickly. You also might side-swipe another car if you pass down the center lane too closely.
A lane-splitting motorcyclist can also cause an accident between two cars without actually being involved in the accident. To avoid colliding with the cyclist, a driver might accidentally hit another vehicle. In a stop-and-go traffic situation, this could quickly create a multi-car pile-up.
Who Is at Fault for Lane-Splitting Accidents?
Lane splitting can cause accidents to occur in many ways, creating confusion as to who is really at fault. Because Oklahoma has a modified comparative fault system, multiple parties to an accident can be considered at fault depending on the facts of the case.
In lane splitting accidents, a court will look at each party’s involvement in the accident. If you are found more than 50 percent at fault for an accident, you cannot receive compensation. However, if you are found 20 percent at fault, you are still eligible to have 80 percent of your claim paid.
For example, if a driver does not allow a motorcyclist to use the full lane and an accident occurs, the driver could be found fully liable if the motorcyclist is injured. In this case, the at-fault driver would not receive any compensation if they were also injured.
Additionally, a motorcyclist might lane split and cause an accident. A judge could determine the motorcyclist was 51 percent liable for the accident. The motorcycle rider could then not recover any compensation at that point in Oklahoma.
Contact the Oklahoma City Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at McGuire Law Firm Today for Free Consultation
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