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Is Lane Splitting Legal in Florida?

Like any other motor vehicle driver, a motorcyclist must abide by all the traffic rules and laws specifically applicable to bikers. If you are found to be engaged in lane splitting, you will be recognized as a law offender. Specifically, if you are accused of constantly switching lanes in the traffic of vehicles that have slowed down or stopped, you’ll be charged with lane splitting.

Despite the law, you may witness various bikers maneuvering their bikes while you are driving around in Florida. While some individuals do it on purpose, many motorcyclists, especially beginners, get involved in the offense because they need to gain knowledge.

Hence, before discussing the consequences you might face because of lane splitting, let’s first understand what it means.

What Is Lane-Splitting?

Now that we have found the answer to the question: is lane splitting legal in Florida? We must understand what this term means. Lane-Splitting is defined as moving a bike between slowed or stopped traffic lanes. According to Florida Statute 316.209, “no individual shall drive a motorcycle between series of vehicles, lanes of traffic or adjacent lines,”

The law also states that no biker can “pass and overtake in the similar lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.” This means you don’t have the authority to operate a motorcycle between two lanes to surpass a vehicle in one of those lanes.

Although there’s much debate about lane-splitting safety, it is hard to take a side. There’s a massive crowd of bikers who consider lane-splitting dangerous (bikes appearing all of a sudden in a lane can take other drivers by surprise) or at least be very annoying. On the other hand, many motorcyclists debate that lane-splitting is a much safer option for them, as they often find themselves trapped between more oversized vehicles when there’s traffic with no escape route.

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What Are the Penalties for Lane-Splitting in Florida?

Although you won’t be arrested for practicing lane-splitting, it is still considered a noncriminal traffic infraction. Lane splitting is treated as a moving violation by law enforcement officials. If accused, you would get a ticket and be required to pay a fine. The amount of the fine can be very hefty.

Lane splitting may also cause a collision. The biker who engages in lane splitting may strike another vehicle by abruptly passing the vehicle or contacting the car from the side. The bike might also cause other vehicles to collide because of indirect involvement. For example, this could happen if the motorcyclist lane-change forced other automobiles to take a sudden brake and rear-end one another.

A biker’s lane splitting may make him liable for a personal injury claim. Similarly, a driver who didn’t allow the biker to utilize the entire lane and cause a collision may also face liability if the motorcycle driver faced injuries.

A motorcyclist might face civil and criminal cases in Florida if the practice resulted in an accident. Overall, these cases never combine and do not affect each other. It would mean that if you are found not guilty in the criminal case, you may still be charged with a fine for lane-splitting. However, a traffic ticket can be utilized as evidence in court.

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Lane Splitting vs. Lane Sharing in Florida

They might sound similar, but lane splitting and lane sharing are different terms. While lane splitting is not legal in Florida, a biker can engage in lane sharing without trouble with the law. Let’s understand the difference between the two:

Lane splitting involves bikers maneuvering their motorcycle back and forth between two lanes of traffic that are stopped or moving too slowly. On the other hand, lane sharing refers to two motorcyclists utilizing a single lane to ride side by side. This term also applies to a large group of bikers riding together under a particular formation.

Another term often used for lane sharing is lane filtering, which helps eliminate congested traffic. Most states have recognized lane filtering as a legal practice to perform. Although the law of Florida does not consider it an offense, one must still be cautious while performing it. The bikers must take safety measures to ensure that the motorcyclists are not riding near the centerline when riding abreast of each other. Also, riders should avoid moving right behind a car as it may put the driver in his blind spot, creating a potential hazard if the vehicle were required to take a turn.

On curvier roads, lane sharing should be avoided altogether.

What's the Penalty for Lane Splitting in Florida?

As we already discussed, lane splitting is not a criminal offense, and the officials may allow you to leave once they have provided you with a ticket. However, the fine that comes along with the ticket is enormous, and if, by any chance, your lane splitting caused any collision, you may also encounter a criminal charge.

Since this practice is a traffic violation, it can be utilized as evidence of negligence. In most car accident claims, negligence is used as a legal basis. Four elements together form negligence, namely:

  • A legal duty of care owed to others
  • A breach of this duty of care
  • A violation that results in suffering for others
  • The injured parties suffer injury

All motor vehicle users in Florida, including bikers, owe a duty of care to other passengers, drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Therefore, when a traffic law is violated by them, which ultimately results in a collision, they could be held responsible for damages that may occur and have to pay the compensation. The compensations include compensation for property damage, harm, or any other loss related to the vehicle.

Contact Coleman Law Group

Is lane splitting legal in Florida? Of course, not. However, if you are unsure about any legal term like lane splitting in Florida, it is best to take advice from a renowned attorney with years of experience in such cases. Coleman Law Group is a law firm filled with such lawyers and is ready to help individuals with any legal troubles they may face.

You must know your rights to present strong arguments in front of a jury, regardless of whether you are a victim or accused. However, a person not from a legal background tends to get brutally suppressed by the other party, who has a more substantial hand in legal terms. Hence, it is advised to hire a law firm like us, which can help you avoid any such situation and get you served with the proper justice.

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