It is no secret that it can be a lot easier for motorcyclists to navigate by—or in between—stopped or slow-moving traffic. It is a practice known as motorcycle lane-splitting. While it is permitted in some jurisdictions, motorcycle lane-splitting is not allowed in New York. What happens if a lane-splitting motorcycle is involved in a crash? Within this blog post, our Glen Falls motorcycle accident lawyer provides an in-depth guide to lane-splitting crashes in New York.
What is Motorcycle Lane Splitting?
Motorcycle lane splitting—also referred to by a number of other names, such as lane sharing, white-lining, and filtering—refers broadly to the practice whereby a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of stopped or slower-moving vehicles going in the same direction. Most often, this motorcycle maneuver occurs during traffic congestion when riders take advantage of the small size of their vehicles to pass through the tight spaces between cars.
Motorcycle Lane Splitting is Not Lawful in New York
In the United States, the legality of lane splitting varies by state. It is absolutely essential that all motorcyclists understand the rules and regulations of the road in the state that they are riding in. For example, in California, motorcycle lane-splitting is a totally permissible practice. Motorcyclists riding in that state are allowed to split lanes as long as they follow certain safety standards. However, in New York, motorcycle lane-splitting is not lawful. Under New York law (New York Vehicle & Traffic § 1252), the following two motorcycle practices are strictly prohibited:
- Passing Another Vehicle in the Same Lane: “The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.”
- Riding in Between Two Lanes of Stopped or Slow Moving Traffic: “No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles”
Motorcyclists in New York have the right to control an entire lane. They cannot ride outside of a lane—whether on the shoulder of the road or in between two lanes—in order to pass other vehicles. Even if traffic is completely stopped, motorcycle lane-splitting is still not allowed under New York law.
Note: New York State law does allow two motorcyclists to ride side-by-side in the same lane. They can do so lawfully as long as both of them consent to do so and they are able to operate their motorcyclists safely.
Motorcyclists are Not Covered Under New York State’s Standard No-Fault Laws
New York is a no-fault insurance state. It has among the most comprehensive no-fault insurance laws in the entire country. However, no-fault insurance in New York does not apply to motorcycle accidents. Under New York law (ISC § 5102), motorcycles are exempted from this no-fault coverage. Therefore, when a motorcyclist gets into an accident in New York, they cannot claim benefits like medical expenses, lost wages, or other costs from their insurer under the standard no-fault laws. In effect, this means that motorcyclists who were hurt in a crash in Glens Falls should be prepared to bring a fault-based claim against the at-fault driver or other at-fault party.
An Injured Motorcyclist May Still Have a Claim Under New York’s Comparative Fault System
As motorcycle lane-splitting as barred by law in New York, a rider who is involved in a crash caused by lane-splitting will often be found at-fault. As noted above, fault always matters in motorcycle accidents in Glens Falls. That being said, a motorcycle who was hurt in a lane-splitting crash is not necessarily barred from recovering compensation. Many motorcycle lane-splitting collisions are complicated—and New York is a comparative negligence state. Under New York Law (N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 1411), each party to a fault-based motorcycle can be held liable for their share of the blame.
For instance, imagine that a motorcyclist was lane-splitting in Glens Falls. They were in violation of state law when doing so. However, at the same time a car abruptly changes lanes without using the turn signal. The car was also speeding. In making that unlawful maneuver, the car caused a motorcycle accident. A New York Court may rule that both parties share responsibility. The motorcyclist might be held 30% at fault for lane-splitting, and the car driver 70% at fault for not signaling and speeding. In this scenario, the motorcyclist can still recover damages, but the award would be reduced by their percentage of fault.
We Help Motorcycle Accident Victims in Glens Falls Maximize their Financial Compensation
Navigating through the complexities of motorcycle accident laws in New York can be daunting, especially when recovering from the trauma of an accident. Our team in personal injury Glens Falls is committed to offering compassionate, comprehensive legal support to victims of motorcycle accidents. We strive to understand every facet of your case and work tirelessly to ensure you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. We know how to hold insurance companies accountable for paying claims. Depending on the specific cause, nature, and severity of your motorcycle crash in New York State, a settlement or verdict may include financial compensation for:
- Motorcycle repairs or motorcycle replacement;
- Emergency room care and other emergency treatment;
- Hospital bills and other types of medical treatment;
- Medication or medical equipment;
- Physical therapy and long-term care;
- Lost wages and loss of earning power;
- Pain and suffering & mental anguish;
- Long-term disability or physical disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
Call Our Glens Falls Motorcycle Accident Attorney for a Free Case Review
At Larson & Gallivan Law, our New York motorcycle crash lawyers are aggressive, effective advocates for victims. If you or your loved one was hurt in a lane-splitting motorcycle crash, we are more than ready to help. Reach out to us by phone at 518-862-8799 or connect with us directly online for your free consultation. From our Glens Falls law office, we fight for the rights of motorcycle accident victims throughout the surrounding areas in Upstate New York.