Is Lane Splitting Illegal in Texas?

November 19, 2018

If you are a motorcycle rider in the state of Texas, then you may be wondering about the legal ramifications of lane splitting. Lane splitting is when you ride a motorcycle or a bicycle between lanes of traffic or rows of stopped or slow-moving traffic that is heading in the same direction. Sometimes it is referred to as stripe-riding, lane sharing, filtering, or whitelining. It has been a longtime practice used by motorcyclists in the state and across the country. Those who support lane splitting as a legal driving approach believe it can be beneficial to the safety of motorcyclists by reducing the risk of being in a rear-end collision. They also believe it can help reduce problems with traffic congestion in the larger metro areas. Those who aren’t in favor of lane splitting think it is dangerous for the biker and other motorists. Because it isn’t clearly specified in Texas law, there are many people confused about whether it is allowed or not in the state.

The Texas Transportation Code

While Texas law doesn’t clearly mention lane splitting, Texas Transportation Code Section 545.060 that is called “Driving on Roadway Laned for Traffic” indicates that those who are operating vehicles, including motorcyclists, are required to “drive nearly as practical entirely within a single lane.” According to the law, motorists may only move from the lane when it is safe for them to do so. When lane splitting is considered, there are several other statutes involving the road that come into play. Yielding right of way, signaling, and other traffic regulations might be brought up in a discussion as to whether lane splitting is legal in the state.

According to Texas law, motorcycles are treated the same as any other motor vehicle. Since other vehicles cannot engage in lane splitting, it can present an issue with motorcycles partaking in the practice. Many motorcyclists and lawmakers believe that since lane splitting is only applicable for motorcycles, there should be some exceptions made for the smaller vehicles. But there is only one state in the country, California, that has passed legislation that makes lane splitting legal, but only with certain limitations, including they cannot exceed speeds more than 15 miles per hour faster than surrounding traffic.

Penalties for Texas Lane Splitting

If a biker is caught driving between lanes on Texas roads, he or she could face fines and penalties. Texas law doesn’t specifically permit any kind of lane splitting, so those who practice the maneuver may be guilty of illegal passing according to the current law. Police can write tickets for illegal passing and add other penalties, including reckless driving, depending on the specific circumstances. If a biker gets into a crash while lane splitting, he or she might be liable for the damages that result because of the accident. The other party in the crash could allege that the motorcyclist was negligent because Texas traffic laws were violated. Since Texas is a modified negligence state, the other driver might still be able to recover damages through a personal injury claim even if he or she was partly to blame for the crash.

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, whether due to lane splitting or some other circumstance, then you need to speak to a Texas motorcycle attorney right away. We know that choosing an attorney is a stressful decision to make, especially after the trauma following a motorcycle accident. And while we are confident that the experienced motorcycle attorneys at Fears Nachawati are a great fit for you, we offer a free, no obligation legal consultation so you can decide for yourself. To learn more about your rights and what to expect following your motorcycle accident, give the team at Fears Nachawati a call at (866) 705-7584 or visit one of our offices located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.

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