Kenny Habetz Injury Law | June 27, 2023 | Louisiana Law
In crowded cities, you might find that a bicycle or motorcycle is a more convenient means of travel than a car or SUV. The small size of these modes of transportation means that they can go places that larger vehicles cannot, including between lanes of travel.
The practice of driving between larger vehicles that are in clearly-marked lanes of travel is known as lane-splitting. Essentially, lane-splitting occurs when the rider of a bike or motorbike uses the road lines that separate one lane from another as their own lane of travel.
Lane-splitting often allows the biker to continue with their travels even when other motor vehicles in surrounding lanes are stopped.
California has legalized lane-splitting and goes so far as to alert all motorists to the practice. Currently, California is the only state to have legalized lane-splitting. All other states, including Louisiana, do not permit bicyclists or motorcyclists to engage in lane-splitting.
Reasons Why Lane-Splitting Is Illegal in Louisiana
Both bicycles and motorcycles are considered vehicles under Louisiana law. This means that all of the laws that apply to cars and trucks apply with equal force to motorcycles and bicycles. In addition, there are traffic laws that apply exclusively to bicycles and motorcycles.
Because motorcycles and bicycles must abide by the same laws as other vehicles in Louisiana, they are not permitted to lane-split.
No General Traffic Law Allows Lane-Splitting
Within Louisiana’s laws, there is no general traffic law that allows vehicles to lane-split. Each vehicle that uses the road in the state must occupy a single marked lane of traffic. A car or truck driver who attempts to straddle two lanes or “ride” the lane divider markings violates the law just the same as a motorcycle or bicycle rider who attempts this maneuver.
No Laws Specific to Bicycles or Motorcycles Permit Lane-Splitting
Not only are vehicles in general prohibited from lane-splitting, but there is no law in Louisiana specific to motorcycling or bicycling that allows the practice, either.
These vehicles are, however, legally allowed to maneuver in a few ways that cars and trucks are not. For example, cyclists can ride two abreast if they are using a designated bicycle lane.
Nevertheless, there is no motorcycle- or bicycle-specific law in Louisiana that permits lane-splitting behavior.
Consequences of Lane-Splitting in Louisiana
Lane-splitting by a bicyclist or motorcyclist in Louisiana is illegal and can result in a ticket and a fine. However, this may not be the worst consequence of lane-splitting.
Reasonable people do not violate the law, including laws requiring you to use a single marked lane no matter what vehicle you are riding. When you break the law by lane-splitting and get into an accident, this can result in a reduction in the amount of compensation you might otherwise receive.
Lane-Splitting Is a Bad Idea
Lane-splitting may seem like an ingenious way for motorcyclists and bicyclists to avoid congested traffic. However, in Louisiana, failing to stay in a single lane of travel is both illegal and dangerous.
Riding between two lanes of travel places you in hazardous proximity to other motorists, who may have a difficult time seeing you. If you do end up hurt as a result of lane-splitting, your ability to receive full compensation could be negatively impacted.
The perceived benefits of lane-splitting are not worth the risks and consequences. It’s a better idea to always follow the rules of the road.
Contact the Louisiana Car Accident Law Firm Of Kenny Habetz Injury Law for Help Today
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please call Kenny Habetz Injury Law for a free case evaluation with a Louisiana car accident lawyer or contact us online. We have offices in Lafayette and Crowley, LA.