Is Lane Splitting Illegal in Alabama?
Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on June 26, 2019
Lane splitting is illegal in Alabama. In fact, the only state in which it is legal is California. Lane splitting refers only to motorcyclists. Many riders believe it is a safer way to travel, but in fact, it is not. Approximately 17% of all motorcycle accidents are due to lane splitting. However, this statistic hasn’t stopped the nearly 200,000 motorcyclists nationwide who have petitioned in favor of lane splitting. Regardless of a riders’ preference, as of today, lane splitting is illegal in Alabama and 48 other states.
What Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is also known as lane sharing or white lining and is when a motorcycle rides or parks between two lanes of traffic, on the line. This is also common practice for bicycles. Lane splitting was originally legal in Europe and Asia to clear up congested town, which could be why California has adopted this practice. The argument over lane splitting safety still hasn’t reached a consensus.
Many people who support lane splitting believe it can prevent serious personal injuries, save time, and clear traffic. Others who are against it fear it only increases risks for motorcyclists. In addition, arguments against lane splitting claim motorcyclists run into open car doors, get into accidents while merging, startle other drivers, and cause more accidents overall.
Alabama Lane Splitting Law
Alabama law treats motorcycles the same way as cars. This means a motorcycle has an entire lane’s worth of space, just like a car. Ideally, this gives them more safe space. On the other hand, like any other vehicle on the road, a motorcyclist cannot to pass other vehicles in the same lane or ride beside them in the same lane. In addition, motorcycles, like cars, cannot lane split in the space between two marked lanes for traffic on the white line.
However, Alabama allows lane sharing. This means two motorcyclists can ride beside each other or staggered in the same lane. Lane sharing is legal in Alabama for up to two motorcycles, but three or more motorcycles may not share lanes. When needing to pass, motorcycles must do so in the next lane over.
Treating motorcycles like cars in Alabama has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is that by giving motorcycles the same amount of space and respect as a car, they should have more freedom of space and safety. Motorcycle riders, however, see this as a disadvantage because they are unable to use the greatest asset of riding a motorcycle; the fact that it is smaller and more compact to maneuver through small spaces.
On other occasions, it makes it difficult for motorcycles riders to move past drivers who aren’t respecting their space if they cannot lane split to get away from them. Motorcycle riders in Alabama still must understand the law is the law.
What to Do in a Motorcycle Accident?
All motorcycle accidents have an increased potential to be fatal. Whether lane sharing, splitting, or not, if you find yourself in a motorcycle collision, take one of several precautions.
- Make sure everyone involved is okay.
- Call 911. If you do not need an ambulance, still call 911 to file a police report.
- Get the other driver’s insurance, contact information, and license plate number.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Notify your insurance company.
Even if you were not lane splitting, ensure you have all the evidence on your side and hire a personal injury lawyer who can represent you in your case.
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