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Who Is at Fault in a Lane-Splitting Accident in Indiana?

Jun 28, 2023 | Bike Accident


Lane splitting is illegal in Indiana. However, it’s a daily occurrence on state roads — either because motorcyclists are rushing to pass slow or stopped traffic or are simply unaware that lane splitting is a violation of traffic rules.

Unfortunately, this practice often causes trouble on the road. 

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting, also known as white-lining or filtering forward, happens when a motorcycle rides between other vehicles and doesn’t stay in one traffic lane.

While lane splitting saves motorcyclists time by allowing them to move quickly through traffic congestion, the practice is highly dangerous. In addition to motorcyclists, scooter riders and bicyclists may also engage in lane splitting.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Indiana?

Lane splitting is illegal in Indiana and many other states. The Indiana Code states that all vehicles, regardless of their size, must have full use of their traffic lane. Motorists may not drive or operate in a manner that deprives others of the full use of a traffic lane.

However, while motorcyclists may not occupy two lanes of traffic, Indiana State law allows two motorcycles to ride side-by-side in the same lane.

The Dangers of Lane Splitting

Lane splitting puts all motorists at a higher risk for accidents but is especially dangerous for bike riders.

Motorcycles are much lighter and less stable than automobiles, making them easier to unbalance and overturn. They also don’t offer many of the protections that cars and trucks do, such as seat belts, air bags, and an enclosed metal frame. Lane-splitting motorcyclists also tend to move at higher speeds than other vehicles on the road.

Common causes of lane-splitting accidents include:

  • Swerving vehicles. Stopped or slowly moving cars may suddenly swerve left or right in an attempt to change lanes. Drivers don’t always expect motorcyclists to be driving in the center of the road and might not check their mirrors before swerving.
  • Blind spots. Motorcycles riding on or near the white lane occupy the blind spots of the vehicles on their right and left. That makes motorcyclists even harder to spot.
  • Open doors. Drivers or passengers in stand-still traffic may open their doors to retrieve items from their trunk, stretch out their legs, dump out a drink, or for a host of other reasons. Open doors present a sudden obstruction for oncoming motorcyclists and may cause motorcycle accidents.

Who Is at Fault in an Indiana Lane-Splitting Accident?

Lane splitting can give rise to both criminal and civil legal action. Because this driving practice is illegal, the motorcyclist in an Indiana lane-splitting accident is typically at fault and will be responsible for the other party’s damages. Oftentimes, the plaintiff doesn’t even need to prove negligence.

However, in some cases, liability is more difficult to determine. Lane-splitting collisions often involve three or more neighboring vehicles occupying two lanes, making it harder to determine whose insurance should cover the cost of the damages.

That’s why you should consult with an experienced Indiana motorcycle accident attorney if you were injured in an Indiana lane-splitting accident. They will investigate the accident, identify all potentially liable parties, and explain your legal options.

Injured in an Indiana Lane-Splitting Accident? Call Stewart & Stewart Attorneys.

Lane-splitting collisions can be complicated, especially if you are a motorcyclist. To protect your interests, you should consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Call Stewart & Stewart at 1-866-926-2419 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free case evaluation.

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