Is Lane Splitting Illegal in Missouri?
Motorcycle riding is on the rise throughout the country, as more people are turning towards it for recreation and transportation. However, motorcycles can be very dangerous, especially since they leave a rider vulnerable to the elements and other vehicles. And while injured riders can claim compensation for their accidents, the situation becomes very complex when it involves dangerous driving practices such as lane splitting. But why is that the case, and is lane splitting illegal in Missouri?
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is a practice where a motorcyclist drives between multiple lanes of traffic going in the same direction. Also known as whitening and strip riding, this maneuver is used to pass through traffic jams and save time. However, some riders use lane splitting for safety reasons. More specifically, they do it to prevent entering another driver’s blind spot or avoid rear-end collisions in cases where the bike can’t be seen easily.
Is It Legal?
Although some states forbid lane splitting, Missouri doesn’t. As a result, riders can file a lawsuit for damages even if they suffered an injury while lane splitting. It’s important to remember that insurance companies and courts know the danger of this practice. Therefore, they will use it to reduce the amount of money the injured rider is able to recover or even dismiss the claim entirely.
Can Lane Splitting Affect a Motorcycle Insurance Claim?
The state of Missouri relies on an at-fault car insurance system, meaning that the guilty driver’s insurance company has to pay for the victim’s damages. However, it shouldn’t be surprising that the insurers want to pay as little as legally possible to maximize profit. That’s why the adjuster will look for strategies to avoid paying full compensation, including lane splitting. They might argue the victim knew of the risks of lane splitting, which could make them liable for the accident.
How Does Lane Splitting Affect a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
While the practice isn’t illegal in Missouri, it’s still frowned upon by legal authorities and representatives. Therefore, if the judge finds out about the rider’s lane splitting, they might rule against the victim.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that Missouri follows comparative fault laws. But, unlike other comparative fault states, Missouri allows riders to claim compensation regardless of how much they were at fault. However, the percentage of liability still affects how much money the victim will receive.
For instance, let’s assume the rider was lane splitting and another driver made an unsafe lane change and crashed into him. The victim files a lawsuit seeking $30,000 in damages. If the court decides the rider shares 30% of the blame because of lane splitting, they will only receive $21,000 out of their initial request due to their own negligence.
Lane Splitting Safety Tips
Even though riders should avoid lane splitting, it is sometimes the only way to get out of a severe traffic jam or avoid an oncoming car. However, this practice should only be done cautiously and by experienced riders. The following tips should help riders avoid accidents during lane splitting:
● Motorcycle riders should always consider their entire surroundings before attempting a lane split. That includes traffic speed, lane width, weather, and other vehicles’ visibility.
● Lane splitting is usually safer between the far left lanes than between other ones because there is just one changing lane for all parties to focus on.
● The rider should never assume other drivers are paying attention to them. In other words, they should avoid lingering in between vehicles or riding in blind spots.
● Always wear reflective gear, regardless of the time of day.
● Use high beams during daylight.
● Riders need to remember they can share blame for lane splitting in the event of an accident. So, be sure to follow the road laws at all times, lane split effectively, and avoid legal consequences.
Can a Lawyer Help in a Lane Splitting Accident Lawsuit?
Motorcycle accidents can be extremely devastating for both the victim and their family. The situation becomes even more difficult when the rider has to waste days trying to build a case in order to win a potential lawsuit.
Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer is able to handle all the hard work that the victim would otherwise have to do themselves, including gathering evidence and eyewitness testimonies. They can also negotiate with the insurance company so that their client will get fair compensation. More importantly, the best motorcycle accident lawyers in St Louis can defend the rider from prosecutors that will try to use lane splitting against them.
If you want to know more about motorcycle vehicle inspections, such as if one has to pass smog test in Missouri or how many mirrors are required on a motorcycle in Missouri, contact us today.