Are Lane Splitting & Lane Filtering Legal in Pennsylvania?
November 7, 2022 | Motorcycle Accident
One of the joys of riding a motorcycle is being able to more easily maneuver in traffic. One state has passed laws that allow “lane splitting” and “lane filtering,” but has Pennsylvania? The short answer is no, it has not. The lawyers at Marzzacco Niven & Associates want you to stay safe while riding your bike; read on to learn more about the rules regarding lane splitting and filtering in Pennsylvania.
What Is Lane Splitting?
The American Motorcyclist Association defines lane splitting as “the practice of riding a motorcycle between clearly marked lanes for traffic traveling in the same direction.” In essence, lane splitting allows bikers to bypass traffic by traveling in between lanes.
In areas where lane splitting is permitted, there are often restrictions, such as:
- Motorcyclists should not drive more than 10 mph faster than surrounding traffic when lane splitting
- Motorcyclists should not lane split at speeds greater than 30 mph
- Motorcyclists should try to limit lane splitting to between the far left and middle lane on a three-lane highway
Proponents of lane splitting argue that the maneuver should be allowed as a way to conserve gas and to allow traffic to move more efficiently.
What Is Lane Filtering?
The American Motorcyclist Association defines lane filtering as “the practice of riding a motorcycle between stopped motor vehicles to the front of the pack, typically at a signalized intersection.” The main difference between lane filtering and lane splitting is that lane filtering typically occurs in areas where traffic is stopped or slow-moving. Also, lane filtering may allow motorcyclists to weave their way to the front of the line so they will be first to proceed when the light turns green.
Dangers of Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering
Lane splitting and lane filtering can sometimes be dangerous because:
- Inadequate space – While a typical traffic lane is wide enough for an average vehicle to fit in it while leaving some additional space, they are usually not wide enough to accommodate an additional motorcyclist on the road.
- Motorcyclists are harder to see – Motorcycles are of much smaller stature than the average passenger vehicle, so other drivers may have difficulty spotting motorcyclists nearby.
- Other drivers may not be looking for motorcyclists – Other drivers may not anticipate motorcyclists being in the area of the dotted line and may switch lanes or turn without looking.
- Sudden braking – A driver who sees a motorcyclist lane splitting may instinctively brake quickly to prevent themselves from hitting the motorcyclist. However, this can have the opposite effect and cause a rear-end accident.
- Bad weather – Lane splitting can be even more dangerous when the roads are slippery because of rain, ice, or snow. Motorcyclists can lose control of their vehicles and be seriously injured.
- Poor road conditions – Poor road conditions such as uneven surfaces, debris, oil spills, or potholes can cause a biker to lose control of their vehicle and hit another vehicle.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can explain your legal rights and options if you were involved in a motorcycle accident involving lane splitting or filtering. If you were not at fault for the accident or were a bike passenger, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages you suffered.
Pennsylvania Law on Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering
Many motorcyclists and organizations like the American Motorcyclist Association believe that lane splitting and lane filtering are safe practices. They argue that motorcyclists are in their greatest danger when they are stuck in congested traffic in close proximity to distracted and inattentive motorists.
Nonetheless, Pennsylvania does not currently allow lane splitting or lane filtering. These practices are generally considered illegal driving maneuvers that can subject you to traffic tickets and penalties. As of this writing, only California has expressly allowed the practice.
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer for help with your claim.
Contact the Motorcycle Accident Lawyers In Pennsylvania at Marzzacco Niven & Associates For Legal Help With Your Case Today
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