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Motorcycle Accidents

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Missouri?

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri has 4.3 million registered drivers and 5.5 million registered vehicles. The high levels of traffic often results in motorcyclists “lane splitting” to avoid traffic, leaving many wondering if it’s legal.

What is Lane-Splitting?

Lane-splitting is when a motorcycle drives on the white line between traffic lanes. Although lane-splitting generally isn’t illegal in Missouri, it’s very dangerous and should be avoided.  

Lane-splitting is dangerous because:

  • The motorcycle might not be visible to other vehicles who are maneuvering traffic because they’re blocked by another vehicle.
  • The splitting rider may not stop in time if they change lanes.
  • The motorcyclist may not see an obstacle within the lane, which can cause accidents.
  • A driver might throw an item from their car and hit the rider (either intentionally or unintentionally)
  • A frustrated driver might hit or grab the motorcyclist in stopped traffic 

Lane-Splitting Is Illegal in Some Parts of Missouri

Although it’s not prohibited in most of Missouri, some cities, including Kansas City and St. Louis, have enacted city ordinances which prohibit lane-splitting.

Lane-splitting in either of these cities can result in severe penalties and can change the proportion of liability if it was the cause of a car accident.

The experienced Missouri auto accident lawyers at Langdon & Emison have extensive experience helping both motorcyclists and those who were injured in an accident caused by a lane-splitting motorcyclist, they know the successful arguments on both sides of the case.

Your Claim Can’t Be Denied Simply Because You Were Lane-Splitting

You cannot be denied financial compensation for injuries sustained in an accident simply because you were lane-splitting if you were doing it safely and weren’t entirely or primarily at-fault for the accident. However, if you were driving recklessly, your claim might be denied.  

Proving that you weren’t at-fault in an accident when sharing or splitting lanes can sometimes be difficult. In addition to avoiding that potential issue of liability, not splitting lanes might better ensure your safety.

If You Must Split Lanes, Do It Safely

Lane-splitting can be convenient, especially in traffic. Here are a few suggestions to help keep you safe:

  • Keep your head and eyes up. Don’t fixate on your mirrors–it could leave you surprised by a car’s sudden lane change, and it could decrease your stability. 
  • Don’t split between large vehicles. Large vehicles have larger blindspots and might not see you. They might also prevent other drivers from seeing you.
  • Watch your speed. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react to changing conditions around you. Drive at a safe speed to increase your ability to timely and safely react to sudden changes.
  • Split between parallel-moving cars. Splitting between parallel cars is safer than staggered cars because they can’t suddenly change lanes.
  • Don’t ride in blindspots. Riding beside or behind cars is risky for motorcyclists because they’re usually in a car’s blindspot. If you’re splitting lanes in traffic, drivers are more likely to try to suddenly cut over to what seems like a faster-moving lane. Reducing the time spent in blindspots can help avoid accidents.
  • Stop splitting lanes when traffic starts moving. This applies to all lanes and one lane that starts moving. If a lane starts moving, move to that lane and stay with the regular flow of traffic. If traffic stalls again, you can again split lanes.

In a Lane-Splitting Accident? You Have Options.

It’s common for motorcyclists to think they’re automatically at fault when they get into an accident when lane-splitting, but that’s not always the case.

The Missouri auto accident lawyers at Langdon & Emison can help you if you were in an accident involving a lane-splitting motorcyclist or if you were lane-splitting and were in an accident.

Call (866) 931-2115 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.