Lane splitting is the act of riding a motorcycle between occupied lanes of traffic, weaving between cars traveling in the same direction as the cyclist. While lane splitting is acceptable or even encouraged in certain states, it also has the potential to lead to devastating accidents.
It goes without saying that motorcycle riders are more vulnerable to personal injury than most other vehicle passengers when an accident occurs. You can make the road safer for yourself and others by understanding the risks and laws surrounding lane splitting.
How can lane splitting create dangerous situations?
Many motorcyclists who engage in lane splitting do so in order to get somewhere quicker. Lane splitting that occurs in these high-speed situations can lead to rear-end collisions or sideswipe crashes. Motorcycles are smaller and less noticeable than larger vehicles, so many motorists might not have time to react and correct upon realizing that a motorcycle is coming up alongside their own car.
What does Tennessee law say about lane splitting?
The Tennessee Highway Safety Office explains that state law specifically prohibits the act of lane splitting. On landed roadways within the state, it is illegal for a motorcycle to pass any vehicle aside from another motorcycle within the same occupied lane. It is also forbidden for a motorcyclist to operate in the space between lanes of traffic outside of permissible passing or merging maneuvers.
Lane splitting is not only potentially dangerous, but it is also illegal in the state of Tennessee. Motorcyclists and passenger vehicle drivers who suffer an injury due to the negligent behavior of another motorist performing illegal lane splitting have the right to pursue financial compensation for their damages.