Motorcycle accidents may make up just a small percentage of the total number of motor vehicle crashes in Maryland, but the devastation is extremely disproportionate. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MD DOT), motorcycle collisions are just over 1% of all traffic accidents statewide every year. However, these crashes cause around 75 deaths and injuries to almost 1,200 victims. In other words, more than 89% of all motorcycle collisions result in casualties, and you can probably expect that the rider suffers the brunt of the trauma.
Officials have enacted numerous laws and traffic regulations to protect motorcyclists, and one relates to a practice that is popular among riders. Lane splitting, or riding in between lines of traffic, is illegal in Maryland. The maneuver could lead to fines, but it is also dangerous. Lane splitting may even affect your legal rights, so you need to discuss your case with a Baltimore County motorcycle accident lawyer. Some basics are useful for describing the challenges.
Lane Splitting for Motorcycle Riders
As a two-wheeled vehicle, it is easy for a motorcycle to travel between lanes of traffic. It is also tempting to maneuver ahead in this way, especially when traffic is slowed or stopped. A motorcyclist can still zip through and around vehicles.
Unfortunately for those who practice it, lane splitting is illegal in Maryland. Traffic rules state that it is unlawful for motorcycles to travel between lanes or adjacent rows of vehicles in traffic. Another illegal move is overtaking and passing a vehicle in the same lane where the passing takes place.
Dangers of Lane Splitting
In general, accidents will be more frequent when different types of vehicles share the road and they are not moving in a predictable traffic pattern. Motorists driving in Downtown Baltimore do not expect to see a motorcycle rider traveling between lanes because they know it is illegal. They will not check once for motorcyclists, let alone twice. Other drivers are the biggest threat when they are not prepared for motorcycle riders who break the law.
California is the only US state where lane splitting is allowed, and proponents downplay the dangers. They point to better traffic and a reduced carbon footprint as justification for permitting motorcycle riders to split lanes.
How Lane Splitting Affects Your Rights
Victims of motorcycle accidents may be entitled to compensation for their losses, but Maryland has a harsh rule called contributory negligence. You may receive nothing at all if your own misconduct was a factor in causing the crash. As lane splitting is illegal, the victim’s actions could easily be viewed as contributing to the collision.
Speak to a Maryland Motorcycle Accident Attorney Right Away
If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash, please contact Michael A. Freedman to learn more about your remedies. You can reach our offices in Owings Mills or Glen Burnie by calling 410.363.6848 or visiting our website. Our legal team can answer your questions and schedule an initial consultation to discuss steps in the process.