No, lane splitting is not legal in Alabama. While a smaller vehicle such as a bicycle, a motorized bike, or a motorcycle might be capable of finding space to ride alongside or pass a car in the same lane, it is a violation of Alabama law to employ these maneuvers.
There is a national conversation regarding whether states should accept lane splitting, but it is currently illegal in Alabama.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting is when a vehicle travels between lanes of cars on a multiple-lane roadway. Normally, those who ride bicycles, motorized bikes, or motorcycles are the ones who can employ this practice because their cycles are small enough to fit in between cars in multi-lane traffic.
What Is Lane Splitting for Motorcycles?
The American Motorcyclist Association notes that motorcyclists split lanes to avoid stop-and-go traffic and accidents. While motorcyclists across the nation want to take advantage of lane splitting during rush hour, Alabama believes it is unsafe.
The Alabama Motorcycle Manual warns that: “Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable to the unexpected. A hand could come out of the window; a door could open; a car could turn suddenly.”
What Are Alabama’s Lane Splitting Laws?
Alabama law requires motorcyclists to follow the same traffic rules that cars have to follow, with some exceptions. Motorcycles are entitled to use a full traffic lane just like any car.
Although they are small enough to fit, motorcycles cannot operate between traffic lanes or rows of traffic. Also, motorcycles cannot overtake and pass a vehicle in their same lane.
While motorcycles cannot split lanes, they can share lanes. Two (and no more than two) motorcycles can ride side by side in a single lane.
The Alabama Motorcycle Manual encourages motorcycles riding abreast to stagger their positions within the lane for safety purposes.
How to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident
To avoid a motorcycle accident, you should follow applicable traffic laws, and be aware of the drivers around you. Alabama law requires that you wear an appropriate helmet and shoes when riding your bicycle.
You must keep both hands on the handlebars, and you and any passengers should sit properly on permanent seating.
The Alabama Motorcycle Manual also encourages you to make yourself visible in your lane, communicate your intentions, and maintain adequate space around you.
What to Do If You Are in a Motorcycle Accident
Even if you avoid lane splitting and follow the appropriate safety rules while riding your motorcycle, you could still suffer injury at the hands of a negligent driver.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,014 motorcyclists died in the United States in 2019. In 2019 motorcyclists were approximately 29 times more likely to die and four times more likely to suffer injury in a vehicle crash.
Motorcycle Accident Reporting Requirements
If you or someone else suffers injury or death in a motorcycle accident, you must immediately report the accident. You must report your accident to the local police department, county sheriff, or state highway patrol.
You and the other driver must also exchange information for any accidents involving death, injury, or property damage.
Gather as much information and photographic evidence as you can from the accident immediately after it happens. (But, of course, only do this if you are physically able and it is safe to do so.)
Gathering information and evidence strengthens your case against the at-fault driver for an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
Limitations on Motorcycle Accident Claims
You only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit after a motorcycle accident. Also, Alabama is a contributory negligence state. This means that even if you are only slightly at fault for the accident in comparison to a negligent driver, you cannot recover damages.
With such harsh fault laws, a victim of a motorcycle lane splitting accident has a hard fight in court. And this is a fight they should not face without the help of a lawyer.
Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident to maximize your damages while you take time to recover physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.
Contact an Attorney Right Away
At Fob James Law Firm, LLC., we have the resources to seek the best results in your motorcycle accident claim, and we give you the personal attention you need in hard times.
We have the diligence and skill to handle difficult cases other attorneys cannot or will not take. We are aggressive and quick when we fight for your rights. Contact us online or call us at 205-649-7797 for a free case review.