If you drive a motorcycle, then you have probably been tempted in the past to lane split. Even though that temptation is there, it is highly controversial to carry the act out on the road.
Many motorists do not agree with lane splitting due to the obvious risks that are involved.
Whilst it can reduce the time of your journey, especially during high traffic times, it is not worth the risk. Lane splitting can result in many serious accidents.
If you are a motorcyclist then you will be aware of the dangers on the road.
So, the threats involved by lane splitting can be really scary. Another question that we need to ask ourselves is, is lane splitting legal where I live?
This will vary depending on the state that you are in but today we are going to take a look at lane splitting laws in the state of Texas.
What is lane splitting?
If you are unsure what lane splitting even is in the first place, then look no further. Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes.
This can take place on many different roads that have two lanes next to each other going in the same direction.
Lane splitting is more likely to take place during high traffic times when vehicles are stopped in motion. A motorcyclist will be tempted to drive through the traffic by riding in between the two lanes.
You may think that this is a good idea but it isn’t the best choice you can make if you’re in Texas.
Is Lane Splitting Safe?
The opinion on whether lane splitting is a good or bad action is varied. Many people believe that if it is done with care, then it is relatively a safe act to carry out.
Individuals who have this view will usually back it up with a study carried out by the University of California Berkeley in 2015.
This study showed that out of 6000 accidents, only 1000 of them were a result of lane splitting.
Due to the university’s findings, the state of California actually relaxed their laws involving lane splitting.
The study also concluded that when lane splitting is being carried out, it is done with care at a low speed.
When lane splitting occurs, the motorcyclist would only be driving at around 15 miles per hour or in other cases, even less.
Lane splitting would also only occur when traffic is slowed to a maximum of 50 miles per hour. However, with all of this data, there are still opposing arguments against the act.
When a motorcyclist chooses to split lanes, they are not just putting themselves at risk but the drivers around them too.
Motorists will already be aware that driving alongside a motorcycle requires more attention and focus.
Due to the size of a motorcycle, it can be easy for them to disappear into the blind spot of other motorists. If a motorcyclist decides to split lanes, it could come as a surprise to other people on the road and startle them.
This can only result in more collisions on the road.
Lane Splitting Laws in Texas
The main question in this post is whether or not lane splitting is legal in Texas. Well, lane splitting is not legal in the state of Texas.
A driver must drive within a single lane when on a road with two or more lanes of traffic according to Section 545.060 of the Texas Transportation Code.
It is important to note that this rule is for all motorists, not just motorcycle drivers. Yes, some regular car motorists also get tempted to split lanes. This act is heavily frowned upon in Texas.
Lane splitting in Texas is an actual traffic offense and you could face a ticket if you are caught out. The average fine for lane splitting in the state of Texas is approximately $175.
Despite lane splitting being illegal in Texas, there are still government officials who are campaigning for the law to be relaxed.
In 2018, the Texas state senator, Kirk Watson, introduced the State Bill 273.
This bill would allow lane splitting in the state of Texas. If this bill ever gets passed, then motorcyclists would be allowed to split lanes during heavy traffic times.
The motorcyclist would have to stick to a speed of 5 miles per hour more than the slowed down traffic. The traffic should be moving at a speed of 20 miles per hour or less.
Even though lane splitting is illegal right now in Texas, as other states have relaxed their laws, the government officials have thought about also making the change. Lane splitting in Texas is seen as a very dangerous act.
If the bill is passed, the speeds of both the motorcyclist and the other motorists on the road will be heavily reduced.
When you take a look at the proposed speeds in this bill in comparison to the study carried out in 2015, it could just be the solution.
The reduced speeds would reduce the number of serious casualties on the road due to lane splitting. However, until this bill gets passed, lane splitting remains illegal in the state of Texas.
Before you even think about lane splitting, take some time to think about the negative impacts on yourself and others around you. Is it really worth the fine? The insurance claim process can be lengthy in itself.
To save yourself any pain or headwork, avoid lane splitting in Texas at all costs. It’s not worth the risk of injuring yourself or other people on the road.
It is also not worth the risk of potentially damaging your motorcycle.
Avoiding lane splitting will also help you to avoid any legal issues in Texas. You will not receive any fines or penalties if you do not split lanes.
As always, please take care on your travels today. Keep focused on your surroundings and keep an eye out for any other motorists who may take the risk of lane splitting.