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Is It Legal for Motorcycles to Share Lanes in Tampa?
Is It Legal for Motorcycles to Share Lanes in Tampa?

Is It Legal for Motorcycles to Share Lanes in Tampa?

One of the greatest appeals of riding a motorcycle is the freedom to move quickly and freely. This perk feels lost when a motorcyclist is faced with the challenge of traffic congestion. There are many techniques motorcycle riders use to maneuver through traffic. One debatable practice is lane sharing.

When you see two motorcycles riding side by side, that is lane sharing. However, the term lane sharing is often used generally and can include lane splitting, lane filtering, and shoulder surfing. Lane sharing of any kind can be a controversial topic, especially when it comes to understanding its safety and legality.

Riding a motorcycle can be a dangerous thing. Research shows that Florida, specifically, is one of the most dangerous states for motorcyclists. In Tampa and its surrounding counties, there have already been 895 motorcycle crashes resulting in 50 fatalities in 2023. Most of the laws and opposition regarding lane sharing come from concerns for road safety. Making sure you have the best knowledge of motorcycle laws and safe driving techniques will help keep you safe on Tampa’s streets.

What Is Lane Sharing?

There are four types of driving by a motorcycle that can be considered lane sharing.

Lane sharing

Lane sharing is when two motorcyclists ride alongside each other.

Lane splitting

Sometimes also referred to as “white lining,” lane splitting is when a motorcycle rides along the line between moving vehicles.

Lane filtering

Lane filtering is when a motorcyclist advances between slowed or stopped vehicles.

Shoulder surfing

Shoulder surfing is the technique of riding outside the flow of traffic on the shoulder of the road.

Is Lane Sharing Legal in Tampa?

In Tampa, lane sharing in the form of riding side by side is not prohibited by law. Florida state statute allows for two motorcycles to ride next to one another. However, it does clearly state that no more than two may share a lane at a time.

However, lane splitting of any kind is not permitted in Tampa or anywhere in the state of Florida. If you get caught for lane splitting you can face a hefty fine of up to $500. In Hillsborough County, a traffic ticket for lane splitting will cost you $153.

While lane sharing is not illegal, it is worth mentioning that law enforcement or local jurisdictions can still enforce regulations if lane sharing is deemed dangerous or reckless. Motorcyclists should be aware that actions outside the boundaries of safe and cautious lane sharing may result in citations for reckless driving or other traffic offenses.

Is Lane Sharing Dangerous?

The opinions on whether or not lane sharing is dangerous are dramatically split. Many people believe it to be unsafe while others think it improves road safety. In fact, one study out of UC Berkeley actually suggests that lane splitting can reduce accidents on the road.

The main danger for a motorcyclist from other vehicles is to be struck from behind or the side due to lack of visibility. Lane splitting advocates say that the practice reduces the chance of being rear-ended. Those who oppose this technique bring up the dangers of being hit by a car changing lanes.

The fact remains that there isn’t enough research to have a clear answer on the safety of lane splitting. While the topic may be interesting to discuss, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s illegal in Tampa and all throughout Florida. No matter what you believe, it’s important to follow the laws where you live. If you do find yourself in an accident after lane sharing, reach out to a Tampa motorcycle accident attorney for guidance.

Safety Guidelines for Lane Sharing in Tampa

If you choose to lane share while driving your motorcycle, be sure to use caution. It’s important to exercise safe practices to reduce your risk of being injured in an accident.

Maintain a Reasonable Speed

When lane sharing, motorcyclists should avoid excessive speeds that may endanger themselves or others. Riding at high speeds can significantly increase the risk of accidents and reduce the time available to react to unexpected situations.

Proceed with Caution

Motorcyclists must exercise extreme care when maneuvering between lanes. They should be attentive to the surrounding traffic conditions and use their judgment regarding factors such as vehicle speed, space availability, visibility, and road surface conditions.

Stay Within the Flow of Traffic

Lane sharing should only be practiced when there is a reasonable expectation that it will expedite traffic flow without compromising safety. Motorcyclists should avoid creating significant disruptions or potential hazards on the road when attempting to share lanes.

Be Considerate

Respecting other road users’ space is crucial when engaging in lane sharing. Motorcyclists must give other drivers adequate space and avoid putting them at risk by riding too closely or making sudden movements between lanes.

If you do have the misfortune of being injured while lane sharing, reach out to a Tampa motorcycle accident attorney for help. They can help you understand your rights and sort out any confusion about fault.

Will Lane Sharing Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

If you have a motorcycle or bike accident and want to claim compensation, lane splitting could affect your ability to recover funds. This applies whether you were on the motorcycle or bike or in another vehicle involved in the collision.

When you’re in a motor vehicle accident, you can seek compensation from other drivers who contributed to the crash. A Tampa motorcycle accident attorney is your best resource in making sure you can make a successful claim. To receive money for your losses, certain conditions should be met:

1. The other driver had a responsibility to drive safely.

2. The other driver acted negligently, meaning they didn’t drive as cautiously as a reasonable person would in similar circumstances.

3. The driver’s negligence directly caused the accident.

4. You sustained injuries due to the collision.

In some cases, if a motorcycle rider engages in lane splitting where it’s illegal, they may be considered negligent. This means that the rider might not be able to successfully make a personal injury claim. Having an expert Tampa motorcycle accident attorney on your side can often make the difference in whether or not you receive compensation.

Drivers in other vehicles involved in an accident caused by a lane-splitting motorcycle rider can also seek compensation for their damages from the motorcyclist or bicyclist. They can argue that the illegal lane splitting demonstrates the rider’s negligence and holds them responsible for losses.

However, it’s important to remember that engaging in illegal lane splitting doesn’t give other drivers permission to neglect safety expectations. If a driver should have seen the motorcyclist or bicyclist but was distracted or speeding, and as a result didn’t pay attention and caused an accident, that unsafe driver might still share blame for the incident.

Comparative Negligence

The courts in Hillsborough County and throughout the state take into account something called comparative negligence. This can be very important if lane splitting took place in the case at hand. Comparative negligence is a legal concept used to determine how much responsibility each party holds in an accident or injury case. It recognizes that more than one person can be at fault for an incident.

In simple terms, it means that even if you were partially responsible for the accident that caused your injury, you may still be able to receive some compensation. The amount of money you can recover will depend on the percentage of fault assigned to each party involved. This is why you want a Tampa motorcycle accident attorney fighting in your corner when they assign fault.

For example, let’s say you were involved in a car crash, and it was determined that you were 30% at fault because you were lane splitting. However, the other driver was 70% at fault because they rear-ended you. In this situation, if your medical bills and lost wages were $10,000, you would be entitled to receive $7,000 (70% of $10,000) from the other driver’s insurance company. If you don’t have a qualified Tampa motorcycle accident attorney to help fight for your percentage, you could get much less than you deserve.

Comparative negligence helps ensure that compensation is distributed fairly based on each party’s contribution to the accident or injury. It acknowledges that people might share some responsibility for an incident and allows for proportional recovery based on those percentages of fault.

Contact A Tampa Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today For A Free Consultation

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident you don’t have to go through it alone. Our committed team of Tampa motorcycle accident attorneys is here to offer unwavering support. With our expertise and dedicated representation, you can find solace in knowing that we will be by your side every step of the way. Rest assured, we will tirelessly advocate for your rightful compensation. Take advantage of our free initial consultation and find out how a Tampa motorcycle accident attorney can help you.

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