Motorcycle Lane Sharing and Liability
Apr 16, 2019 - Motorcycle Accidents
Experienced Accident Lawyer in Bethlehem, PA
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused — at least in part — by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then you may be entitled to significant compensation under Pennsylvania law. There a number of regulations that specifically target unsafe motorcycle operation, such as lane sharing regulations, and these have a substantial impact on the litigation of a related accident claim.
Let’s take a closer look.
Lane Sharing is Legal, But Has Limitations
According to section 3523 of the Pennsylvania Code, motorcyclists are allowed to share their lane, but that right is quite limited. More specifically, motorcyclists may not share the lane with any vehicle except for another motorcycle. Two motorcycles may ride side-by-side with one another in the same lane — no more. Further, a motorcycle may not overtake and pass another vehicle in the same lane. The motorcyclist must first shift lanes, even when attempting to overtake and pass another motorcycle.
Lane Splitting is Not Lane Sharing
It’s important to note that lane sharing is not the same as lane splitting. Where lane sharing involves a motorcyclist riding side-by-side within the same lane, lane splitting involves a motorcyclist operating in the space between two lanes. Pennsylvania law prohibits lane splitting.
Liability Issues Related to Lane Sharing
Lane sharing liability may seem obvious when an applicable law is broken, but it’s worth noting that the defendant may attempt to avoid liability by arguing that their negligent violation of the law did not actually “cause” your injuries. If the circumstances show that the accident would have occurred regardless of the defendant’s misconduct, then they might be able to avoid liability.
It should also be noted, however, that you can impose liability on a defendant even when they have abided by lane sharing laws. For example, Pennsylvania law allows for two motorcycles to ride side-by-side in the same lane. All operators must be cognizant of their surroundings and whether such behavior is safe given the circumstances. If weather, traffic, roadway, or other conditions have made it unsafe to operate two motorcycles side-by-side, then doing so will constitute negligence, and could give you a right of action against the defendant.
Consult an Attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC for Guidance
Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our team of attorneys has decades of experience representing personal injury plaintiffs in Pennsylvania, including those who have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Over the years, we have handled a significant variety of cases, having litigated claims that center around complicated liability issues, such as motorcycle lane sharing. Fortunately, our commitment to the provision of truly detail-oriented and comprehensive legal service has given us the tools necessary to effectively navigate such disputes and secure full and adequate compensation on behalf of the client.