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Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting Legal in Tennessee?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Jul 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

Although you have most likely encountered motorcyclists riding in-between lanes on Tennessee's roads, the practice is illegal in the state. As per Tennessee Code 55-8-182, no person should ride their motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjoining rows of vehicles. According to Tennessee law, it is also illegal for motorcyclists to overtake another vehicle in the same lane.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident with a lane-splitting motorcyclist, the experienced attorneys at Labrum Law can determine whether you have a case. You could potentially recover damages such as medical bills, income loss, pain and suffering, and others. Call us now to set up a free case review: (615) 338-9500.

What Is Lane-Splitting?

Lane-splitting, also sometimes called “white-lining” or “stripe-riding,” is riding a motorcycle between lanes of traffic. Lane-splitting tends to occur when motorcyclists pass vehicles between lanes, typically during a traffic jam or slow-moving traffic.

Data available on the safety of lane-splitting is somewhat inconclusive. While a report from the University of California Berkley suggests that lane-splitting can be “relatively safe.” Since lane-splitting tends to occur at speeds slower than 50 mph, injuries in accidents can be less severe. However, this applies to slow-moving traffic and motorcyclists not significantly exceeding the speed of other vehicles in traffic. According to the study, lane-splitting poses a greater risk when high speeds are involved.

Proving Negligence in Your Accident

Since motorcycle lane-splitting is illegal in Tennessee, a rider could be presumed at fault for a crash if the collision happened while they were lane-splitting. However, riding in-between lanes is not always the cause of an accident. Whether a motorcyclist was at fault for a crash that involved lane-splitting can depend on several facts of the accident, including whether:

  • The other driver was partially or wholly at fault for the collision
  • The motorcyclist was lane-splitting at the time of impact
  • The accident was caused by lane-splitting

Was the Motorcyclist Lane-splitting?

If you got involved in an accident with a motorcyclist and suffered injuries and damages, it will be important to establish fault or negligence clearly. Sometimes, what can look like deliberate and illegal lane-splitting can be part of another maneuver by the motorcyclist, such as:

  • Changing lanes
  • Returning into their lane
  • Avoiding an object or hazard on the road

In these cases, a motorcycle rider can end up temporarily riding between lanes, yet they may not be negligent in an accident as they did not necessarily violate any road laws.

Since it can be legally challenging to establish fault and recover compensation in lane-splitting accidents, consider consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer at Labrum Law who can walk you through your legal rights and options.

What Are the Dangers of Lane-splitting?

Drivers are generally not expecting to encounter motorcyclists between lanes, and riders could end up in a vehicle's blind spot. Lane-splitting can be dangerous for car drivers as well as motorcyclists, potentially causing serious side-swiping accidents. Lane-splitting, while legal in some states, is illegal in Tennessee and can be a risky and dangerous maneuver, potentially causing devastating accidents.

What Are My Next Steps if I Was Injured in a Lane-Splitting Accident?

Whether you are an injured motorcyclist or a vehicle occupant that suffered injuries and damages in an accident, you should take some steps right away to protect your legal rights. Seeking medical attention should be your first step, even if you feel fine. Delayed-onset injuries can be common in accidents. Seeing a doctor right away can also provide you with the necessary paperwork proving your injuries and damages.

Ensure to keep any evidence and documentation regarding the accident, which can include:

  • Photographs
  • Contact details of other drivers and eyewitnesses
  • Police accident report
  • Receipts of your out-of-pocket expenses
  • Medical bills

Consider Contacting a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Perhaps the most important step you can take after an accident, together with getting medical advice, is considering contacting a Tennessee motorcycle accident attorney to learn about your legal rights and the best course of action. If you have suffered significant injuries and damages, and have trouble recovering your due, talking to an attorney can be an important step to understanding all of your legal rights and options.

Can a Motorcycle Rider Recover Damages?

If you were a motorcyclist that was lane-splitting in an accident, whether or not you can recover compensation will depend on a number of factors, such as whether the other driver in the accident acted negligently. Moreover, if an accident happened unrelated to the fact that you were splitting lanes, you could have legal recourse and recover compensation.

Recovering damages can be legally complex if you violated the Tennessee statute by splitting lanes, which generally constitutes “negligence per se.” However, there can be circumstances in which you may still have legal recourse and could potentially seek financial compensation. An experienced motorcycle lawyer can assess your case and offer legal advice.

How Can a Tennessee Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?

Whether you are an injured car occupant or motorcycle rider, if you are the victim of another motorist's negligence and have suffered damages, you could be entitled to compensation. An attorney can help you in several ways, including:

  • Handling all communication with insurance companies
  • Gathering evidence to prove negligence and your damages
  • Calculating your current and expected future expenses
  • Fighting for your rights in court

A motorcycle accident lawyer can be your advocate, protect your legal rights, and ensure you are not getting shortchanged by the at-fault company's insurance company. If the insurance company does not agree to a fair out-of-court settlement, your lawyer can take your case to court and fight for what you deserve in the strongest possible terms.

Labrum Law Can Fight for Your Rights

If you suffered injuries and expenses due to another's negligence on the road, you do not have to go through getting justice on your own. Labrum Law can be here for you. We focus on personal injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents and understand the applicable laws and regulations. We can help you navigate the legal complexities of your case and fight tirelessly for what you need to put your life back together.

Our compassionate and responsive attorneys understand that accidents can be life-changing and traumatic. However, you can count on Labrum Law to stand up for your rights and best interests. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your accident: (615) 338-9500.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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