When you drive your motorcycle down the Oklahoma highways, it’s tempting to think about passing the other vehicles stuck in traffic by riding along the lane line, in a practice known as “lane splitting.” However, lane splitting is illegal in this state, and in most others across the nation.
At Martin Jean & Jackson, our motorcycle accident lawyers are committed to helping motorcyclists who become injured in a serious accident. Of course, it’s also important to observe basic safety principles and regulations when out on the road -- and in this post, we’ll touch on some of the reasons you should avoid lane splitting.
Why Is Lane Splitting Illegal?
Lane splitting is not legal in Oklahoma, in fact, California is the only state where lane splitting is allowed. Oklahoma Statute §47-11-1103 explicitly forbids lane splitting for motorcycles, as well as motorized scooters, electric bicycles, and any other vehicles that could feasibly pass between lanes on the freeway.
Only police officers and emergency responders are allowed to perform this motorcycle maneuver, and if law enforcement catches you splitting lanes, you can receive a traffic ticket and driving record points for the offense
Most states have similarly clear laws against lane-splitting, with the notable exception of California, along with a handful of other states that do not actively regulate it. Although motorcycle advocates claim that lane splitting is more eco-friendly and reduces the risks of serious rear-end accidents, the truth is that lane splitting also reduces rider visibility. Even worse, it increases the likelihood of multi-vehicle collisions, which are often the most costly and dangerous accidents.
Can I Still Seek Compensation After Lane Splitting?
Let’s say you’re in a hurry one morning and decide to disregard the Oklahoma lane-splitting laws. However, in spite of taking other safety precautions, you’re struck by a car that is changing lanes without proper signaling, and you sustain multiple life-threatening injuries in the process. Can you still pursue compensation from the other driver to cover your medical costs?
The generally-accepted answer is yes, you can still bring a lawsuit against the negligent driver. However, your success in that suit will vary dramatically depending on the details of your case. Because Oklahoma observes the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence,” multiple parties can be considered at fault in a motorcycle accident, but your total share of the compensation will be reduced based on your own liability. That’s why it’s important to review your situation with a seasoned motorcycle attorney first and find out whether you have a case at all.
Get the Compassionate Legal Counsel You Need
At Martin Jean & Jackson, we can stand behind you with more than 100 years of combined legal experience. No matter how you sustained your motorcycle injuries, the damage can be costly and even permanent in some cases. If another driver’s negligence contributed to those injuries in any way, we’re committed to helping you seek justice, and setting your mind at peace for the future.
Call us today at for a consultation in Stillwater, Ponca City, and Tulsa.