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Motorcycle Lane Splitting in Colorado

Posted on: August 15th, 2019

Traffic can sometimes seem like it’s the bane of your existence. When the daily commute starts to feel like an eternal slog, the desire to drive a little recklessly in order to get where you’re going faster can rise significantly. But if you’re driving a motorcycle, and considering lane-splitting in order to arrive at your destination sooner, you may want to think twice before zig-zagging your way through slow or stopped traffic. Here’s why (not the least of which is it is dangerous and we want you to avoid being a motorcycle crash victim).

What is Motorcycle Lane Splitting?

Lane-splitting is the practices of driving between two lanes in slow or stopped traffic to maneuver around congestion. It’s also known as “whitelining” or “stripe-riding” and you’ve probably seen motorcycles do this. It’s important to note that though this is sometimes called lane-sharing, it is not the same as co-riding or lane-sharing as it pertains to two motorcycles riding side by side in a single lane.

Is Lane Splitting Legal In Colorado?

There are countries where lane splitting is the norm, but in the United States, it’s generally regarded as more dangerous than not. Furthermore, the only state where it is explicitly legal is California. In Colorado, specifically, the law states “Passing or overtaking a vehicle in the same lane is illegal in Colorado; no lane sharing or splitting with cars. However, motorcycles can share a lane or ‘co-ride’ with one other motorcycle.” So, yes, it is illegal. And this plays into the dangers of the practice as it limits your ability to defend yourself if you are a motorcycle driver involved in an accident where you were lane-splitting at the time of the collision.

What Are the Dangers?

But there are other dangers involved with the practice, too. When you’re in congested traffic situations, it’s important to be cautious. Lane-splitting, when you are potentially in another vehicle’s blind spot, could lead to serious injury. If the traffic congestion eases while you are splitting lanes, there is a much greater likelihood of a collision. And as with all situations, disobeying traffic laws increases your level of danger on the road. For drivers of non-motorcycles, it’s important to keep your eyes out for motorcycles when you’re driving. Maintaining awareness of your surroundings could help save a motorcyclist from being put in a position where they feel they have to lane-split in order to avoid being hit.

It’s clear in the law that splitting lanes is illegal in Colorado, and liability in collisions involving lane-splitting can get complicated fast. That’s why it’s best to avoid those situations under as many circumstances as possible. If you’ve been in a collision, as a motorcycle driver, and are left with injuries and questions, give us a call. We can help you understand your personal injury case and your options more fully.

Brian Pushchak | Personal Injury Law Firm Denver, CO
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