Motorcycle Laws Protect Riders and Those Around Them

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Riding a motorcycle provides a unique sense of freedom out on the open road or even while traveling through urban areas. Motorcycles also present a set of dangers and hazards for the rider and others in the immediate vicinity.

Motorcycle riders must comply with traffic laws applicable to other vehicles on the road. Because motorcycles are smaller and narrower than the other vehicles they share the road with, there are some traffic laws that pertain specifically to motorcycles. Each state has additional laws and traffic regulations in place to help prevent accidents and injuries involving motorcycles.

Two of the more dangerous practices that pose risks to motorcycle riders and those around them involve lane splitting and child passenger restrictions.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting

What it is called and how it is regulated can vary from state to state. But whatever you call it, motorcycle lane splitting presents potential hazards drivers of all vehicles on the road.

Lane splitting is a time-saving maneuver motorcycle riders make by riding in between traffic lanes while traffic has slowed or stopped. It can be a safe way to avoid motorcycles from being rear-ended in traffic, and also takes the vehicles out of traffic lanes, which can ease congestion.

When performed at higher speeds, lane splitting involves a motorcycle weaving in and out of moving traffic. A common practice in high volume freeways and expressways in large metropolitan areas, this type of lane splitting poses a high risk of collision and personal injuries and is generally illegal.

Dangers of Motorcycle Lane Splitting

Potential dangers of motorcycles performing lane-splitting procedures during traffic flowing at higher speeds include:

  • No Room For Error: Lane splitting shortens the distance between vehicles, leaving little time to react when things go wrong.
  • Lane Change Safety: Other vehicles are often unable to see and anticipate motorcycles approaching between lanes, making lane changes dangerous and unpredictable.
  • Blind Spot: When a motorcycle splits the lanes and rides up through traffic, they go in and out of other drivers’ blind spots, making it far more difficult to avoid collisions.
  • Intersection Right-of-Way: Adding a motorcycle to the mix at intersections creates more confusion for the right-of-way decisions drivers must make to safely proceed.

Each state has different laws pertaining to motorcycle lane splitting abilities. Regardless of the individual laws, extra care and caution must be applied when motorcycles are maneuvering through traffic.

Child Passengers on Motorcycles

Kids enjoy the thrills of motorcycle riding every bit as much as adults. Done safely, children may ride as passengers on motorcycles by following safety precautions within the laws of local municipalities.

  • Reaching the Pegs: Passengers may only ride if both of their feet can reach the footpegs from the passenger seat. 
  • Helmet: Children must have properly sized, full-coverage helmet snugly strapped on. As they grow, kids will need to upsize their helmets to make sure they are properly protected. Jackets, boots, and knee guards offer added protection while riding shotgun on a motorcycle.
  • Position is Key: Children should never ride in front of the operator of a motorcycle. Passengers may ride only on the passenger seat or in a sidecar.

Know the Law

Each state has its own unique set of laws governing the riding of motorcycles. It is important to know the local regulations before hopping on a bike and heading out on the road.

At LegalInfo.com, we can help you find attorneys dedicated to motorcycle accidents and legal matters. Contact us today to locate a qualified lawyer in your area. 

 

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