While it may be legal in other states, the act of riding a bicycle or motorcycle between defined lanes and rows of ongoing traffic traveling in the same direction, otherwise known as lane-splitting, is illegal in Louisiana.
Also known as “white lining” and “stripe-riding,” and not to be confused with the term “lane filtering,” lane splitting is a method used by motorcyclists who are trying to bypass traffic. While popular amongst motorcycle riders, it is believed by many to lead to an increased risk of causing a car or motorcycle accident.
The Louisiana Highway Regulatory Act (RS 32:191.1) outlines the rights granted to motorcycle riders on the road. Section B states, “No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.” Police are the only exception to laws against lane-splitting in Louisiana, and they are only omitted from such restrictions when they are on duty. In addition, an individual can be fined $200 or sentenced to serve 90 days in jail if charged with lane-splitting.
The Dangers of Lane-splitting
There are various reasons why lane-splitting in Louisiana is very dangerous. Listed below are just a few of the risks:
- Speed: Motorcyclists splitting lanes tend to go faster than the vehicles surrounding them, increasing the likelihood and severity of accidents.
- Blind spots: Many people tend to forget that vehicles have blind spots, and in the event a motorcycle is in that spot and the car tries to switch lanes, a direct and likely deadly collision will occur.
- Traffic: Lane-splitting is especially dangerous during traffic time. Combining the unpredictability of stop-and-go traffic with the increased number of vehicles increases the chance of a crash.
What is the Difference Between Lane-Splitting and Lane-Filtering?
The main difference between lane-filtering and lane-splitting is the other vehicles’ state of motion.
Lane-filtering is the act of riding a motorcycle between two vehicles that are at a standstill to get to the front of traffic. Motorcyclists typically use this practice at intersections with stop lights where traffic tends to pile up. Lane-splitting is the act of riding a motorcycle between lanes of vehicles moving at higher speeds.
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