As a motorcycle rider, you might regularly engage in lane-splitting to maneuver through traffic and attempt to avoid collisions, but traffic laws have deemed this practice illegal in Oklahoma. What happens if you split lanes while riding a motorcycle and get in an accident? Does this prevent you from recovering financially? Not necessarily!
Here are several potential scenarios where you can still be cleared of the majority of fault for an accident and collect financial compensation.
What Is Lane Splitting and Why Is It Illegal?
First, it’s vital to understand lane splitting and why it’s outlawed in Oklahoma. Lane splitting is defined as a motorcycle rider maneuvering their bike between stopped or slowed vehicles while sharing a lane with them. It’s sometimes called white lining because a rider might straddle the white painted line between the cars.
Another similar term is “lane filtering,” which is essentially the same practice, except it involves slower-moving traffic.
California allows for lane splitting, to address heavy traffic congestion and some of the highest freeway traffic volumes in the country.
About Comparative Negligence Laws in Oklahoma
The majority of states apply a comparative negligence standard in personal injury and accident cases where more than one person shares the blame for an incident. This legal standard allows accident victims to recover amounts that are proportional to their fault.
Comparative negligence can work differently across various states, but in Oklahoma, if you are found to be less than 50% at fault for a motorcycle accident, you can still receive financial compensation for your injuries and property damage, less the percentage that you were at fault. This principle holds true even if you were involved in illegal lane-splitting practices.
How Comparative Negligence Works When Recovering from a Motorcycle Accident
Let’s say that you split lanes and had a collision with a passenger vehicle. The other vehicle was traveling over the speed limit, and there was evidence that the driver was also distracted at the time of the crash because he was texting.
Even though you will likely be found partially at fault for splitting lanes, you may be able to get some compensation if the other driver was the predominant cause of the accident.
For example, if you sustained $50,000 in property damage and medical bills, and it was determined that you were 20% at fault, your damage award would be reduced by 20% or $10,000. As a result, you would get $40,000 in a judgment.
Ultimately, a judge or jury will decide the percentage of fault for a motorcycle accident, and that will affect your damage award. If, however, the court finds that you were 50% or more at fault for the accident, you won’t be able to collect anything from the other party or parties.
How Other Drivers or Riders Can Share Fault in a Lane-Splitting Accident
Lane-splitting does not automatically put you at fault for an accident, especially if it can be shown that the other driver or rider contributed to the crash. Driver behavior that could lead to sharing fault includes:
- Blocking a motorcycle from entering or using the lane
- The other driver is intoxicated
- The other driver is speeding
- Distracting driving (texting, talking, etc.)
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Oklahoma Today
Don’t let an accusation of lane-splitting prevent you from seeking compensation, especially if you believe that the other driver shoulders the brunt of the blame. At Bryan Garrett, PLLC, we will apply Oklahoma lane-splitting laws to the facts of your case and help you decide on an appropriate path to move forward. Please get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation.