Lane splitting refers to the process of a motorcycle riding between two lanes of stopped traffic. In this case, we use “riding” loosely, as more often than not, motorcyclists who perform this maneuver are flying between lanes. Lane splitting is downright dangerous. For this reason, it is illegal in Illinois.
At Dwyer & Coogan, our Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys fight tirelessly on behalf of motorcycle accident victims for the compensation they need to recover after a particularly devastating accident. If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, regardless of the cause, contact our team for legal help today.
The Consequences of Lane Splitting
Per Illinois statute 625 ILCS §5/11-703(c), any person who is operating a two-wheeled vehicle such as a motorcycle, moped, or scooter may not pass two vehicles simultaneously. This means that riders may not pass two vehicles who are on their right and left. Illinois law, however, does provide an exception for instances of side-by-side riding for three and four lane highways. In such instances, motorcyclists can pass vehicles while remaining in their own lanes.
If a motorcycle operator violates this law, they may be ticketed and charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. This is only the case if the transgression does not result in bodily harm. If the motorcyclist’s actions do result in injury, however, the state could potentially upgrade the charge to a Class C Felony, which carries jail time.
Impacts to Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you split lanes in Illinois, and if your actions cause an accident in which you are injured, you will have a hard time recovering compensation. Even if your attorney can prove the other driver cut you off or was driving in a reckless manner which caused the accident, the defense will immediately look to the primary way in which you broke the law: splitting lanes. Because you too were in violation of the law, you automatically share a portion of fault for the accident.
In a lane splitting case defending the motorcyclist, the end goal would be to prove that the defendant was more liable for the incident than you. If you cannot prove this, and if the courts decide you were 50 percent or more liable for the incident, you will be barred from recovery. Moreover, the defense then has the opportunity to sue you for compensation for their damages.
Involved in a Motorcycle Accident in Illinois?
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in Illinois, there are certain steps you should take to increase your odds of recovering compensation. These include the following:
- Contact the police, as a police report is often the best evidence a person has
- Refrain from admitting fault or apologizing to anyone for the incident, as insurance companies will take this as your acceptance of liability
- Obtain medical care immediately, as your medical records from right after the incident are your second most important piece of evidence
- Document evidence at the scene of the accident via writing, photographs, and video
- Get the contact information of the other party’s insurance company, provide your own insurance company with the information it needs to start your claim (and only that information), and remain mum until you speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident, reach out to the knowledgeable attorneys at Dwyer & Coogan right away. Regardless of your perceived reason for the incident, there is always the possibility our investigations can reveal that the other party was more at fault than you. Schedule a free consultation today.