Is Lane Splitting Legal in Illinois?

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Is Lane Splitting Legal in Illinois?

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Motorcycle Accident

Riding a motorcycle offers a sense of freedom and excitement that few other modes of transportation can match. However, with this freedom comes the responsibility to ride safely and adhere to traffic laws. One contentious topic among motorcyclists is lane splitting. Understanding the legality and implications of lane splitting is crucial, whether it’s for beating traffic or simply enjoying the ride. This blog will explore whether lane splitting is legal in Illinois and what it means for motorcyclists.

What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting involves a motorcycle riding between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic at any speed. Though it may save time and provide convenience, this practice is considered risky and is illegal in Illinois.

According to Illinois statute 625 ILCS §5/11-703(c), operators of two-wheeled vehicles, such as motorcycles, mopeds, or scooters, are not allowed to pass between two vehicles simultaneously. This restriction means motorcyclists cannot ride between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. However, an exception exists for side-by-side riding on highways with three or four lanes, where motorcyclists can pass vehicles as long as they stay within their own lanes.

Violating the lane-splitting law can result in a citation and a Class A misdemeanor charge if no bodily harm occurs. If lane splitting leads to an injury, the charge can be elevated to a Class C felony, which may result in jail time.

More: What is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury in Illinois?

Can Lane Splitting Affect Your Settlement Outcome?

If you participate in lane splitting and end up in an accident in Illinois, it can significantly affect your ability to secure compensation. Even if the primary cause of the accident was another driver’s reckless actions, your choice to split lanes could complicate your legal situation.

For instance, your attorney might successfully argue that the other driver was at fault for abruptly changing lanes without signaling. However, the opposing lawyer will likely point out that you broke the law by lane splitting, indicating shared blame for the accident. This shared fault doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of receiving compensation but does make it more challenging.

A motorcycle accident attorney will work to prove that the other driver was more responsible for the accident than you. According to the principle of contributory negligence, if the court finds you to be 50 percent or more at fault, you will be barred from recovering any damages. Additionally, the other driver might file a claim against your insurance for their own damages. Therefore, while having an experienced attorney can be beneficial, engaging in lane splitting adds complexity to your case.

What Other Factors Affect My Motorcycle Accident Claim?

One significant factor is helmet use. Illinois does not mandate motorcyclists or their passengers to wear helmets. However, wearing a helmet is always advisable for safety. If you are injured in an accident while not wearing a helmet, you may still be eligible for compensation. However, the concept of contributory negligence will come into play. Your failure to wear a helmet could reduce the value of your claim, as it may be argued that your injuries were more severe because you didn’t take this safety precaution.

Other factors affecting your claim include the severity of your injuries, the extent of property damage, the clarity of fault, and the quality of the evidence presented. Medical records, witness statements, and accident reconstruction reports are crucial in building a solid case.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be a traumatic experience. Knowing the steps to take afterward can protect your rights and improve your chances of receiving fair compensation.

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, get a medical evaluation. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
  2. Report the Accident: Contact the police and file an accident report. This documentation is crucial for any legal claims you may pursue.
  3. Gather Evidence: If possible, take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your motorcycle. Collect contact information from witnesses and other involved parties.
  4. Avoid Admissions of Fault: Be cautious about what you say at the scene and to insurance companies. Admissions of fault can negatively impact your claim.
  5. Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer: Consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help protect your rights.

Let a Knowledgeable Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help You

At Pacin Levine, P.A., we are committed to providing compassionate support and vigorous advocacy in Illinois to protect your rights. If you need legal assistance following a motorcycle accident, our team is here to help. Call us at 312-239-3933 for a consultation.

Understanding the legal landscape of lane splitting in Illinois and the steps to take after an accident can significantly impact your recovery and legal outcomes. Stay informed, ride safely, and know that help is available if you need it.

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