Despite many traffic laws and safety regulations, motorcycles are still overrepresented in traffic accident statistics in the state of Washington. One of those traffic laws addresses the legality of lane splitting and whether a motorcyclist is allowed to engage in this practice or not. Learn what you need to know about lane splitting in Washington and see how an attorney can help you recover compensation for an accident even if you were lane splitting.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting or lane filtering is when a motorcycle travels between two lanes of traffic in order to pass slower vehicles. The motorcyclist takes advantage of the smaller size of the motorcycle and passes in the middle of two separate lanes of traffic. Lane splitting is not to be confused with when two motorcycles are riding next to each other.

The practice of lane splitting is rather dangerous, yet many motorcyclists prefer to use it because they perceive the ability of the motorcycle to travel between slower traffic as an advantage. Lane splitting is allowed in California but is illegal in many other states.

What Do Washington Traffic Laws Say About Lane Splitting?

In Washington state, traffic laws forbid anyone from operating a motorcycle between traffic lanes, adjacent lanes, or rows of traffic. Motorcycles are entitled to the full use of a lane and can drive no more than two abreast. This means lane-splitting is not legal in Washington state.

Other motorcycle traffic laws to be aware of are (1) motorcycles are not allowed to pass another vehicle in the same lane without using a passing lane; (2) it is legal to ride side by side with one other motorcycle in the same lane, but more than two motorcycles riding abreast is illegal.

Is a Motorcyclist at Fault for an Accident if They Were Lane Splitting?

If a motorcyclist was involved in an accident and later it was determined that the motorcyclist was lane-splitting, it is likely that person may be considered to be partially at fault for the accident because they were disrespecting traffic laws by lane-splitting. However, a motorcycle accident can be quite complex, so discussing your case with a motorcycle accident attorney is always best.

Can I Still Recover Compensation for an Accident if I Was Partially at Fault?

Washington state follows a comparative negligence rule, meaning you may still seek compensation for an accident even if you were partially responsible. Reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney to talk about your case and learn your options.