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Is Lane Splitting Legal in Illinois?

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Posted on February 29, 2024

Lane splitting is the process of motorcycle riding between two vehicles that are stopped, often through two lanes of stopped traffic. This is a risky form of driving a motorcycle and should not be done when it is avoidable. In Illinois, some forms of lane splitting are illegal.

What You Should Know About Lane Splitting

According to Illinois statute 625 ILCS §5/11-703(c), a two-wheeled vehicle is not allowed to pass between two vehicles simultaneously, including motorcycles. Lane splitting is the practice of moving your motorcycle forward through slower-moving or stopped traffic in the same direction. 

However, there is one exception to this. When motorcycles are operating side-by-side on a three- or four-lane highway, it is allowable for the motorcycle to pass between vehicles as long as they remain within their own lane.

Violations of lane splitting under Illinois law can include fines and a Class A misdemeanor charge. If there are injuries that result from an accident brought on by lane splitting, a person may face a higher charge of a Class C felony. This could involve jail time as a consequence.

Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Accidents

If you are in a motorcycle accident and were lane splitting when it occurred, it can impact your ability to receive compensation in your case. Lane splitting, in most cases, is illegal, and therefore, it may have been the cause of the accident. If that is the case, and you are charged with reckless driving as a result, you may find it hard to obtain compensation for your losses. You may have some or all of the fault in your case.

There are situations where that is not the case, though. If you can prove that the accident occurred due to the negligence of the other driver and that lane splitting was not the cause of it, then you may still be able to obtain compensation for the loss. However, under the state’s laws, you may be found to be under 50% responsible for the incident. If you are found to be above this, under the state’s contributory negligence law, you may not be able to file a claim for the losses you have.

Is Lane Splitting Safe?

According to a study conducted by the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center at the University of California Berkeley in 2015 titled Motorcycle Lane-splitting and Safety in California, lane splitting reduces the risk of certain types of accidents.

The study found the following:

  • Motorcycle riders were less likely to be involved in a rear-end collision when lane splitting compared to those who do not practice lane splitting (2.6% vs. 4.6%)
  • Motorcycle riders who practice lane splitting were half as likely to suffer a brain injury compared to those who do not practice lane splitting (9% vs. 17%) 
  • Motorcycle riders were roughly one-third less likely to suffer an injury to their torso (19% vs. 29%)
  • Fatalities were also reduced for those who practice lane splitting compared to those who do not (1.2% vs. 3.0%)

What to Expect in Your Motorcycle Accident Case

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, your first step needs to be to contact our attorney. Allow our legal team to begin investigating what occurred and how it happened. We will then work to find any evidence that can support your claims and prove that the other driver was mostly or fully to blame for what occurred. With our experience, we can help you uncover opportunities to increase your ability to receive compensation.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Though lane splitting is essentially illegal in Illinois, if you were involved in a motorcycle accident that someone else caused, we encourage you to contact our attorneys to schedule a free consultation. At Holley Rosen & Beard Attorneys at Law, we work hard to ensure our clients receive the compensation they are owed.