Is Lane Splitting Legal in North Carolina?

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If there are any ambiguities in a law, the insurance company will try to exploit them. One way that the insurance company tries to get the better of you is by trying to portray you as being at fault if you were lane splitting at the time of the accident. Lane splitting is not explicitly prohibited under North Carolina law.

If you have been injured in a lane-splitting motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. The insurance company knows that fact too. Work with the Wilmington motorcycle accident attorneys at Horton & Mendez who are prepared to fight for your legal rights at all times in your case.

The Difference Between Lane Splitting and Lane Sharing

By definition, lane splitting is not the same thing as lane sharing. North Carolina law does not allow a motorcyclist to share a lane with a car.

When lane splitting, the motorcyclist is riding down the middle of the lane. They may or may not be sharing a lane with a car. They may not firmly be in either lane at all. Insurance companies benefit when they confuse the two, trying to blame you for what happened.

Lane Splitting Is Illegal in Most Other States, Even Though it is Not Dangerous

There are only a few states that make lane splitting legal. Most of the rest prohibit the practice. The law should do everything possible to keep motorcyclists safe. Under that principle, lane splitting should not be legal because it may increase the risk of an accident.

However, other studies find that there are no increased dangers of line splitting under certain circumstances — for example, when the biker is traveling under 50 miles per hour, and they are not going more than 15 miles per hour faster than other traffic.

Most motorcyclists observe this condition, going less than 15 miles per hour faster. Lane-splitting riders are even less likely to suffer a head injury. However, lane splitting can be more dangerous on the highways and at higher speeds.

North Carolina Law Is Vague and Ambiguous When it Comes to Lane Splitting

North Carolina is not clear about lane splitting. Regardless of whether it should be illegal or not, that is not what North Carolina law explicitly says. It would be unfair to penalize a motorcyclist for a law that is not entirely clear. It states:

“A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.”

Lane Splitting Could Be Legal in North Carolina

Theoretically, North Carolina may allow lane splitting under certain circumstances. However, the law may also be read to prevent lane sharing. It would certainly be helpful if the law explicitly addressed lane splitting, as opposed to just sharing.

The problem is that there may be different interpretations of lane splitting since North Carolina state law does not really define the term. The motorcyclist cannot weave back and forth between lanes at will. A driver can move out from their lane when they see that it is safe to do so. The vagueness and uncertainty can cause issues for motorcyclists, both when they regularly operate their bike and when they are involved in an accident.

Police officers may have their own interpretations of the law. The problem is that you can not provide your own take on the accident report that you didn’t do something wrong, especially in regards to something not expressly prohibited by law. The officer could even give you a citation, which allows the insurance company to be much tougher on you.

The Insurance Company Will Always Try to Blame You for a Lane-Splitting Motorcycle Accident

The insurance company is almost always going to point the finger at the motorcyclist for what happened.

Regardless of what the motorcyclist did, the insurance company would claim that the law was broken, and the biker did something wrong. That’s when a lawyer steps up, who can defend you against the insurance company when they blame you.

A lawyer would need to provide their own evidence that you did nothing wrong in lane splitting at that moment. The insurance company does not get the final say, both about what your actions were and about how the law is applied. Then, much would be up to a judge as to how they interpret the law if you are forced to file a lawsuit.

You May Face a Crucial Battle When the Insurance Company Blames You

The problem is that North Carolina law is very favorable to insurance companies in many respects.

Different states take different positions about whether a driver who was partially at fault can receive any money in a motorcycle accident settlement. Some states even allow a motorcyclist to receive some money, even if they were mostly to blame for what happened.

North Carolina is at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. North Carolina uses pure contributory negligence law, which holds that you cannot recover any money if you were even partially to blame for the accident in any way. Thus, it is in the insurance company’s financial interests to argue that you bear even a small proportion of the blame. It is an all-or-nothing proposition under North Carolina law — either you get a full financial recovery or nothing whatsoever. That is why it is so crucial to get help from an aggressive motorcycle accident attorney who will pull out all the stops to get you what you deserve.

Let Our Wilmington Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Fight for You

If you or a loved one has been injured in a lane-splitting motorcycle accident, you need an attorney to advocate and stand up for you. There is too much at stake to place any trust in the insurance company.

The attorneys at Horton & Mendez know the tricks that insurance companies pull — we stood in their shoes once. To get us fighting for you, call us today at 910-405-7751 or send us a message online to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney.

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