Is Lane Splitting Legal in North Carolina?

December 12, 2023
By Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

North Carolina law doesn’t specifically refer to lane splitting. However, it does refer to lane sharing, which is actively discouraged. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) states that motorcycles need their own lane to operate safely. Further, it stresses that riding between rows of cars, stationary or moving, may leave them more vulnerable to an accident. If you are making a motorcycle accident claim, lane splitting or sharing could affect your right to recover compensation.

If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact us at Rhine Law Firm. Because North Carolina is a contributory negligence jurisdiction, it’s essential to work with a team of experienced attorneys who know how to fight for reasonable and fair compensation to cover your damages even if you are accused of splitting a lane at the time of the collision. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic. It is also known as lane filtering, stripe riding, or white lining. Bikers often do this in congested areas of traffic, weaving through rows of cars. Some will move up to an intersection and share lanes with cars and other bikers at a stop sign or red light. NCDOT, as noted above, has openly discouraged this practice. Instead, it recommends that motorcyclists remain in the center to ensure visibility to other vehicles. 

What Are the Dangers of Lane Splitting?

While the state does not explicitly ban the practice, NCDOT states that it is dangerous for the following reasons:

1. Drivers check their rearview mirrors more often than side mirrors. NCDOT acknowledges that drivers do not check their side mirrors as often as they should. This increases the risk of the driver hitting the biker if they need to change lanes, turn, or execute an emergency maneuver.

2. Property damage is likely. It is common for bikers to accidentally break side mirrors or scratch cars while squeezing through traffic.

Finally, North Carolina is a contributory negligence jurisdiction. This doctrine says that a person who was injured due to their own negligence – even if they are only 1 percent negligent — may end up being barred from collecting money damages from the party accused of causing the accident. If you split or share lanes and suffer injuries from a related accident, you could have a more challenging time proving liability.

Why You Need an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

The system is designed in favor of insurance companies rather than people with serious injuries. That’s why legal counsel is so strongly encouraged, especially in motorcycle accidents where riders already tend to be treated unfairly. You need a proactive team to advocate for you.

At Rhine Law Firm P.C., we don’t just check the boxes. Instead, we prepare each case for the possibility that it could go to trial. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer at Rhine Law Firm today and schedule a free consultation. Since we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront legal fees.

©2024 All Rights Reserved - Rhine Law Firm, P.C.