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New Jersey Motorcycle Lane Splitting Safety

By Lependorf & Silverstein on September 5, 2016

motorcycle-speed_sxc1016169_60663855In the state of New Jersey, motorcycles are frequently used as the mode of transportation. Motorcycles make up roughly 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. Riders love the freedom, speed, and maneuverability of being on a motorcycle. Because they’re so nimble, and have a narrower profile than a car, motorcycles can navigate areas of the road that don’t accommodate full size cars. Motorcyclists often use this to their advantage when traffic is especially bad. Riders can split the lanes of traffic, maneuvering between the cars stuck in the traffic jam. This is called “lane splitting.” Another form of lane splitting occurs when motorcyclists move up through cars stopped at a red light. This is called “filtering.” Though motorcyclists can be seen lane splitting and filtering often, it’s only actually legal in the state of California. Despite the reckless appearance of lane splitting, it is actually safer for motorcycles to split lanes than most people think. Splitting lanes eliminates their chances of being rear ended in the case of a sudden traffic jam. The danger of lane splitting occurs when cars make sudden lane changes, unbeknownst to the rider approaching them from behind.

The reason lane splitting is illegal in most of the United States, is because of the inherent danger. Riders splitting lanes have a very narrow margin of error while splitting lanes. Even while they are abiding by the traffic laws, motorcycle riders are faced with many dangers on the road. In recent years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded that nearly 100,000 motorcyclists are injured, and 5,000 motorcyclists are killed in accidents each year. In 2013, 55 motorcycle deaths occurred in New Jersey alone. Motorcycle accidents account for nearly 15 percent of all fatalities annually.

Because lane splitting is technically illegal, New Jersey riders often find themselves in need of legal help in the wake of a lane splitting accident, even when lane splitting was the safer option. It is rare for lane splitting accidents to be caused by the motorcyclist involved. Even when the rider is not at fault, they can have a hard time defending themselves. Motorcycle accidents can be detrimental to those involved. Medical bills, physical therapy, and other damages can all weigh heavily on the victims. If you, or a loved one, were involved in a lane splitting accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. It is always recommended to undertake a case like this with the help of a qualified attorney. If you have any questions about the process, please contact the law offices of Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C.. We can be reached at (609) 240-0040.

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