Motorcycle Lane Splitting: Legal in South Carolina?

Lane splitting is a common yet highly controversial practice among motorcyclists. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident while lane splitting, you may be unsure of what your next steps should be. Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm can help you explore your legal options in the aftermath of a lane splitting accident. To learn more, contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free consultation.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is the act of riding a motorcycle in between two traffic lanes moving in the same direction, usually on the white dashes that divide the lanes. This is generally done in areas of high congestion when traffic is slow-moving or completely stopped. It is a fairly common practice, with nearly two-thirds of motorcyclists admitting to using lane splitting to avoid traffic.

Lane Splitting Advantages

Proponents of lane splitting cite a few advantages as reasons for it to be legalized, including:

  • Improving safety – Some studies have found that when motorcyclists lane split, it reduces the risk that they will be rear-ended. It also allows them to escape if they find themselves trapped between two vehicles.
  • Improving traffic congestion – In high-traffic situations, allowing motorcyclists to ride on the stripes between lanes frees up space in the actual lanes for cars to move into, potentially improving traffic congestion.

However, lane splitting has been only minimally studied, so these advantages are not necessarily conclusive.

Is Lane Splitting Dangerous?

For all the proponents of lane splitting, there are also many people – including state legislators – who believe it is too dangerous to legalize. Opponents argue that even if lane splitting decreases the risk of rear-end accidents, it at least equally increases the risk of motorcycles being struck by cars as they change lanes, mainly because motorcycles are harder to see and cars will not expect them to ride along the stripe.

It is also possible that lane splitting will cause road rage in drivers who are frustrated by motorcycles passing them. Opponents also doubt that there are enough motorcycles on the road for lane splitting to make any improvements in traffic congestion. Again, very few studies have been conducted on lane splitting, so it is difficult to conclusively say whether it increases or decreases safety.

Is It Legal to Lane Split in South Carolina?

Despite its widespread practice, lane splitting is illegal in every state across the country except California. In some states, lane splitting is neither explicitly legal nor illegal, but South Carolina specifically bans the practice. However, South Carolina does permit two motorcycles to ride side by side within the same lane, another version of lane splitting. No bills have been introduced to legalize lane splitting in South Carolina.

What to Do in an Accident Involving Lane Splitting

If you are involved in an accident while lane splitting, do not assume that you cannot collect any compensation for your injuries just because you were breaking the law. South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that as long as you are found to have been less than 50% at fault for the accident, you could still recover compensation for your injuries.

After a motorcycle accident, you should seek immediate medical attention, take pictures of the accident scene, obtain contact and insurance information from the other driver, and then contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

How Our Lawyers Can Help You

At Schiller & Hamilton, we have been advocating for accident victims in South Carolina for more than two decades. When you hire us, we can immediately conduct an independent investigation of your accident. With the evidence we gather, we can then negotiate to seek compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

To learn more about how we can help you after a motorcycle accident involving lane splitting in South Carolina, contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free consultation.