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Lane-splitting: Is it legal in Texas?

Lane splitting is simple: It's a tactic that motorcyclists use to pass traffic, generally when it's stopped and backed up. There may not be enough room for a car to move forward when a two-lane interstate comes to a stop, for instance, but a motorcycle can easily fit between the cars in both lanes.

Proponents argue that this is safe because the cars aren't moving anyway, and because it helps to reduce the road congestion. You don't have a bunch of bikes sitting in traffic and taking up space. It's also harder for motorcyclists to stop in traffic since they have to constantly put their feet down and hold the bike up. It's easy for a driver to spend an hour inching forward, stopping and starting, but it can be very hard for a biker.

So, is it legal? It's not. Only one state has made it legal, and that's California. It's technically considered illegal passing in Texas. If it's done very quickly or dangerously, reckless driving charges could also factor in.

Texas did attempt to make it legal in 2016. Senate Bill 288 was produced, and, had it passed, lane-splitting would have become legal in traffic going under 20 mph. It also would have said that bikers needed to go only 5 mph faster than the traffic around them. However, that bill never got out of committee and the Senate never voted on it. So, at this time, lane-splitting remains illegal.

This shows how important it is to understand all of the motorcycle laws and to adhere to them so that if another driver causes an accident, there's no way to say that you were at fault. You may then be able to seek compensation.

Source: Motorcycle.com, "Lane Splitting in Texas," accessed Nov. 30, 2017

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