Is it Legal for Motorcycles to Drive Between Cars?

More likely than not, you have been driving along the highway, or were stuck in traffic, when all of a sudden a motorcycle sped past you by driving between cars. While it might strike you as ridiculously unfair that the motorcyclist is getting to cut through traffic, or that it is incredibly dangerous for a motorcyclist to engage in this kind of driving, many drivers wonder if it is legal for a motorcycle to drive between cars in Nevada.

Some motorcyclists use the small size of their vehicle to swerve between cars in traffic to escape the gridlock. Other motorcyclists think that it is cool to zip through traffic. But motorcyclists who engage in this kind of behavior on the road place themselves and others at risk of being involved in an automobile accident.

Is it Legal for Motorcycles to Drive Between Cars in Nevada?

When a motorcycle drives between adjacent vehicles, and the motorcycle is not in its own lane, it is referred to as lane splitting, or filtering, because the motorcyclist is driving between two lanes and is filtering through the surrounding traffic. In some states, like California, it is legal for a motorcyclist to engage in lane splitting if traffic is stopped and the motorcyclist travels at a very low rate of speed, for example, less than 10 miles per hour. Lane splitting is also legal in other countries where the use of motorcycles as a mode of transportation is more common than in the United States.

However, in Nevada, lane splitting by motorcycles is illegal under NRS 486.351. The only exception is for law enforcement, who may engage in lane splitting on a motorcycle in the furtherance of their official duties. Although in the past, legislation has been proposed to change the law to allow for lane splitting by motorcycles in limited situations, no law bill has ever made it to law.

Not only is lane splitting illegal in Nevada, but is it also illegal for a motorcycle to overtake or pass another vehicle in the same lane of traffic. Although motorcycles have the same rights as other drivers on the roadways, motorcyclists have a duty to drive responsibly and safely when sharing the road with other drivers.

Motorcyclists who engage in lane splitting are in violation of the law and are putting other drivers at risk of being involved in a collision. Lane splitting is dangerous for the motorcyclist as well as other drivers on the road.

Lane splitting can be negligent conduct on the part of a motorcyclist that can result in an automobile accident. Motorcycles are often difficult for drivers to see, and when a motorcyclist is passing vehicles in-between lanes, it places the motorcyclist in a place where drivers do not expect to see him or her. If you have been injured in an accident involving a motorcycle that was lane splitting, you need to get into touch with an experienced Nevada personal injury lawyer. The team at Parry & Pfau is here to help you. Please contact us for a free initial consultation about your situation.

(image courtesy of Justin Lawrence)