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Motorcycle Lane Splitting Accident Liability In Ohio

Lane splitting is a motorcycle riding maneuver that is supposed to save a motorcycle rider time, while in some cases protecting him from accidents with cars that are stopped in a traffic jam or in stop-and-go traffic. Lane splitting happens when a motorcycle rides in between lanes with cars on either side, while the cars are moving or stopped in traffic. In practice, lane splitting can be a dangerous tactic that can result in serious injuries and even fatalities and is illegal in most states except California. Any benefits to the rider that can be gained from lane splitting should be weighed against the serious risks of injury or death involved.

A lane splitting rider can get into an accident with a car by falling and getting dragged under the car’s wheels, or colliding with a car which may be changing lanes without necessarily spotting the lane splitting rider. Liability in these cases may sometimes be difficult to determine, but if the driver of the car was obeying all traffic laws, and not speeding at the time of the accident, the motorcycle rider is likely to be found liable for any injuries or damages caused in the accident. Liability may also be assumed, because the rider is breaking the law by lane splitting. While there is no specific law against lane splitting in Ohio, the move may violate other traffic laws. If there is an identified traffic-related law that the motorcycle rider was violating at the time of the accident, liability for the accident may be presumed to lie with him. However, the motorcycle rider may rebut the presumption to avoid liability.

If an insurance company determines that a car driver was partially at fault in the accident, (for example, by pulling into another lane too fast without a signal and into an oncoming motorcycle, driving while distracted, or carelessly weaving into other lanes), this could affect any proposed insurance settlement. This is similar to what would happen in a personal injury case, where the driver’s own conduct may diminish the compensation awarded.

Motorcycles, like cars in Ohio, are required to carry minimum amounts of insurance in order to legally operate on common highways within the state. The minimum insurance amounts that apply to motorcycles are the same as those for cars, $25,000 for physical or bodily injuries sustained by or death of one individual in any single accident, $50,000 for bodily injury sustained by or death of two or more individuals in any one accident, and $25,000 for property damage in any one accident. Both drivers and riders are generally advised to get higher levels of insurance if they can afford them because the costs of a serious accident usually exceed minimum limits.

Let Us Assist You

If you suffered injuries from a car accident with a motorcycle rider who was engaged in a dangerous or illegal maneuver on the road, you are entitled to compensation for any injuries and property damages you sustained. Contact experienced Columbus, Ohio car accident attorney Ed Schottenstein of Schottenstein Law Offices for a complimentary consultation. Call us TODAY at (614) 467-8474!