Is Lane-splitting on a Motorcycle Legal in Wisconsin?
Lane-splitting on a motorcycle is not allowed under Wisconsin traffic laws. Unfortunately, this can make riding a motorcycle in slow-moving or stationary traffic more hazardous. Drivers are more likely to rear-end a motorcycle in stop-and-go traffic, and prolonged exposure to auto exhaust can damage the health of people on motorcycles.
Work with Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers to pursue compensation if you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident in Wisconsin.
Lane-splitting, also called lane filtering, traffic filtering, lane sharing, or white lining, occurs when a motorcyclist rides their motorcycle between two lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction. Motorcyclists usually perform this maneuver when traffic flow is slower than usual. Lane-splitting doesn’t apply to a road with a single lane in each direction.
According to the American Motorcycle Association, traffic congestion poses one of the most significant risks to motorcycle riders on the highway. Inattentive drivers and environmental conditions make collisions more likely. Some benefits of allowing lane-splitting include:
- Riders spend less time in congested traffic, reducing exposure to exhaust
- Reduces traffic congestion for BOTH motorcycles and cars
- Motorcycle riders have less risk of rear-end collisions
- Shorter transit times for all motorists
Lane filtering is widely accepted in Europe and Asia. Germany is the only EU country to limit lane-splitting to stopped traffic. One European study showed only 0.4% of motorcycle accidents happened due to lane-splitting.
Opponents of white lining say there are too many dangers and cite an American study from Berkeley that found wildly different results than the European one, stating that 17% of the motorcycle riders in the study were lane-splitting at the time of their crash. Some common risks to motorcyclists when lane-splitting include:
- Cars not signaling before making a lane change
- Arms hanging out of windows of passing cars
- Stopped cars opening doors
One thing to keep in mind about the discrepancy between American and European studies is the wide acceptance of the practice in Europe. Drivers in Europe are accustomed to lane-splitting and understand how to drive safely alongside motorcycle riders who are lane-splitting.
American drivers generally don’t receive a thorough education on traffic filtering. Most of the victims in the Berkeley study were young motorcycle riders, suggesting that lane-splitting can be made safer with more education for all drivers and for riders.
Lane filtering could save you from a rear-end collision if you are on a motorcycle. Rear-end accidents can cause catastrophic injuries for riders, including:
- Traumatic brain injury: When rear-ended, the force of the impact may cause you to fall off your motorcycle and hit your head on the pavement. You can suffer traumatic brain injury even while wearing a helmet, although a helmet can do a lot to help reduce the severity of the injury and prevent fatal injuries.
- Spinal cord injury: Because you have no external protection on a motorcycle, spinal injuries are more likely than in a car. These injuries include impact and whiplash injuries, resulting in chronic pain and even paralysis.
- Burns: Burns can range from mild to severe, and result from contact with hot motorcycle parts, like the exhaust, or from friction burns from sliding on the road. If you’re wearing synthetic clothing, it can even melt into your skin in an accident.
- Broken bones and amputations: Bone fractures include small cracks and bones shattered into multiple pieces. Some fractures are too severe to repair, resulting in amputation. Amputation can also occur during an accident—for instance, if your arm or leg is pinched or separated from your body during a crash.
- Eye damage: In some rear-end collisions, you may sustain optic nerve damage or irreversible damage to your bones or eye tissue. This can happen due to the force of impact of the vehicle, hitting the pavement, or being thrown into nearby structures or vehicles.
- Organ damage: The lack of external protection increases the risk of organ damage. Internal bleeding from bruised or lacerated organs requires medical monitoring and possible intervention.
- Road rash: Road rash includes everything from mild abrasions to degloving injuries, where your skin separates from connective tissue and muscle. Degloving injuries are life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
Contact a motorcycle accident attorney at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers to file a personal injury claim if you’ve suffered one of these or any other injuries in a motorcycle accident.
A personal injury lawyer who knows motorcycle law can help you get maximum compensation from the at-fault driver. The qualified team at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers has experience negotiating with insurance companies and determining fair settlements for motorcycle accident victims.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer can help you receive compensation to cover your medical bills as well as compensate you for your physical pain and emotional suffering. They can also help you seek other non-economic damages, like loss of income, loss of function around the house, loss of the benefits of being in a relationship, and loss of enjoying usual activities because of your injury.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer will hold the negligent driver accountable for distracted driving or drunk driving and take their insurance company to court if they don’t offer fair compensation.
Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers will work tirelessly to get you the claim you deserve with a personal, compassionate approach. Protecting your rights is our biggest priority. Brian Hodgkiss is recognized by his peers for outstanding work and commitment to the spirit of the legal profession. You can bank on Brian.