Some people continue to be confused by laws regulating how motorcycles can be used on the road, and sometimes this confusion extends to motorcyclists themselves. One particular area of confusion is the practice of lane splitting, which is when a motorcycle travels down the broken line between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic traveling in the same direction.
Lane splitting advocates argue it allows them to ease traffic congestion, while detractors say the practice increases the chance of accidents.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, whether you were lane splitting or not, it’s important to get help from a skilled, assertive motorcycle accident lawyer at Parnall Law. We’ll help you determine who was really at fault for your injuries and seek compensation to hold them accountable.
Hurt? Call Bert! To schedule your free initial consultation, call Parnall Law today or visit our contact page.
Where Is Lane Splitting Legal?
While motorists, state governments, and others continue to debate the practice, at the moment lane splitting is currently illegal in almost all of the United States – including New Mexico. The sole state where lane splitting is allowed is California.
California law allows lane splitting only when the surrounding traffic is moving at 30 mph or less, and even then, motorcyclists can only go up to 10 mph faster than the traffic around them.
What’s the Difference Between Lane Splitting and Lane Sharing?
Lane sharing is when two motorcycles ride next to each other in the same traffic lane. Lane sharing is allowed in New Mexico and most other states, though no more than two motorcyclists can share a lane.
Lane splitting is also distinct from filtering, which is when a motorcycle moves between traffic to reach the head of the line at a stoplight, stop sign, or similar intersection.
Motorcycle Laws in New Mexico
All motorcyclists in New Mexico need to be sure they’re following the state’s laws regarding insurance coverage, safety equipment, rules of the road, and so on. Here are some of the most important laws to know if you’re a motorcyclist in New Mexico:
- There are certain minimum insurance requirements for motorcyclists in New Mexico. Every motorcyclist must carry a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for the injury or death of one person in an accident; $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more people; and $10,000 for property damage.
- Motorcycle licenses are separate from standard driver’s licenses in New Mexico, and there are different licenses for different age groups. The first is a Class M 13+ License, which is for drivers age 13-15 and only allows riders to operate motorcycles with 100 cc or smaller engines. The second class is the Class M 15+ License, which is for drivers age 15-18. This class of license requires a parent’s signature to be issued, riders are required to wear helmets, and passengers are not allowed. Finally, a Class M 18+ license is for drivers age 18 or older. All three classes of motorcycle license require a road test. A motorcycle safety course is required for riders younger than 18, but it’s also strongly recommended for those over 18.
- Helmets are required for anyone under age 18 who’s riding a motorcycle. Helmets must meet the U.S. Department of Transportation safety standards. Motorcyclists can be issued fines if they are caught not wearing a helmet.
- Turn signals are required for all motorcycles. If your signals do not work, you must use hand signals to indicate where and when you’ll be making a turn.
- There are noise ordinances that govern how loud motorcycles can be as they’re traveling. In Albuquerque, motorcycles cannot be louder than 82 dB when moving at 40 mph or under, and they cannot be louder than 86 dB when moving over 40 mph.
Can I Get a Ticket for Lane Splitting?
As lane splitting is still illegal in New Mexico, motorcyclists who are caught engaging in the practice can be ticketed and issued a fine.
If My Lane Splitting Didn’t Cause the Crash, Could I Get Compensation?
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and were splitting lanes, but your actions didn’t cause the crash, you could still be able to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. New Mexico uses a comparative negligence system for personal injury claims (like those related to motorcycle accidents), which means that any damages are awarded based on the percentage of fault for everyone involved.
For example, if two cars crash into each other and one driver was above the legal limit and caused the crash, the drunk driver will likely be held responsible for 100 percent of the damages. However, if the other driver was speeding, then maybe the speeding driver is responsible for 10 percent of the crash. This means that if the driver who was speeding sued the drunk driver for damages, their damages award would be reduced by 10 percent.
When it comes to lane splitting, you could face fines or other penalties because of your actions in the event of a crash. As far as compensation in a civil suit goes, though, you could still recover compensation if you can show your actions were not what caused the crash. Speak to a motorcycle accident attorney to learn more about what compensation you could recover for your injuries.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Because there are special rules for motorcyclists in New Mexico, when accidents happen, you need to get help from an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. At Parnall Law, we’re well-versed in the intricacies of motorcycle accident claims, and we want to help you recover the compensation you’re entitled to. Motorcycle accidents can cost a great deal in medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. We want to help you get back on your feet.
To set up your free initial consultation, call us today or visit our contact page.