I know in California, motorcycles are allowed to lane split. Can motorcyclists split lanes in Texas, too?
If you ride in Texas, you may believe "lane-splitting" should be legal. Lane-splitting is when you drive between two lanes of traffic. Even though it’s not mentioned in the state's motorcycle laws, it’s still illegal because Texas views motorcycles the same as cars.
According to the Texas Transportation Code: "An operator of a vehicle driving on a roadway divided into 2 or more clearly marked lanes for traffic shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane, and may not move from the lane unless that movement can be made safely."
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) takes all areas of biker safety very seriously. They also support making lane-splitting legal. They believe bikers face a number of dangers on the road from people driving cars.
When a biker is stuck in traffic, they have to deal with distracted drivers, heat and exposure to harmful fumes. If the traffic is moving at a very slow pace, they are at a greater risk of being hit by a car. They may also have to deal with unsafe road and weather conditions.
The AMA believes if bikers practice safe lane-splitting it can reduce their chances of being hit from behind, getting a head injury or being in a "fatal crash." A study done in California proved this is true.
It can also prevent engine damage to their bikes and reduce their exposure to harmful exhaust fumes from cars. It can reduce rider fatigue by allowing bikers to stay in motion instead of constantly braking in stop-and-go traffic. It may also reduce traffic in general by breaking up road congestion.
Lane-splitting is legal in the state of California. It’s been successful so far and has cut down the number of serious accidents and injuries. Other states are starting to show interest in making lane-splitting legal, which the AMA fully supports.
Senate Bill 442 has been introduced to legalize lane-splitting in Texas. The Bill, in part, proposes bikers should be able to do lane splitting in the right settings at a low-speed. This means "at a speed not more than five miles per hour greater than the speed of the other traffic; and in traffic that is moving at a speed of 20 miles per hour or less."