When riding a motorcycle in West Virginia, you must understand the state’s traffic laws to help keep you and others safe. Following the laws also protects your rights in the event of an accident.

One common question among motorcyclists is whether lane splitting is legal in West Virginia. This riding practice can be controversial. Some say lane splitting safeguards riders, while others say it puts riders and drivers at risk. If you’re involved in a lane-splitting accident, contact Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, to learn more about your legal options.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting, sometimes called lane filtering when traffic is stationary, is when a motorcycle travels between two lanes of traffic going in the same direction. Lane splitting differs from lane sharing, which is when two motorcycles ride side by side in the same lane. Lane splitting is illegal in most locations.

Is Lane Splitting Legal In West Virginia?

Lane splitting is not legal in West Virginia. West Virginia law states that drivers must operate vehicles entirely within a single lane and not move them until the driver has determined that it’s safe to do so.

Though this law does not explicitly mention lane splitting, it is generally interpreted as outlawing the practice. Therefore, if a motorcyclist is in an accident while lane splitting, they may be unable to recover compensation, depending on how much their actions contributed to the accident. In the worst cases, they may be primarily liable for motorcycle accidents.

Why is Lane Splitting So Controversial?

Is lane splitting safe? It depends on who you ask.

Lane splitting has supporters and detractors. Those favoring lane splitting argue that motor vehicle drivers can have difficulty seeing smaller motorcycles, especially in stopped traffic. By allowing riders to keep moving, lane splitting reduces the chances of a rear-end collision and allows riders to quickly maneuver out of high-traffic situations.

However, those opposed believe that lane splitting can confuse other drivers who are not used to seeing motorcycles travel between lanes of traffic. Lane splitting can also put motorcycles in other drivers’ blind spots. Motorcycle riders may get sideswiped when a driver attempts to pass or change lanes.

Liability for Lane-Splitting Accidents in West Virginia

Several parties may be liable in a West Virginia lane-splitting accident, including the motorcycle accident victim and passenger vehicle driver. But because lane splitting is illegal, a motorcyclist engaged in the practice at the time of a crash may bear more responsibility than they would if they hadn’t been lane splitting. However, in West Virginia, you are not barred from recovering compensation unless you are more at fault than everyone else who caused the accident. However, any amount you recover in a motorcycle accident claim will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Contact Our West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers for Help

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motorcycle collision, a West Virginia motorcycle accident attorney with Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, can help you explore your legal options. You may be entitled to financial support even if you were lane splitting. We can help you demand full and fair compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and more. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with a West Virginia personal injury attorney with experience handling motorcycle accident cases.