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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Is it Illegal to Drive Beside a Motorcycle?

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Is it illegal to drive beside a motorcycle in the same lane? Are there laws about this? Maybe you are one of the many drivers or motorcycle riders out there asking if driving beside a motorcycle in the same lane is illegal. Well, the correct answer to this question is a big yes. On the other hand, there are some exceptions in the traffic law or laws that you need to consider as a responsible motorcycle rider or motorcyclist. If you are driving beside a motorcycle, there are things you have to consider, such as:

Let the bike or riders utilize an entire lane

Let the motorist use half of or one lane

Drive on the shoulder beside the bike

Pass utilizing same lane as the motorcycle

A motorcycle is a full-size automobile with the same freedom or privileges as other cars on the road. It would be best if you give a motorcyclist the complete lane’s width, even if it might seem as if there is sufficient space in the traffic lane for a bigger privately-owned car and motorcycle. Keep in mind that the motorcycle needs space to maneuver or pass safely.

May is the time when a motor riders and motorcyclists like to ride motorcycles and hit the road. As the summer starts, some of you will be riding motorcycles. You need to know the differences between cars and motorcycles. Nobody wishes to be involved in crashes or accidents when riding in a car. Thinking about protection while driving your car can assist motorcyclists or drivers in keeping away from the collision.

If you’re not a motorcyclist, then you must begin by comprehending the dispute encountered by the motorcycle driver or motorcyclists. Motorcycles like other vehicles, also have the right to have complete use of the lane. A motorcyclist or motor riders often require the full width of the lane to respond and handle hazards like avoiding potholes or blasts of air from passing cars. Avoid trying to share a lane with motorcycles. You must respect its position and space in traffic. Below are lane share tips you need to consider when driving behind motorcycles.

Pay attention to blind spots

Pay Attention to Blind Spots

Before changing lanes, riders need to make a wide turn or maneuver in traffic, check your car’s blind spots to make sure a motorcycle isn’t in your path. To make sure you have a good view of the road, turn your head to check the blind spot visually. Don’t depend on side mirrors to show a full view of the whole area that surrounds your motor vehicle.

Keep Distance for Safety

If driving behind a motorcycle, you need to keep a safe distance. This gives bikers a signal in the event of a hazard and allows time to move or stop without causing a crash, especially with low-speed vehicles like lawn mowers and golf carts.

It’s highly suggested that other vehicle drivers or motorcyclists like you need to keep a distance of at least seconds from a motorcycle. Choose a fixed object close to the roadway and then count the seconds between once the motor passes and your car passes the object.

In case you count less than the suggested number between the time the motorcycle driver and truck pass the object, this means that you are driving fast. So, lower the speed to keep a four-second distance.

Always Use Turn Sign or Signal

When driving behind a motorcycle, see that you always utilize your car’s turn signals to inform or alert the motorcycle driver that you plan to change lanes or make a turn. Set off the turn signal a couple of seconds before changing lanes or turning to allow time for the motorcycle driver to see where you’re going and make necessary modifications to keep the same direction.

A motorcycle can lose control quickly if you are pressured to make an emergency turn, like instant maneuvering to keep away from a vehicle changing lanes. Utilizing a turn signal can help motorcycle drivers prepare for the change as well as stay safe.

Before Changing Lanes Check for Motorcyclists

Before moving to another way, take time to see approaching motorcycles. This is particularly true before cross-traffic or before making a left turn. If other vehicles turn left and then cuts in front of an impending motorcycle, the motorcycle driver might T-bone the other car as it does the turn.

Make sure to always check the blind spots for impending motorcyclists and allow enough time to ensure the driver knows that you plan to change lanes or turn left.

Avoid Driving when Distracted

Even if you have to be entertained, it is hazardous while driving behind a motorcycle. Motorcycle riders are often totally exposed or have small protection in case of crashes.

Distracted driving considerably lessens the reaction time and the capability to see instant changes in lanes or approaching danger on the highway. Suppose you’re driving behind a motorcycle and become distracted. In that case, you might fail to see the motorcycle coming to you until it’s too late.

To keep distracted driving at bay, you must switch your mobile device to silent, adjust the features of your car before you begin driving and limit talking with friends or eating food in your car. However, you must always be well-rested before driving and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Be Aware when Passing

It is legal to pass a motorcycle. Similarly, you would a car, assuming that you’re driving on the right side of the highway, enabling passing. But wind gusts resulting from an increase in speed as you go by could cause the motorcycle driver to become unbalanced and blow him off the highway. Always signal when passing a slow motorcyclist with the use of a left turn signal. Make sure you are moving slow or a reasonable distance away from the motorcycle before going back to your lane.

Bad weather and road conditions

Bad Weather Warning/Road Conditions

Bad weather conditions have a drastic impact on motorcyclists than it does on car drivers. Winter and rain can make it virtually impossible for motorcycle drivers or motorcyclists to travel safely. On the other hand, windy conditions can make it hard for motorcyclists to control their motorcycles or trucks on the highway. Also, keep in mind that the weather condition often minimizes your visibility and may make it difficult to see, causing an accident.

Keep in Lane

A motorcycle is legally allowed to its lane of traffic. In no case are you permitted to drive your car in a similar lane and a close immediacy to a motorcycle. Regardless of how small these cars are or how much extra space, there seems to be, sharing one way with a motorbike is a factor for potential crashes.

Is Lane Splitting Legal Based on Traffic Law?

California is the only state that legalized lane splitting. However, there are some states where it is not openly declared not legal. This state law or bill is now officially classified as a motorcycle ridden between lines of moving or stopped vehicles in the same lane, which includes both undivided and divided roads, highways, and streets. For more information on these laws, talk to some car accident law offices.

Currently, California is the lone state in the US to officially distinguish or legalize lane splitting, so it’s other names like lane sharing, filtering, and white lining that have diverse meanings in some other states. They have a bill regarding this lane splitting.

Lane Filtering: This happens when a motorcycle picks its way in stationary traffic or drives slower, like in a spotlight.

Lane Sharing: This covers two motorcycles riders in a single lane, either staggered formation or side by side.

White Lining aka Lane Splitting: A motorcycle driver or motorcyclist weaves between moving traffic at high speed, typically staying mainly on the lane splitting line. This kind of motorcycle riding is well-thought-out bad practice and one which lane splitters would usually condone.

The law of lane splitting is dangerous, so a healthy survival intuition best rules it. More importantly, when you are not confident about carrying it out, you don’t need to. Lane splitting eases congestion saves time as well as keeps motorcycles out of harm’s way. Lane splitting also keeps motor riders safe by reducing their chances of a rear-end crash. It assists congestion by efficiently getting rid of motorcycles from traffic lanes.

So, when riding a motorcycle and choosing to split lanes, keep in mind to keep alert, avoid instant changing lanes, keep within the security and safety speed limit. You need to treat other motorcyclists with courtesy and according to traffic law. If you are unsure of the legalities, contact personal injury law offices near you.

Motorcycles also have the right to use the lane fully. Often motorcycles required the entire width of lanes to respond to and handle risks like changing traffic, potholes, strong winds, and air blasts from passing motor vehicles. Avoid trying to share a lane with a motorbike.

Keep in mind that there’s no fender bender for motorcyclists. They are exposed. Many multi-car mishaps or crashes involving bikes or motorcycles cause fatal injuries or serious damage to a motor rider due to inattentive drivers or motorcyclists who are not aware of the law. It’s your responsibility as a vehicle driver to take extra caution like wearing a helmet and avoiding crashes and a bad driving record.


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