Motorcycle enthusiasts love the freedom of riding on the open road. However, when faced with traffic congestion, this perk is lost. Motorcyclists have developed various techniques to navigate through traffic, some of them legal and some bending the rules of the road. One of these approaches is lane sharing.
Lane sharing is when two motorcyclists ride side by side in a single lane. Sometimes lane sharing is confused with lane splitting, lane filtering, and shoulder surfing. However, these riding practices are different.
In Colorado, it is unlawful to pass or overtake a car in the same lane. Sharing or splitting lanes with cars or trucks is strictly prohibited. However, motorcycles are allowed to share a lane or ride alongside, or “co-ride,” with one other motorcycle.
Often, the safety and legality of lane sharing are highly debated topics. Most opposition against lane sharing comes from concerns about road safety leading to motorcycle accidents. Having a thorough understanding of motorcycle laws and safe driving techniques is crucial for staying safe on the streets of Colorado Springs.
What is Lane Sharing?
Lane sharing refers to two motorcycles riding alongside each other. It sometimes is talked about in the same terms as some other driving techniques, as outlined below:
When two motorcycles ride alongside each other.
Also known as “white lining,” this is when a motorcycle rides along the line between moving vehicles.
When a motorcyclist advances between slowed or stopped vehicles.
Riding outside the flow of traffic on the shoulder of the road.
Is Lane Sharing Legal in Colorado Springs?
In Colorado Springs, riding side by side in a lane with one other motorcycle is not prohibited by law. The state statute allows for two motorcycles to ride next to each other, but no more than two are allowed to share a lane at a time. It is not allowed for a motorcyclist to pass another type of vehicle such as a car or truck inside the same lane.
However, the state of Colorado has just implemented a new bill to look into whether the practice should be made illegal. During the regular legislative session of 2023, Colorado Bill HB23-1059 was proposed with the goal of studying the safety of motorcycle lane splitting.
Is Sharing A Lane in Colorado Springs Dangerous?
Opinions on the safety of lane sharing are divided. Some believe it is unsafe, while others argue that it improves road safety. Previous studies on the safety of lane sharing have yielded mixed results. El Paso County residents should keep an eye out for the results of the upcoming study that will result from Bill HB23-1059.
The main danger for a motorcyclist comes from being struck from behind or from the side due to lack of visibility. Advocates of lane splitting argue that this practice reduces the chance of being rear-ended. Those against it point out the dangers posed by cars changing lanes.
“When accidents occur from lane splitting, the motorcyclist will be on the losing side,” Sergeant Troy Kessler of the Colorado State Patrol recently said. “Whether a rider strikes a car side mirror, runs into a car, or travels too fast when a motorist attempts to change a lane, riding predictably helps everyone’s safety on the road.”
What Kinds Of Accidents Happen From Lane Splitting?
Accidents that can happen from lane splitting include:
Collisions With Motorists
Since lane splitting involves riding between vehicles in adjacent lanes, there is a risk of colliding with motorists who may not expect a motorcycle to be passing them.
When people change lanes without checking their blind spots, they may inadvertently collide with a motorcycle that is lane splitting.
If a parked vehicle suddenly opens its door without checking for approaching motorcycles, it can cause a serious accident for the rider who is lane splitting.
Sudden Lane Changes
Some drivers may make sudden and unpredictable lane changes without signaling or checking for motorcyclists, leading to potential collisions.
Abrupt Vehicle Movements
A motorist abruptly changing speeds or abruptly braking can startle a motorcycle rider who is lane splitting and result in a collision.
Lane splitting increases the risks of encountering road debris, potholes, puddles, or uneven surfaces like railway tracks that can cause loss of control and accidents for motorcycle riders.
Lane splitting can sometimes give motorcyclists a false sense of invincibility or lead to aggressive riding behavior, increasing their own risk of accidents.
Safety Guidelines for Lane Sharing in Colorado Springs
If you choose to engage in lane sharing while riding your motorcycle, it’s vital to exercise caution and follow safety practices to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.
Maintain A Reasonable Speed
Avoid excessive speeds. They can endanger yourself and others on the road.
Proceed With Caution
Pay close attention to traffic conditions, including vehicle speed, space availability, visibility, and road surface conditions.
Stay Within The Flow Of Traffic
Only practice lane sharing when it will expedite traffic flow without compromising safety. Unexpected maneuvers by motorcyclists are what cause the most accidents.
Respect other road users’ space by giving them adequate room and avoiding sudden movements between lanes.
In the unfortunate event of an accident while engaging in lane sharing, reaching out to a Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney can provide you with proper guidance on your rights and any confusion about fault.
What Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents Qualify For Settlements?
It is important to note that the severity and types of injuries can vary significantly depending on factors like speed, level of protective gear worn by the motorcyclist, and impact location, among others. Settlements for motorcycle accidents vary greatly depending on the extent of injuries and associated damages. A Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney can help you understand what you qualify for. Usually, settlements cover medical expenses, loss of earnings or earning capacity, pain and suffering compensation, rehabilitation costs, ongoing care needs, etc.
Common injuries for settlements from motorcycle accidents include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Head injuries are common in motorcycle accidents, and TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage, resulting in long-term cognitive impairments.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can cause spinal cord damage, leading to paralysis or loss of sensation below the injury site.
Fractures and Bone Injuries
Motorcyclists often suffer fractures to limbs, ribs, pelvis, and other bones due to the high impact of collisions.
Internal Organ Damage
The forceful impact in motorcycle accidents can cause damage to organs like the liver, spleen, or kidneys. Internal bleeding may result and require surgical intervention.
Road Rash and Burns
Motorcyclists involved in accidents may suffer from road rash where their skin comes into contact with the road surface causing abrasions and serious deep wounds. Similarly, contacting hot engine parts or friction during an accident can lead to burns.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Ligament sprains, muscle strains or tears, bruises, and contusions are relatively common soft tissue injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents.
Emotional and Psychological Trauma
Experiencing a traumatic event such as a motorcycle accident can result in psychological distress such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or mood disorders.
Do I Have A Personal Injury Claim If I Was Lane Sharing?
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and wish to seek compensation, lane splitting can potentially impact your ability to recover funds. This applies to both motorcycle riders and drivers of other vehicles involved in the collision.
Colorado is an at-fault state. When you’re in a motor vehicle accident in El Paso County, you have the option to claim compensation from other drivers who contributed to the crash. A Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney can help ensure that you have the best chance at a successful claim. Certain conditions must be met to receive compensation for your losses:
- The other driver had a responsibility to drive safely.
- The other driver acted negligently, failing to drive with reasonable caution.
- The driver’s negligence directly caused the accident.
- You sustained injuries as a result of the collision.
In some cases, engaging in illegal lane splitting may be considered negligent, preventing a successful personal injury claim. Having an experienced Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney on your side can significantly impact your ability to receive compensation.
How Does Colorado Springs At-Fault Law Affect My Case?
Colorado’s at-fault insurance laws affect motorcycle accidents that happen during lane sharing. Determining fault becomes crucial and you benefit from having a Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney defending your side. In Colorado Springs, being found at fault for an accident can greatly affect you when it comes to insurance claims and compensation.
If a motorcyclist is deemed to be at fault for the accident while lane sharing, their insurance coverage and potential compensation may be impacted. This could result in increased rates, limitations on coverage, or even denial of a claim. On the other hand, if another driver is found to be at fault, the motorcyclist may be able to seek compensation through the driver’s insurance.
Under the comparative negligence law in Colorado Springs, fault and damages are assigned based on each party’s portion of responsibility. For example, think of a case where a motorcyclist is lane sharing and a driver suddenly switches lanes without signaling or checking their blind spot. This then causes a collision. In this case, both parties could share responsibility for the accident; each party will be assigned a specific percentage of fault.
Colorado Springs comparative negligence law allows injured motorcyclists who engaged in lane sharing to still seek compensation for damages caused by the other party’s negligence. Take into account, the amount of compensation they receive may be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
However, if the motorcyclist’s level of fault exceeds 50%, they may be prevented from recovering any compensation at all. This is due to Colorado’s modified comparative negligence rule. It is vital for anyone in this situation to talk to a Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney to understand the complex situation they’re in.
Contact a Colorado Springs Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today For a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and feel overwhelmed, remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Our dedicated team of Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorneys is here to offer support every step of the way. With our expertise and relentless advocacy, we aim to secure your rightful compensation. Take advantage of our free initial consultation to learn how a Colorado Springs motorcycle accident attorney can assist you in your case.