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Fatal Motorcycle Accident Leads Indiana State Police to Warn Bikers About Lane Splitting

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2023 | Personal Injury

A motorcyclist’s fatal crash in early 2023 has led Indiana law enforcement authorities to call public attention to the dangers of lane splitting — that is, riding between two lanes of slower moving or stopped traffic.

The fatal crash occurred in March, when the motorcyclist was traveling eastbound on I-80/I-94 near Gary. The rider was passing vehicles along the skip line, which is the dotted line that divides lanes of travel. While attempting to pass a semi-truck, the biker made contact with the rear of the truck and lost control. The bike crashed and caught fire. The biker was pronounced dead at the scene.

When a motorcyclist is injured or dies in a crash involving lane splitting, it can be challenging for that rider or their family to get financial compensation. In Indiana, an accident victim who seeks compensation must prove that the accident was primarily the fault of the other driver. But because lane splitting is illegal in this state, resulting accidents are most often considered the fault of the motorcyclist. The relevant statute states that “a vehicle may not be driven or operated in a manner that deprives another vehicle of the full use of a traffic lane.” A motorcycle riding on the skip line or weaving around traffic is deemed to be limiting other vehicles’ rightful space, which constitutes negligence.

However, it is still possible for a motorcyclist injured in a crash to show that another driver’s negligence was primarily responsible. This in turn requires proof that the cyclist was driving safely. As experienced Indiana motorcycle accident lawyers, we encourage all bikers to follow the rules of the road. In addition to avoiding lane-splitting, they should observe these safety precautions:

  • Wear protective equipment and bright, reflective clothing.
  • Always wear a helmet and eye protection.
  • Drive with the headlight on.
  • Use turn signals when changing lanes and turning.
  • Check the motorcycle before each ride and do not ride if any equipment is not operating properly.
  • Look for road hazards. Be especially cautious around intersections, alleys, driveways and other areas where an animal, pedestrian or vehicle might be present.
  • Avoid riding in other vehicles’ blind spots.
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles. Never tailgate and leave enough time to react to unexpected movements from other vehicles.
  • When operating a motorcycle during inclement weather, slow down and use extra caution. Avoid sudden changes in direction or speed.
  • Never ride impaired.
  • Never perform wheelies or other tricks.

Motorcyclists injured in Indiana can get legal help from the experienced attorneys at the Cooke Law Firm in Lafayette. Please call 765-423-5628 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers.