motorcycle lane-splitting

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Chicago?

Like all big cities, traffic in Chicago can be brutal. Have you ever been in slow-moving or stopped traffic and seen a motorcycle weaving between lanes of stopped cars? That’s called lane splitting and it’s illegal in Illinois except in certain circumstances. While motorcycle riders claim lane splitting is a safe and efficient way for them to navigate traffic, others consider it dangerous both for the riders and others on the roads.

There were around 284,000 motorcycles registered in Illinois in 2021. The combination of heavy traffic congestion and a high volume of motorcycles is going to result in some accidents. If the motorcyclist is lane splitting, the chances of an incident could increase. 

An undeniable bias exists against motorcycles and their riders but they have as much of a right to safely share the road as other vehicles. If you were involved in an accident on your motorcycle and have been accused of lane splitting, consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney for advice. 

Lane Splitting under State Law

In Illinois, a motorcycle is not allowed to pass two vehicles at the same time. Meaning that the rider can’t pass two vehicles that are on each side of them. 

However, state law does allow for an exception in situations of side-by-side riding for three and four-lane highways. This type of lane splitting, where motorcyclists pass vehicles while remaining in their own lanes is acceptable.

If a motorcyclist is violating the lane splitting law, they can be ticketed and charged with a misdemeanor. If the lane splitting caused an injury to someone else, they may be subject to a felony charge and even possible jail time. 

When Lane Splitting Causes an Accident

What happens if you lane split on your motorcycle and cause an accident where you are injured? In Illinois, recovering compensation for your injuries may be challenging. This would be the case even if another driver contributed to the accident. 

Why? Because in Illinois the legal concept of contributory negligence applies to personal injury cases. Under this doctrine, if you are found to be 50% or more to blame for the accident you will not be able to recover any damages. If there is another party involved, they could potentially file a claim against your insurance for their expenses. 

However, if you are found to be less than 50% responsible for causing the accident, you may still recover an amount that tracks with how much the other party was at fault. Let’s say the other party involved in the accident was 75% at fault. If your total damages were $100,000, you will receive $75,000. 

This is why it’s smart to hire an experienced motorcycle attorney to aggressively represent and defend you. Your attorney will attempt to prove that the other party was more liable than you for the accident. 

Call a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorney for a Consultation

Were you involved in an accident on your motorcycle? You may be dealing with serious injuries, property damage, and potential missed time from work. It will be important to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side. They will assess the facts of your case and guide you on the best path forward.