Traffic in New York is notorious for delays and gridlock. Motorcycles are smaller and therefore more agile than most passenger vehicles. That helps make them uniquely equipped to handle a traffic jam.
Motorcyclists can potentially maneuver in between vehicles, temporarily sharing a lane of traffic with one vehicle at a time. Experts call this form of driving lane splitting. Is it legal for you to do in New York?
New York and most other states do not allow lane splitting
New York is far from the only state that does not permit motorcycles to split lanes with other vehicles. A motorcycle should follow the same lane occupancy rules as other, larger vehicles.
There should only be one vehicle in a specific lane of traffic at any given time. Although slow-moving traffic can create very intense temptation to try lane splitting, a motorcyclist should remember that their safety is always more important than getting somewhere quickly.
Why is lane splitting dangerous?
When the person driving a motorcycle has proper skills, the actual process of lane splitting may not be inherently dangerous. They may be able to navigate between vehicles while maintaining perfect control over their own.
Unfortunately, the big problem with lane splitting is that it is unpredictable for other drivers. Motorcyclists often do it so quickly that they don’t use their turn indicators for more than a few seconds before each maneuver, if they use them at all. When drivers can’t predict what you plan to do, they could make mistakes that result in a serious crash.
Understanding and following state traffic laws can decrease your likelihood of getting hurt in a collision and make it easier to protect your rights if you do.