July 20, 2021

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Wisconsin?

Also known as white lining, lane splitting is the act of riding a motorcycle between lanes or rows of stopped or slow-moving traffic moving in one direction. In Wisconsin, lane splitting is illegal. In fact, California is the only U.S. state to allow lane splitting; the practice is currently prohibited throughout the rest of the country.

Lane splitting may result in an accident with injuries. This is one reason why lane splitting is illegal in almost all states. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving lane splitting, whether you were riding a motorcycle or driving a car, it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer promptly to discuss your rights and legal options.

The seasoned attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC have substantial experience in a wide range of motorcycle accident cases. We have helped accident victims throughout Wisconsin for decades and we can work diligently on your behalf to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries.

How Does Lane Splitting Affect Compensation in a Motorcycle Accident Case? 

Under Wisconsin’s contributory negligence law, there are certain actions taken by motorcyclists that can reduce their compensation after an accident, or prevent them from recovering any damages at all.

In Wisconsin, you may not recover damages for injuries incurred in a wreck if you are more than half at fault for the crash that caused them. Even if you are found 50 percent or less responsible for a collision, the proportion of your responsibility in the accident is reflected in the amount of compensation you can obtain. For example, if the court determines that you are 25 percent responsible for the crash, then the amount of damages you can recover is reduced by 25 percent. If you are found more than 50 percent responsible, you may not recover any damages.

If you were lane splitting when your accident occurred, the court may determine that your illegal behavior contributed to your accident and subsequent injuries.

Can Two Motorcycles Share a Lane in Wisconsin?

While the Wisconsin Department of Transportation highly recommends riding motorcycles in a staggered formation, it is legal for two consenting motorcyclists to ride side by side in a single lane.

The average traffic lane is roughly 12 feet wide and can fit two motorcycles comfortably. Riders are generally taught about “A” lanes and “B” lanes when learning how to ride a motorcycle. These “lanes” refer to areas in a single lane where the tires of four-wheeled vehicles travel, as opposed to the center of a traffic lane, where vehicles’ fluids often fall or spill onto the road. If you have not trained in riding side by side with another biker, it is recommended that you ride in more of a staggered formation rather than directly next to each other.

What To Do After a Lane Splitting Accident

As a motorcyclist, you are at a greater risk of severe injury in the event of a crash than motorists in other types of motor vehicle accidents. If you’ve been involved in a lane splitting accident, your immediate priorities should be to seek medical attention and contact the police.

However, if you receive treatment and are released at the accident scene, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Exchange information with the other driver: Obtain the contact information, insurance information, and vehicle details from the other driver.
  2. Take photographs: Photograph your injuries and the damage to your motorcycle. Take photos of the accident scene and the area around it (traffic signs, lights, road conditions, etc.) to document conditions at the time of the crash.
  3. Talk to witnesses: If possible, talk to any bystanders or other motorists that saw the crash before they leave the scene. Their testimony could support your claim that the other motorist was at fault.
  4. Give a statement to the police: In Wisconsin, you must report an accident to the police in the event of an injury or death, $1,000 or more in damage to private property, or $200 or more in damage to government property. 
  5. Contact a motorcycle accident attorney: Following a motorcycle crash, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer as quickly as possible. An attorney can explain your rights, communicate with the insurance company, and build a strong case on your behalf.

As you recover from your injuries, document anything you recall about the wreck. You should also organize your related medical bills and other documents that demonstrate the extent of losses you have sustained.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Wisconsin Today

Every year, thousands of motorcyclists are injured in traffic wrecks in Wisconsin. These crashes can cause long-term, life-altering injuries. If you’ve been hurt while riding, a motorcycle accident lawyer can protect your rights and best interests.

The experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve after a wreck.

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Contact Studinski Law, LLC today online or at (715) 343-2850 to discuss your case for free with a seasoned Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyer. We serve motorcyclists and other motorists in Marshfield, Plover, and other areas throughout Wisconsin.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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