Is Lane-Splitting Legal in Colorado?

Apr 19, 2023

Lane-splitting is a contentious issue for many motorcyclists in the state of Colorado. Some argue that lane-splitting is more convenient and actually prevents accidents, while others say that it increases the risk of accidents. But what is lane-splitting and who is in the right? The answer is more complicated.

If you have questions about the motorcycle injuries you have received, our qualified team at The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm can help. We specialize in personal injury law and have helped many Colorado drivers find the relief they need. For those looking to receive compensation for a wrongful motorcycle injury in Colorado, call Paul. We can help.

What Exactly Is Lane-Splitting?

As defined by the Colorado State Patrol, lane-splitting is a traffic maneuver in which a motorcyclist drives between two rows of motor vehicles traveling in the same direction. In practice, it is when a motorcycle rides the line between lanes to pass motor vehicles. Because motorcycles are thinner, they can more easily squeeze between cars while driving.

Is Lane-Splitting Legal In Colorado?

No. Lane-splitting is not legal in Colorado. In fact, it is only legal in California and only under certain circumstances. A bill was proposed in 2016 to allow lane-splitting. However, this was never passed and no further legislation has since been heard making the issue, as of now, settled.

While lane-splitting, lane-sharing, and clinging are not legal in Colorado, motorcyclists can co-ride with one other motorcyclist. Co-riding involves riding side by side in the same lane which can help improve visibility to other cars.

Why Is Lane-Splitting Illegal?

Lane-splitting is often cited as a potential safety risk. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the limited space between vehicles, the lack of visibility of motorcycle riders for other drivers, and the fact that the motorcycle rider is often going faster than the traffic around it all pose major safety concerns. The chances of merge accidents and “dooring” incidents also drastically increase when motorcyclists engage in lane-splitting.

However, there are many proponents of lane-splitting. Many motorcycle riders argue that lane-splitting makes it much easier to get out of dense traffic and decreases the chance of rear-ends. Rear-ends are often deadly for motorcyclists and are among the most common.

Who Is Liable in a Lane-Splitting Motorcycle Crash?

Regardless of how you feel about lane-splitting, Colorado state law is against the practice and lane-splitting can be a considerable liability in any case involving motorcycles. However, even if you were injured while lane-splitting, you still may be able to receive compensation.

If you were not the primary negligent party in the accident, then you should contact a law attorney right away. Colorado uses a comparative negligence standard, which evaluates each crash by assigning a proportionate amount of blame to each driver involved. This means that even if you are partly responsible for an accident, you are still eligible to receive compensation. However, your compensation will be reduced proportionately to your percentage of fault, which will likely be increased if you were engaging in lane-splitting.

If you’ve been injured in a lane-splitting motorcycle crash or have been involved in a lane-splitting accident, you’ll need a trusted and proven law attorney at your side to assess your liability and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us at The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm for a free consultation at (720) 463-2630.

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The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm is a team of personal injury attorneys in Denver, CO serving victims of car, truck and motorcycle accidents. Each of our lawyers is licensed with the Colorado State Bar (CBA) and specialize in injury law.

We've recovered tens of millions of dollars in personal injury settlements and verdicts for our clients. For 13+ years we've helped thousands of people get back on their feet after experiencing serious injuries. We will take your case to trial and get the maximum settlement possible.

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