Former State's Attorney With Over 38 Years of Experience

rider and motorcycle lying on the road after a crash

Is Lane Splitting Legal In Illinois?

Warmer weather is quickly approaching. Whether you’re an avid motorcyclist or simply like to test out your bike every now and then, you’re probably looking forward to the freedom of the open road and the sunshine on your face. 

Many motorcyclists prefer their bike over other transportation methods because of the freedoms and shortcuts riding one can offer. For example:

  • Finding an available parking spot becomes much easier with a motorcycle
  • Riding along the shoulder can often help a biker get off their exit sooner
  • Lane splitting can help bikers who don’t want to get stuck in Chicago traffic during their daily commute

However, it should be noted that just because motorcycles offer convenient shortcuts doesn’t mean that they are safe or legal. If you are involved in an accident while riding your bike, ensure you have legal representation from a skilled Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer.


What is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rides at any speed between two lanes of stopped traffic. Although it might save time and be convenient, lane splitting is a risky driving behavior, and therefore, illegal in Illinois.

Per Illinois statute 625 ILCS §5/11-703(c), any person operating a two-wheeled vehicle such as a motorcycle, moped, or scooter can’t pass two vehicles simultaneously. Motorcyclists can’t pass two vehicles that are on each side of them. However, Illinois law allows an exception for instances of side-by-side riding for three and four-lane highways. In such instances, motorcyclists can pass vehicles while remaining in their own lanes.

If a motorcyclist violates the lane splitting law, they can be cited and charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. This only applies if the case if the lane splitting doesn’t cause bodily harm. If the motorcyclist’s actions cause an injury, the state could potentially upgrade the charge to a Class C Felony, for which they could face jail time.


Can Lane Splitting Impact Your Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim?

If you practice lane splitting on your motorcycle in Illinois, causing an accident in which you are injured, recovering compensation will be more challenging. Suppose your attorney can prove that another driver cut you off or drove recklessly to cause the crash. Even still, the other party’s lawyer will immediately point out that you broke the law by splitting lanes. Since you broke the law, you inevitably share a portion of fault for the accident. However, that doesn’t mean that recovering compensation in your case is impossible. 

Your Chicago motorcycle accident attorney will work hard to prove that the other party in your accident was more liable than you. Under the legal concept of contributory negligence, if the courts decide you were 50 percent or more to blame for the accident, you will be barred from recovery. In addition, the other party could file a claim against your insurance for their damages. 

Hiring a well-versed Chicago personal injury attorney will help ensure that you have the best chance of recovery possible. If you are less than 50 percent liable for causing the accident, you can still recover an amount proportional to the other party’s fault. For example, suppose the other party to your accident is assigned 90 percent fault. In that case, you will be eligible to receive 90 percent of the damages available in your case. If the total damages are $100,000, you will receive $90,000. 


What If You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet?

Although Illinois doesn’t have a law requiring motorcyclists or their passengers to wear helmets while riding, it’s always a good idea to do so. If you were injured in a bike accident but weren’t wearing a helmet, you still could be eligible to receive compensation. However, the concept of contributory negligence will apply. Having not worn a helmet could decrease the value of your claim.


Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident

If you are involved in an Illinois motorcycle accident, there are specific steps you can take to increase your chances of recovering fair compensation. Skipping steps or not doing them at all can be detrimental to your claim. If you are ever in doubt about something you should or shouldn’t do, speak with a seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Essential steps to take after a motorcycle accident include:

  • Call the local police and make a report—this is often the best evidence someone can obtain in support of their claim
  • Don’t admit fault, accept blame, or apologizing to anyone for the accident—insurance companies can use this as an acceptance of liability
  • Seek medical attention immediately— your medical records from immediately preceding the crash are also crucial pieces of evidence
  • Document your evidence, if possible, at the scene of the accident with photographs and video—when you are able, write down specific details of the accident, even if you don’t feel they are essential at the time
  • Get the other party’s insurance information, give them your insurance company’s information, including your policy number (don’t include any additional information)
  • If there are witnesses to your accident, get their names and contact information if possible—your Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer can contact them later to provide testimony about what they observed
  • Remain quiet until you speak with an experienced Chicago well-versed accident attorney—don’t discuss your accident at the scene or with anyone else or post about it on social media platforms
  • Continue to seek medical care as directed by your doctors—if you stop getting care or otherwise refuse to follow the advice of your medical claim, it can diminish your compensation


Let a Knowledgeable Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help You

If you or someone you love was recently involved in a motorcycle accident, reach out to our knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorneys right away. Regardless of why you think the accident happened, there’s always the possibility our investigations might determine that another party was more at fault than you.

You can receive your free motorcycle accident case review by calling the Law Offices of Michael J. Brennan at 708-894-1611 today.

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