Is Lane Filtering Legal in Baltimore?

By Harold Dwin on March 16, 2023 | In Auto Accidents

Is Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering Legal in Baltimore?

If you drive in Baltimore, you have probably noticed some motorcycle riders driving between traffic lanes. You may have wondered, can they do that legally? 

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes of slow-moving traffic. Put differently, lane splitting involves driving along the dashed line between rows of vehicles, turning it into a temporary, mini-express lane solely for motorcycles. Many motorcyclists find lane splitting convenient, especially in traffic congestion.

Differences Between Lane Splitting and Filtering

Lane splitting and filtering are similar but distinct ways for motorcyclists to ride on multi-lane roads.

While lane splitting involves driving between two lanes of traffic, usually to avoid congestion, lane filtering is the process of moving to the front of a line of stopped traffic. Lane filtering is frequently employed at stop lights, where motorcyclists are more vulnerable because other drivers may not see them and rear-end them. Therefore, lane filtering allows motorcyclists to navigate to the front of the line, potentially avoiding dangerous collisions.

Does Baltimore Law Allow Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is legal in some states and jurisdictions. However, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle between traffic lanes or adjacent rows of vehicles under Maryland law. Therefore, Baltimore motorcyclists are not allowed to split lanes.

Is Lane Splitting Safe or Dangerous?

Proponents and detractors are constantly debating the safety and benefits of lane splitting. On the one hand, proponents argue it reduces traffic congestion, improves fuel efficiency, and lowers the risk of rear-end collisions. On the other hand, opponents argue that it can increase the risk of accidents and endanger both motorcyclists and other motorists.

It is hard to find data on the safety of lane splitting because most states outlaw it. However, in California, motorcyclists can split lanes in stopped or slow traffic. UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center was able to analyze data on over 6,000 motorcycle-involved collisions reported to the California Highway Patrol. The researchers found that lane-splitting motorcyclists were less likely to suffer a head injury, torso injury, or fatal injury. Most lane-splitting riders who were involved in a collision were traveling too fast.

What Happens If You Are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident When Lane Splitting?

If you get hit by another driver while lane splitting, contact a motorcycle accident attorney immediately. Even if the other driver is responsible for the accident, they will almost surely try to blame you because you were lane splitting. Many people are biased against motorcyclists and accuse them of riding dangerously. However, you have the same rights as every other driver on the road and do not deserve to suffer because of another driver’s negligence.

Our Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help You

The Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyers at Cohen & Dwin, P.A., are ready to stand up for your rights and interests. Let our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers fight for compensation for your injuries and accident-related losses. 

Contact Cohen & Dwin, P.A., today for a free legal consultation.

Attorney Harold Dwin

Attorney Harold P. Dwin, co-founder of Baltimore premier law firm Cohen & Dwin, P.A., is proud to be able to help clients in need by simplifying complex legal matters and solving legal problems that cause immeasurable stress.