top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

Is Lane Splitting Legal in NY?

Riding a motorcycle makes a person more prone to accidental risks than any other motor vehicle. This is because motor vehicles like cars, trucks, and others have multiple security structures to protect them, like the steel frames, but this is not the case with those on motorbikes.

Hence, riding bikes in heavy-traffic states like New York needs extra preventive care to avoid accidents and injuries. Obeying the traffic rules, therefore, becomes necessary. The Law Office of Carl Maltese is here to present an easy guide on lane-splitting laws and if it is legal in the NY state.

What Is Lane Splitting?

What Is Lane Splitting?

Motorcycles, smaller than other motor vehicles, can easily maneuver between the lanes or other big vehicles. Lane splitting is a term used to describe a situation where the one riding a bicycle or motorcycle rides between two lanes of traffic, where the white lining is done on the road. This is done by motorcyclists to save time, avoid traffic, and bypass congestion when stuck in traffic.

Other terms commonly used are white lining or strip riding. It is commonly seen in countries with dense populations or heavy traffic loads, including the United States, India, etc. Lane splitting is an activity not just by motorcyclists but also cyclists and scooter riders. This is common in countries where cyclists, like New York, share the same road as other vehicles.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in NY?

According to the New York Vehicles and Traffic Laws, lane splitting is prohibited in the streets. There are numerous underlying reasons why the people in New York state consider lane splitting dangerous.

Below are the scenarios that make it illegal:

  • There is a high chance of another vehicle changing the lane suddenly without looking between the lanes.

  • A vehicle trying to take turns without knowledge of a motorcyclist in between the lanes.

  • The sudden opening of the gate by the driver or passenger on either side of the lanes.

  • There are chances of motorcyclists getting between other people if the other drivers have no knowledge of the biker’s changing lanes.

  • Lane splitting can also result in a situation of road rage.

Such situations are more dangerous for motorcyclists because they are more prone to serious accidents and serious injuries.

Lane Splitting Laws in NY

The guidelines for lane splitting in NY are underlined in VAT 1252, which states:

  • The New York Traffic and Vehicles law states a complete prohibition of lane splitting in the state.

  • Motor vehicles should not pass other vehicles if there is more than one vehicle in the lane.

  • The law also states that motorcyclists cannot ride between the two lanes, be it dashed or solid lines.

  • No two motorcycles can ride simultaneously next to each other while driving in a single lane.

Who Is at Fault for the Lane Splitting Case?

Lane splitting is illegal in New York, which makes the motorcyclist liable for being held accountable for the cause of the accident completely or partially. The New York state also has a provision of contributory negligence, which brings the scenario of uneven splitting of compensation among the parties involved in the accident.

This may be used to benefit different insurance companies who may be willing to try and pay the least compensation possible. Hence, it becomes necessary to seek legal advice from professional and experienced car accident lawyers in Long Island. They are also experts at handling other matters such as helping you understand bicycle helmet laws in NY and what happens if you drive barefoot in NY.

Lane Splitting: Life Threatening or Life Saving?

Lane splitting is one of the most controversial topics when discussing traffic laws, as some consider lane sharing a safer option, while others would not support it. Even the studies made over it could not conclude it.

However, most cases reported have shown that the accident is the outcome of the motorcyclist maneuvering faster between the lanes. This also points out that not all motorcyclists are careful while lane splitting. Numerous road hazards are responsible for making lane splitting dangerous and life-threatening.

On the other hand, studies also show that it can be more dangerous for a motorcycle to stay stuck in traffic congestion as they become more vulnerable to rear-end collisions, which can result in serious injuries or even death. Hence, making lane splitting illegal is a life-saving option.


These laws may appear complex to comprehend at first, but it is all the way necessary for drivers to stay acquainted with them so that they can avert any problems with the law. In case of any legal problems, hiring a legal firm for help is always a reasonable choice.

bottom of page