Is Lane-Splitting Legal in North Carolina?

Charlotte Injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “What happens if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance?”


Lane-splitting is the practice of a motorcyclist riding between two lanes or rows of slowly moving or stopped traffic. Many motorcycle riders in the United States, including North Carolina, use this maneuver to bypass traffic jams.

motorcycle-Charlotte-Mooresville-Monroe-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-300x200However, many riders do not realize that lane-splitting is not legal in North Carolina, and some knowingly violate the law because they need to reach their destination faster. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash involving lane-splitting, you might want to learn more about your legal rights.

Schedule a case evaluation by contacting our personal injury lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC.


Dangers of Lane-Splitting in North Carolina

Lane-splitting is not only illegal in North Carolina but also very dangerous. Motorcyclists often linger in blind spots, even when not riding between two lanes of traffic.

When using the illegal maneuver, motorcycle riders are even more at risk of being involved in an accident. Lane-splitting is dangerous for a number of reasons, including:

  • A motorcyclist or car driver may not have enough time to avoid a collision when riding too close to each other;
  • There is not enough space between vehicles and a motorcycle;
  • Car drivers may make unpredictable or unsafe lane changes;
  • A motorcyclist may linger in a car’s blind spot; and
  • A car driver could open the door or extend their arm out the window.


Who is at Fault in Motorcycle Lane-Splitting Accidents?

If a motorcyclist was riding between lanes of traffic when the accident occurred, the rider might be held liable for the collision since they were engaged in illegal activity at the time of the crash.

However, establishing fault in a motorcycle lane-splitting accident is always challenging because car drivers can also be responsible for causing the collision.

A motorcyclist will need to demonstrate proof of the car driver’s negligence in order to be entitled to compensation. Some of the common forms of negligence on the part of car drivers include:

  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Weaving in and out of lanes
  • Being distracted by the phone while driving
  • Making unsafe lane changes without signaling
  • Engaging in road rage or aggressive driving
  • Fatigued or drowsy driving


What a Motorcyclist Needs to Prove After a Lane-Splitting Accident

Also, since a motorcyclist is breaking the law when lane-splitting, they may need to prove that the practice of riding between lanes did not contribute to the motorcycle accident by showing evidence that:

  • They are an experienced motorcyclist;
  • They have completed a motorcycle safety course; and
  • They were riding responsibly when the collision occurred.

Note: Keep in mind that North Carolina still follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. It means that an injured party is barred from recovering any damages for their injury if their own fault is found to have contributed to the accident.

Determining fault in a motorcycle accident that involves lane-splitting can be tricky, which is why it is advised to seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney in North Carolina.

Schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to determine liability in your lane-splitting accident in Mooresville, Monroe, or Uptown Charlotte. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video or phone consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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