What is Lane-Splitting? And is it Legal in Louisiana?
You've probably seen an instance of lane-splitting before and wondered whether or not it is a legal maneuver. But before we look into that, you may not know what lane-splitting is.
Lane-splitting, also called white lining, or stripe riding, is simply a way for motorcycle or even bicycle riders to get through traffic faster. If you've been at an intersection or section of traffic that is backed up for one reason or another and witnessed a motorcycle fly past you between the two lanes of traffic, that is lane-splitting.
As a motorcycle rider myself, I've seen other riders do this, and I can honestly say that in the over 40 years I've been riding I've never done it. Putting aside the legality of the move, I don't think it is a very smart move at all. In fact, it is an extremely dangerous practice.
When traffic is backed up, or even just heavy, sometimes drivers lose patience and will make unexpected moves to try to keep moving forward. A car or truck might suddenly turn out of their lane if they perceive any sort of clearance that they think might give them an advantage. A driver might also open his door unexpectedly to 'see what's going on ahead.' Motorcycles are already harder to see than cars, and if a rider is traveling where he's not expected, like between lanes, he's asking for trouble.
But, even though it might not be a smart move, is lane-splitting legal in Louisiana? Let's look at the statute. RS 32:191.1 states:
- 191.1. Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic
- All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This Subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane.
- The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.
- No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.
- Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.
- Subsections (B) and (C) shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their official duties.
- Penalties imposed by this Chapter shall be applicable to any driver or operator of a vehicle, as defined in R.S. 32:1, who is found guilty of or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to a violation of the provisions of this Chapter, including this Section, or any regulation of the department, secretary, and commissioner made pursuant thereto.
So, in addition to being dangerous, no, the practice of lane-splitting is not legal in Louisiana.