Lane splitting is famously legal in California. It’s a tactic that motorcyclists use to ride between parked cars in traffic. They can fit between the stopped vehicles and, by weaving between them, they can keep moving even in a traffic jam. California is notorious for its poor traffic conditions, so this ability gives motorcyclists an edge.
But what if you moved from California to Louisiana? Lane splitting may be second nature, but is it still legal?
It is not. You must follow the flow of traffic just like any other motor vehicle. Lane splitting may be faster but, in part because of the perceived danger of having bikes moving between cars, it has been outlawed in Louisiana.
In fact, California is the only state that has expressly made it legal. Other states have not ruled on it one way or the other, leading to speculation that you may be able to do it since nothing says it is illegal, but even that does not apply in Louisiana.
Of course, not be able to split the lanes opens you up to other dangers. If you come up on the back of a traffic jam, you now have to stop and wait in traffic. What if a driver coming up behind you does not see the bike, but just the car ahead of it? A lot of rear-end accidents happen this way, and motorcyclists are very exposed. They can suffer catastrophic injuries that they have no way to anticipate or avoid.
If that happens to you, you may be able to seek substantial compensation.