Motorcycles are popular for a lot of reasons. They cost less than cars to purchase and ensure. They offer a more visceral driving experience and access to a vibrant community of other enthusiasts. They can also be much more maneuverable because they are smaller than enclosed vehicles.
Maneuverability can inspire people on motorcycles to try lane-splitting. Lane-splitting occurs when two vehicles are in the same lane of traffic at the same time. A motorcycle might split lanes with several vehicles while weaving through a traffic jam that has brought bigger vehicles to a complete stop.
If you get into a crash on your motorcycle caused by another driver, will the fact that you lane-split prior to the crash affect your rights to recovery?
Colorado does not allow drivers to split lanes
While lane-splitting is legal in certain other states, like California, it is not legal in Colorado. If a police officer spots a motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic, they can potentially issue a citation for that behavior.
It’s also possible that lane-splitting before a crash could affect the allocation of fault in the police report or your rights in the eyes of an insurance company or a civil court judge. Even if the person in the enclosed vehicle is at fault, you may bear some of the responsibility for the crash because of your illegal driving practices.
Colorado courts can consider contributory negligence
When you bring a claim against another driver for causing a crash that demolished your bike or left you with massive medical expenses, the courts have to consider many factors when deciding if they should award you compensation and how much compensation you deserve.
If the person in the bigger vehicle alleges contributory negligence and claims that your lane-splitting directly contributed to the crash, the courts may agree with them. In a case involving contributory negligence, the courts will assign a percentage of fault for the crash to each driver. You can still receive compensation, but the courts will reduce the amount of the award by the percentage of responsibility you have for the collision.
Motorcyclists hurt by people in bigger vehicles may have the right to file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit, often even if they weren’t a perfect driver.