Is Lane Splitting Legal in Maryland?

By Julie H. Heiden

Motorcycles give riders the ultimate freedom of movement, allowing them to fit in spaces cars can’t. However, this flexibility sometimes tempts bikers to split lanes on busy roads.

Riders and motorists may wonder, “Is lane splitting legal in Maryland?” and how that affects compensation in lane-splitting accidents. Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, explains.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Is lane splitting legal in Maryland?

Bikes sometimes travel on roadway lane-dividing lines between two vehicles traveling in adjacent lanes; this practice is called lane splitting. The painted lines on roadways define individual travel lanes, with drivers expected to stay in a single lane unless they pass or merge.

The average car width is 6’8″. Motorcycles, on the other hand, average between 25 and 40 inches. Average lane widths of 12 feet provide enough room for cars to travel side by side with a few feet to spare. Although the extra space is too narrow for another car, bikes can easily fit between two vehicles.

Is it Legal in Maryland?

Lane splitting is illegal in Maryland. This is true whether traffic is at a standstill or moving. It is also unlawful for motorcyclists to use part of a lane for passing if another vehicle already occupies that lane.

Motorcyclists should follow the same traffic laws as other motorists. Maryland also has other laws that apply only to bikers.

Why Is Lane Splitting Dangerous?

Lane splitting often presents an increased accident risk for motorcyclists and other vehicles on the roads:

  • Passenger vehicle drivers may not see motorcycles that are between lanes.
  • Bikers may misjudge the space between vehicles.
  • Cars may suddenly swerve and enter other traffic lanes to avoid bikes that startle them by passing so closely.

These actions often lead to accidents that may produce serious injuries, which is why lane splitting is illegal in Maryland.

Can You Seek Compensation in Lane-Splitting Accidents?

Lane splitting in Maryland can result in accidents.

You may be able to receive compensation for injuries sustained in a lane-splitting accident in Maryland, but you cannot have any degree of shared fault for causing the crash. Unlike most states in the U.S., Maryland, D.C., and Virginia use contributory negligence rules. With this statute, anyone who is even slightly responsible for causing an injury accident cannot seek compensation from other at-fault parties.

Due to the strict law, handling an insurance claim alone is often challenging. Liable insurance companies may try to place fault on you unfairly because that would invalidate your compensation claim. A competent personal injury attorney can help.

Lane-Splitting Accident? We Can Help

Because lane splitting is not legal in Maryland, you need an experienced law firm on your side if you sustain injuries in a lane-splitting accident. Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP has a proven track record of helping clients obtain favorable results. Our firm has 40 years of experience successfully handling various personal injury claims, recovering over $1 billion.

You will only pay us fees if we recover compensation for you. Contact Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP today for a free consultation for your lane-splitting accident in Maryland.


Can motorcyclists split lanes in Maryland?

No. Lane splitting in Maryland is illegal.

Is lane splitting legal in D.C.?

Like in Maryland, lane splitting is illegal in D.C.

About the Author
Ms. Heiden is a Virginia injury attorney who represents injured individuals in personal injury, product liability, social security, and workers compensation cases. In 2009, she was recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership, and excellence in legal services.