Is Lane Splitting Legal in Florida?

June 4, 2024
Jack Fine

Often called “white lining” or “striping,” lane splitting is practiced in several states. However, is it legal in Florida? The answer is a clear no. Lane splitting is explicitly illegal in the state, and engaging in this practice can lead to penalties.

This regulation is particularly critical given the statistics: in 2022, motorcyclists made up 15% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S., with 6,218 motorcyclists killed. These statistics highlight the risks associated with riding a motorcycle, risks that can increase with practices such as lane splitting.

For both residents and visitors in Florida, understanding and complying with motorcycle laws is essential. Operating motorcycles within the guidelines set by state law not only ensures your safety but also protects other road users.

Florida Statute § 316.209

Under Florida Statute § 316.209, specific regulations are set forth to ensure the safety of all road users, particularly motorcycle riders. Firstly, each motorcycle is entitled to the full use of a lane. This ensures that motorcyclists are granted the same rights and space on the road as other vehicles, promoting a safer driving environment. Consequently, no motor vehicle is allowed to drive in a way that would deprive a motorcycle of this entitlement.

Furthermore, the statute explicitly prohibits the practice of lane splitting by stating that a motorcyclist may not overtake and pass another vehicle in the same lane that is already occupied by that vehicle. Additionally, the law specifies that no person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic, or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles. This is a direct ban on lane splitting and is designed to prevent accidents caused by motorcycles moving through traffic in unpredictable and potentially hazardous ways.

These rules do not apply to police officers or firefighters in the performance of their official duties. 

Penalties for Lane Splitting in Florida

Classified as a noncriminal traffic infraction, lane splitting is treated by law enforcement as a moving violation. This means that motorcyclists caught lane splitting are typically issued a ticket and required to pay a fine. The amount of the fine for lane splitting can vary depending on the county in which the violation occurs.

The penalties for lane splitting can extend beyond just a fine, especially if the action results in an accident. In these cases, the motorcyclist’s liability in the accident may be increased. This is because evidence of a traffic violation, such as lane splitting, can be used as evidence of negligence in legal proceedings related to the accident.

Negligence involves four key elements:

  • A legal duty of care owed to others: All drivers, including motorcyclists, are required to act with a reasonable degree of care while on the road.
  • A violation of this duty of care: Engaging in lane splitting constitutes a breach of this duty.
  • A violation that results in harm to others: If lane splitting leads to an accident, this condition is met.
  • The injured parties suffer damages as a result of that harm: This can include a range of losses from property damage to personal injuries, and even lost wages due to time off work.

When motorcyclists engage in lane splitting and cause accidents, they can be held legally responsible for the damages incurred by other parties. This includes compensation for vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and other related losses.

Is Lane Filtering Legal?

Lane filtering, a practice closely related to lane splitting, involves a motorcyclist weaving in and out of slower-moving traffic. Typically, motorcyclists engaging in lane filtering will position themselves in the center of the lane and weave through lanes of stopped or slowed traffic. 

However, just like lane splitting, lane filtering is illegal in Florida. The state’s traffic laws do not differentiate significantly between lane splitting and lane filtering; both practices are prohibited under the same statute. This means that motorcyclists who engage in lane filtering are subject to the same types of penalties as those caught lane splitting, including fines and potential increases in liability in the event of an accident in Florida.

Weaving through traffic can create unpredictable situations and reduce reaction times for both the motorcyclist and other road users. This can increase the likelihood of accidents, especially in congested traffic conditions where space between vehicles is limited and unexpected stops are common.

Can Lanes be Shared in Florida?

Lane sharing is a common practice among motorcyclists, particularly when riding in groups. It involves two or more motorcyclists occupying the same lane in a horizontal formation. However, unlike lane splitting or filtering, lane sharing involves staying within the confines of a single lane without weaving through traffic.

In Florida, lane sharing is addressed under Florida Statute § 316.209. The law specifies that motorcycles should not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane. This regulation means that while it is permissible for two motorcycles to ride side by side within the same lane, having more than two motorcycles side by side in a single lane is illegal.

This law is designed to ensure that motorcyclists have adequate space to maneuver safely. Riding two abreast allows each motorcyclist enough room to handle their bike effectively and respond to traffic conditions without being overly restricted by the proximity of other motorcycles or vehicles. However, exceeding this limit by riding three or more abreast can significantly reduce maneuverability and increase the risk of collisions, both among the motorcyclists themselves and with other road users.

Involved in an Accident Due to Lane Splitting? We Can Help

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident due to lane splitting in Gainesville, Florida, or surrounding areas, it is important to seek professional legal assistance as soon as possible. Whether you are the motorcyclist or another party involved in the accident, understanding your rights is essential.

At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., we specialize in navigating the complexities of motorcycle accident claims that involve lane splitting. Our experienced attorneys are well-versed in Florida’s traffic laws and are committed to providing you with the guidance and support you need to navigate through these challenging situations. We understand the unique challenges that arise in accidents involving motorcycles and are prepared to advocate vigorously on your behalf.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and evaluate your options. During this consultation, we can explore the details of the accident, assess any potential claims for damages, and determine the best course of action to protect your rights and interests. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve, including coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.

Don’t navigate the aftermath of a motorcycle accident alone. If you’re in Gainesville or nearby areas and have been affected by an accident involving lane splitting, contact Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A. today. Let us help you through this challenging time with our expertise, compassion, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for you.


Motorcycle Safety | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 

316.209 Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic. | The Florida Legislature 

Longtime motorcyclist asks fellow riders not to lane split in Florida | Bay News 9 

Split Decision: Are Lane Splitting and Lane Filtering Safe? | Rider Magazine