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FHP warns against motorcyclists endangering themselves, others by 'splitting lanes'

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 18:31:22-04

You've likely seen it before: you're sitting in traffic, and a motorcyclist drives through the middle lanes in between vehicles.

Many call this motorcycle maneuver, 'splitting lanes' and Florida's Highway Patrol wants to warn riders of the dangers.

ABC Action News has dash cam video of a motorcyclist dangerously riding between lanes on Interstate 4 over the weekend in Lakeland.

FHP Sergeant Steve Gaskins said this way of riding isn't just dangerous, it's illegal.

This is Florida's statute:

316.209 Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic.—

(1) 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.

(2) The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.

(3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.

(4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.

(5) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to police officers or firefighters in the performance of their official duties.

(6) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

Gaskins said this way of riding is also dangerous for other motorists on the road.

"It startles you," he said.

"You're not expecting for a motorcycle to come inches away in your lane, at a high rate of speed," said Gaskins.

ABC Action News spoke with Ron Galletti with Born to Ride TV & Magazine who emphasized lane splitting is illegal in Florida, but legal in some states like California.

"Lane splitting for the wrong person, could be the wrong thing," said Galletti.

Galletti uses his magazine subscription to try and promote rider safety. "We have a thing called ride safe and ride smart," he said.

ABC Action News also shared video of a motorcyclist riding in the shoulder during morning rush hour.

Gaskins said this is extremely dangerous because the shoulder of the road is where debris usually is.

"Nails, screws, rebar, I had a big 'ol piece of rebar go through my tire once," he said.

Gaskins said whenever he has to drive down the shoulder lane to get to a crash site, he's almost guaranteed to need a new tire.