To become licensed to drive a motorcycle in Nebraska, both written and driving tests are required. Riders must fulfill all the requirements, including motorcycle skills tests at local testing centers and demonstrating knowledge of the Nebraska motorcycle operating manual. But it is also the responsibility of all riders to recall the rules of the road and follow them carefully. If you’re a new motorcycle rider, or perhaps an experienced rider who needs a refresher on riding rules, you may not remember some of the laws regarding lane usage by motorcycles. Those of us that have driven primarily cars and trucks, or other similar vehicles, have seen it a number of times – motorcycle riders zipping through a traffic jam, weaving with ease and confidence through lanes and lanes of backed up cars. Driving this way is called “lane splitting,” and it is prohibited by Nebraska’s traffic law. Nebraska section 60-6308 specifically prohibits operation of a motorcycle “between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.” This means that weaving between the lanes can get the rider a ticket – or worse, cause a rider who is injured when between lanes of traffic to be at fault if an accident is caused by a car moving in or out of a lane. This can occur because Nebraska recognizes contributory negligence, meaning that if a rider is partially at fault for an accident when he or she is moving between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines of row of vehicles, then his or her damages from an accident can be reduced to reflect that the rider was partially responsible. Lane splitting can be especially dangerous for riders when drivers of cars and other vehicles aren’t paying careful attention to the road and aren’t expecting motorcycles to be present between the lanes.
In order to protect yourself on the road and in case of an accident, it is important as a motorcyclist to use the lanes properly. Although it can be especially tempting in a traffic jam, do not engage in “lane splitting.” and know the requirements of Nebraska’s law for motorcyclists. It may also be helpful to note that only two riders should be side-by-side in a lane at a time. For more on the safety and legal requirements for Nebraska’s motorcyclists, a brief and helpful overview can be found here, courtesy of American Motorcyclist.