Reviewing a motorcyclist's right to use of lane

Motorcyclists in Pottsville may often fear that the motorists on the road around them do not pay enough attention when driving near them. While attempts have been made in recent years to raise awareness, inattentive drivers still rank high amongst the most common culprits of motorcycle accidents. One may wonder why so many drivers still seem incapable of sharing the road with motorcycles, especially given the growth of the motorcyclist population in recent years. The Insurance Information Institute reports that as of 2013, there were 8.4 million motorcycles being driven on American roads, which represented an increase of around 400,000 vehicles since 2009. With this increase has also come a greater potential for increased motorcycle accident fatalities.

When motorcycles do collide with cars, suspicion may often be cast immediately at the motorcyclist as having caused the accident. Typically, the reasons set forth to justify this suspicion is the perception many may have of motorcycle riders weaving in and out of traffic or between cars. If this was indeed happening at the time an accident occurred, then the motorists involved may have just cause to be upset given that Title 75, Chapter 35, Section 3525c of Pennsylvania’s state statutes says that a motorcyclist traveling between vehicles or lanes is in violation of the law.

However, that same section also clearly gives motorcycles the right to the full use of road lanes, and that anyone trying to restrict such use may be held both criminally and tortuously liable.  Thus, if an automobile is impeding a motorcyclist’s use of the road by either leaving little room to pass in an opposite lane or turn at an intersection, the driver may found liable if an accident results from his or her actions. Liability may be assigned to them even if their actions were unintentional.