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Lane Splitting in New York, Especially New York City

Lane splitting or white lining is a colloquial name for splitting traffic on a motorcycle. As most riders in the New York metro area know, this practice is both common and illegal. Many motorcyclists and scooter riders are ticketed for lane splitting, and in some cases the NYPD will even stop traffic to encourage motorcyclists to split lanes.

If you have been pulled over for lane splitting and ticketed you need our experienced and aggressive New York motorcycle attorneys who will fight to win your case.

The Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) 1252 specifically prohibits lane splitting in all of its different forms. According to subsection (b), Motorcycles are prohibited from passing cars or other motor vehicles if there is more than one vehicle in the lane. This includes other motorcycles. Subsection (c) prohibits people from riding in the area that is between lanes. For purposes of this law it does not matter whether the stripe is dashed or solid, any riding between lanes is prohibited. Subsection (d) also prohibits motorcyclists from riding more than two to a lane. On a defendant’s first conviction for lane splitting, the maximum penalty for lane splitting is a fine of $150.00, 15 days in jail, a surcharge of $88.00 and 2 points. On the second conviction within 18 months the maximum penalty is a fine of $350.00, 15 days in jail, a surcharge of $88.00 and 2 points. On the third conviction within 18 months the maximum penalty is a surcharge of fine of $450.00, 15 days in jail, a surcharge of $88.00 and 2 points.

How can the police stop traffic and not expect me to lane-split to get out of it? Isn’t that entrapment? In New York entrapment defense is codified at New York Penal Law 40.05. Whenever a government official convinces or emboldens a person to commit a prohibited act, that person is not otherwise pre-disposed to committing the act, and in the process of accumulating evidence against the person to prepare to bring a criminal case, the government uses methods that are likely to increase the risk that the person will commit the act, entrapment may be applied as an affirmative defense. The entrapment must be a form of real time enticement or reinforcement to commit the criminal act. Most importantly for the purposes of lane splitting, actions taken by the police which present the opportunity for an offense to be committed cannot be used to bring an entrapment defense.

Entrapment makes a poor defense for lane splitting. First, merely because the police stop traffic and one may have a relatively safe and easy way to get out of the traffic that does not satisfy the requirement that the police actively entice or emboldens one to commit a prohibited act. In the case of the police stopping traffic to catch lane splitters, the police are not actively encouraging motorcyclists to split lanes, they are merely presenting a very good opportunity to split lanes. Furthermore, arguing the defense of entrapment generally necessitates a confession to committing the criminal act.

If you or someone you love has been accused of lane splitting call our New York motorcycle traffic ticket lawyers today. Our experienced and aggressive New York traffic lawyers know what it takes to beat your case and will make the strongest possible legal arguments to get your ticket dismissed. Call us today for a free consultation.

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