Is Lane Splitting Legal in Florida?



While lane splitting is common in many countries worldwide, the United States leaves traffic laws in the hands of each state.

This means that each state gets to decide what motorist behaviors are legal or not. A surprisingly low number of states allow for lane splitting.

So, Is It Legal in Florida?

No, lane splitting is not legal in Florida. You can be stopped and penalized for the practice.

While a few states like California expressly allow lane splitting, many states simply do not address the specific practice at all, requiring the interpretation of other parts of the code to determine its legality. 

That’s not the case in Florida. The Florida legal code specifically forbids lane splitting in Statute 316.209 articles 2-4, which read:

(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.

As you can see, lane splitting would directly violate these laws.

What About Lane Sharing?

Unlike many states that ban lane splitting, Florida does actually allow lane sharing. This is when two motorcycles ride side by side in a single lane. This is clarified by article 4 of the same law as above:

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

As you can see, the maximum number of motorcycles that can share a lane is two.

Future of Lane Splitting in Florida

Florida is one of the largest states with a population of over 21 million. Additionally, it’s a popular vacation spot and attractive to motorcyclists due to the warm weather. 

As a result, the traffic in major cities like Miami, Tampa, and Orlando can be dense and congested. Many motorcyclists have proposed lane splitting as a means of alleviating this, and there have actually been petitions organized to encourage the government to legalize it.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like the Florida legislature has any plans to change the laws on lane splitting. No bills have been written on the matter, so legalization, if it ever happens, is at least many years away.

Penalties for Lane Splitting in Florida

Lane splitting in Florida is not a criminal offense. It’s a traffic violation. Still, you can be subject to penalties if stopped by a police officer and cited. Fine amounts vary by county but can be $100 or more.

More importantly, since lane-splitting constitutes an illegal traffic maneuver, you will likely be at fault and therefore liable if it results in an accident.

Best case, this will drive up your insurance premiums after the insurance company must cover your liability for the accident. Worst case, your insurance policy won’t cover the extent of the damages, and you will have to pay out of your own pocket.

Arguments For and Against Lane Splitting in Florida

Proponents for lane splitting in Florida cite the severe traffic congestion in the state and claim that the practice could help alleviate it. Plus, they point to states like California where lane splitting is legal and accidents like rear-end collisions are actually lower.

Meanwhile, those against lane splitting refer to the high rate of motorcycle accidents in the state: nearly 7,000 in 2021 resulting in 588 deaths.

They claim that lane splitting is responsible for a large portion of these accidents, especially when the drivers of other vehicles aren’t expecting it. Therefore, lane splitting can be dangerous for motorcyclists and other motorists alike.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your opinion on lane splitting legalization, it’s important to understand your local laws and the penalties you could face for breaking them.

It doesn’t seem like lane splitting will be legal in Florida anytime soon, so it’s best to avoid the practice to stay safe and avoid fines and liability in the case of an accident.