Lane Splitting Laws in South Carolina and How They Impact You

Motorcyclist and passenger lane splitting - riding along the center dashed white line.

Lane splitting is when a motorcycle drives on the center line. Prohibited in SC.As a rider, you know there are many South Carolina laws to follow on the road. These motorcycle laws cover a variety of general driving “dos and don’ts” (for example, do adhere to the posted speed limit and don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs), as well as several motorcycle-specific driving behaviors, such as lane splitting. Lane splitting, the practice of driving a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic, is also called white lining for the white line painted between the lanes.

You may be confused about what impact S.C. laws on lane splitting will have on your case. I hope the following article will answer some of these questions and will encourage you to reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney if you have been injured in a motorcycle crash when you were lane splitting.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in South Carolina?

No, lane splitting is not legal in South Carolina. Section 56-5-3640(c) of the South Carolina Code of Laws specifically states that “motorcyclists are not permitted to operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic, or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.”

Section 56-5-3640. Motorcycles are entitled to full use of lane; riding two or more abreast; overtaking and passing; operation in other instances.

Should Lane Splitting Be Legal?

The issue of whether lane splitting should be legal has been contested for years, and currently California is the only state that permits the practice. Many proponents of lane splitting point to the Hurt Report prepared for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which suggested that motorcyclists would not be as vulnerable to rear-end collisions if they were exposed less to other vehicles that were frequently accelerating and decelerating on crowded roadways.

A University of California Berkeley study strengthened this position and concluded that motorcyclists who practice lane splitting in congested traffic are significantly less likely to be struck from behind by other motorists.

Am I Eligible for Compensation if I Was Injured in an Accident While Lane Splitting?

You may be eligible for compensation for the harms and damages you have suffered if you were injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another – even if you were lane splitting. Cases such as these can be very complicated. That is because South Carolina follows the standard of comparative negligence, which means defendants and plaintiffs in motorcycle accident cases may be entitled to compensation even if they were partly to blame for the accident.

As long as your portion of the blame is equal to or less than the other driver’s, you may still be eligible to recover compensation. However, your potential damages would be reduced according to the percentage of fault assigned to you.

You may be eligible for compensation if you are injured in a motorcycle accident - even if you were lane splitting.

This is one of the main reasons why I urge injured motorcyclists to enlist the guidance of a South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer. If the other driver’s insurance company knows that you were lane splitting when their insured driver hit you, they may try to use that fact to suggest that you were more than 50% responsible for the accident and deny your claim. A lawyer can help you look at all of the relevant factors of the accident so that you can effectively build your case.

Can Motorcycles Share the Same Lane in South Carolina?

Lane sharing is when two or more motorcyclists drive parallel in a single lane.Lane sharing is legal in South Carolina. Lane sharing occurs when two motorcyclists drive within (or “share”) the same lane of traffic. Since lanes are wide enough for cars, two smaller motorcycles can generally fit safely within a single lane.

What Is Lane Filtering and Is It Legal in South Carolina?

Lane filtering is when a motorcyclist drives between slower-moving or stationary traffic. It is prohibited in SC.Lane filtering is when a motorcyclist drives between slower-moving or stationary traffic. South Carolina law prohibits lane filtering in addition to lane splitting.

Filtering is common at stoplights when the motorcyclist moves to the front of the line so that he or she is first to proceed when the light changes. Since this action takes motorcyclists out of the line of vehicles, many consider it as a safety measure which prevents rear-end collisions that are common with motorcycles. While filtering is prohibited in S.C., the practice is allowed under specific conditions in California, Utah, Montana, and Arizona.

How We Help South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Victims

Our attorneys understand the lane splitting laws in South Carolina and can apply this knowledge, plus their years of experience helping other accident victims, towards helping you seek compensation for injuries you suffered in a lane splitting accident. Since our firm opened its doors in 1997, we have helped more than 60,000 injured people. Take a look at what some of our Greenville, South Carolina clients have to say about their experiences with us.

We can protect the rights of our motorcycle accident clients by:

    • Gathering evidence


    • Dealing with the insurance company


    • Investigating insurance policies


    • Documenting current and potential damages


    • Determining the possible value of your claim


    • Fighting for you in court, if necessary


Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin today at 1-866-900-7078 to tell us your story and receive a free case evaluation in which an attorney will analyze the strength of your case.


Here are some other questions I often hear from motorcycle accident clients:

How Many Motorcycle Accidents Are There in South Carolina?

In 2020, motorcycles were involved in:

  • 113 fatal collisions
  • 320 serious injury collisions
  • 1,087 other injury collisions

Source: 2020 South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book

How Much Will a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Cost Me?

Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis so there are no upfront costs to you when pursuing a motorcycle accident claim.2 Our attorney’s fee is a percentage of any total amount we recover for you, so it is contingent on if we recover for you. We also offer a free case evaluation to help you decide how you want to proceed.

What Does NHTSA Think About Lane Splitting?

A Motorcycle Safety Foundation issue statement by NHTSA cited the findings of the Hurt Report and recommended further study of the safety implications of motorcycle lane splitting.

About the Author

Alexandria Tuttle practices personal injury law in North Carolina for the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. Her journey includes working full-time as a lead paralegal for the firm during the day and attending law school at night for four straight years. She strives to make a personal connection with her clients and find the right way to explain the many steps of a case. In addition to being an active member of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin’s Social Services Committee, Alexandria is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association.