Can Motorcycles Share a Lane in New York?

New York Motorcycle Laws

In the state of New York, there are no laws prohibiting the sharing of a lane between two motorcycles. In fact, motorcyclists are entitled to the “full use” of the lane they are in, entitling them to share when conditions allow.

Bear in mind, however, that the New York Department of Health states that “Only two motorcycles may operate side by side in a single lane.”

Lane splitting, which is very different from lane sharing, occurs when a motorcyclist rides in between slowed or stopped vehicles in heavy traffic conditions. This is absolutely illegal in New York (and every state in the nation with the exception of California and Utah) because it decreases visibility and increases the risk of a motorcycle accident. While there may be some time-saving benefits offered by lane splitting, these benefits have not been shown to outweigh the very real risks posed by this driving behavior.

New York Motorcycle Helmet Laws

All riders – operators and passengers – must wear a motorcycle helmet in the state of New York. This is the same for both novice and experienced riders and is not impacted by age. New York law requires motorcycle helmets meet federal regulations for all riders.

It’s not just the law to wear a helmet, it’s common sense. Studies have shown that failure to wear a helmet increases the risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI) following a motorcycle accident three-times over. TBI is often fatal, with 30% of victims eventually succumbing to the injury. Helmet use decreases the risk of TBI by 67%.

Leathers and Safety Gear

In New York, all motorcycles must be equipped with a running daytime headlight, passenger and rider seats and footrests, directional signals, functioning brakes, proper handlebar grips, and more. Motorcycle operators are required to wear protective eyewear and may only have a helmet speaker in one ear. All of these steps help to protect the motorcyclist.

While not required, leather boots, chaps, gloves, and jackets are strongly encouraged while operating a motorcycle. These, just like the legal requirements, are intended to protect motorcyclists in the case of an accident.

Even the safest motorcyclist cannot always prevent an accident. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in the Poughkeepsie area, please call the Maurer Law Firm at 845-896-5295 to schedule a free consultation at our Fishkill office today. Hablamos Español. Llame a nuestra oficina para una evaluación gratuita de su caso. and link it to the spanish page:

How Can We Help You?

Offering Free Telephone or Video Consultations


* All required fields.Please only include non-medical responses.

Accessibility Toolbar