California Motorcycle Lane-Splitting Laws
Dangers of Lane-Splitting
Motorcycles in California often ride between lanes of cars who are sitting in stop-and-go traffic. This practice is commonly known as “lane splitting” or “riding the lines”. Often, this is considered dangerous behavior because of several factors:
- How close the motorcycle comes to other vehicles
- Newer motorcycle riders attempting to lane split for the first time
- The unpredictable speed of traffic sitting in lanes
- Unfavorable weather conditions
- Motorcycles attempting to navigate between larger trucks and other vehicles
California Lane-Splitting Laws
In most other states in the country, lane-splitting is an illegal practice, but the laws in California don’t forbid motorcycles from riding the lines or passing automobiles going in the same direction as them. The California Vehicle Code states that motor vehicle drivers are forbidden from intentionally blocking motorcyclists from lane splitting. In addition, motorcyclists can receive tickets for lane sharing if it is done in a reckless manner, which is at the discretion of the ticketing officer. Because these rules of the road vary, it may be hard to determine who is liable when an accident happens between a vehicle and a motorcycle that is lane-splitting.
Driving a Motorcycle Safely in California
The California Department of Motor Vehicles says that creating safer driving conditions is the shared responsibility of both drivers and motorcyclists. This happens by making sure that everyone stays alert and courteous while using common sense on the road. It is also important for motorcyclists to lower their risks by riding responsibly, always wearing a helmet and other protective gear and to never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other things to remember are:
- Watch your speed—a motorcycle collision is highly likely to cause injury or death
- Assume people in cars do not see you.
- Avoid blind spots in other vehicles, particularly large trucks
Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
In the case of an accident, the motorcyclist will typically be considered at fault if he or she was lane sharing. If the court or an insurance company discovers that riding the lines was the major cause of the accident, riders will find it hard to seek any compensation. However, if the rider can prove that the driver of the automobile contributed to the accident, the driver may be held responsible for partial or full damages. Look for the following things to help prove this claim:
- The motorcyclist was riding in a careful and safe manner, not weaving in and out of traffic or riding with excessive speed.
- The motorcyclist has completed a certified motorcycle safety course.
- The driver of the vehicle was doing something more dangerous than lane sharing and contributed to the bulk of the accident.
Accidents involving motorcycles can be more deadly than accidents between two automobiles, so it’s important for both motorcycles and all other vehicles to drive with extreme care and always take note of the traffic around them.
California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
At Los Angeles Injury Group, we understand how critical motorcycle and other vehicle accidents can be in California; therefore, we do everything within our power to best assist our clients during the claims process. We like to educate our clients on all the information we’ll need to help them win their claims. We believe our clients should receive compensation for any damages and losses they’ve suffered. If you, or someone you love, received injuries in a motorcycle or automobile accident, call (424) 625-7824.