Injured in a California Lane-Splitting Motorcycle Accident
Lane-splitting is when a motorcyclist passes other vehicles on the road by riding between them along the lane line. It has been the center of lots of controversy over the years in California but, recently, has been brought to attention because it has been legalized in the state. In the past, it was not legal or illegal, falling in a gray area and treated as “acceptable” by law enforcement as long as it has been done safely.
The law in California has allowed lane-splitting because they believe that creating a safer highway environment is something that is shared among motorcycle riders and motor vehicle drivers. It all boils down to staying alert of one another and using courtesy when you are on the roads. It can also mean remembering to always watch your speed as a rider, never assume that vehicle drivers see you, and avoid blind spots at all times.
The Guidelines for Motorcyclists
There are some guidelines that motorcyclists should always use when they are practicing safe lane-splitting. These include the following:
- Travel at speeds that are not over 10 mph more than traffic. When a rider is going quickly on the roads, there is a bigger chance of an accident. With slower speeds, you have a better reaction time and can avoid any hazards that pop up.
- If traffic is going over 30 mph, you should never participate in lane-splitting. It could leave more room to hitting hazards and being thrown from the motorcycle.
- Remember that it is always safer to lane split in the furthest lanes. You should never split lanes near freeway exists and off ramps when lane changes can occur very quickly.
- You should also stay aware of the environment. This means paying attention to surrounding vehicles as well as the roadway conditions. If your motorcycle doesn’t fit, then do not split.
- Help other drivers stay aware of you by splitting during the daytime and wearing bright colors.
Liability in Lane-Splitting Accidents
Lane-splitting accidents happen frequently in California, due to drivers not seeing motorcyclists in many situations. This is because of the close proximity of cars to the motorcycle when splitting occurs, as well as the reduced speed to be able to maneuver and the fact that cars do not expect a vehicle to be passing them when they are completely stopped. Because these accidents are so newly accepted under the law, the risk is run that you could be found at fault when a lane splitting accident occurs, which is what you want to avoid. This happens especially if the court finds that carelessness was the reason for the accident.
However, you may be able to show that the other driver contributed to the accident, which could fully compensate you for your injuries. This could occur if the car hit you when they were changing lanes because they were not paying attention, or if they were weaving all over the road. The best way to show that you were not at fault and that it was actually the other driver is by showing that you were riding carefully at the time, you are an experienced rider, that you have completed a safety course, and that the other driver was acting more dangerously than you.
At the Los Angeles Injury Group, we have experience in motorcycle injury cases. Because is still fairly new under California law, it’s important to speak to an attorney very soon after you have been injured to get started on your case and get the most out of it. Call us as soon as possible at 310-954-7248.