California is one of the only states in the nation with laws that say that lane splitting is legal for motorcyclists under certain conditions. The reason the state made it legal is mainly for the sake of relieving traffic congestion, as allowing motorcycles to share lanes with other vehicles means that they are taking up less space on the roadway.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that occurred while you were legally splitting the lane with another motor vehicle, an experienced accident attorney can help you understand the process of seeking compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury. Our team at Setareh Law is here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Is Lane Splitting?
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle travels between two rows of stopped or moving vehicles, using the same lane as the vehicles to move forward in areas of traffic congestion.
Also, it is illegal for drivers to intentionally block or impede a motorcyclist from lane splitting. The duty of care is on the drivers of cars and trucks to check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes to ensure that a motorcycle is not present in the lane. Then, they are to move to the far left of the left lane in order to provide riders with ample room to pass.
What Are California’s Rules on Lane Splitting?
While lane splitting is legal in California, it doesn’t mean that anything goes when it comes to sharing a lane with other motor vehicles. The lane-splitting law does not permit motorcyclists to ride on the shoulder of the road or to share a lane with a large vehicle such as a semi-truck or a motorhome.
Additionally, riders are not permitted to travel more than 10 miles per hour faster than the flow of traffic, and if the traffic is moving at more than 30 miles per hour, lane splitting should not occur. Additionally, riders are urged not to lane split near freeway on-ramps as this can make it difficult for drivers merging onto the roadway to determine a safe area to enter the lane.
How Fault Is Determined in a California Lane-Splitting Accident
Despite the fact that California legalized lane splitting to help with the flow of traffic, there are still many accidents that occur due to it. Motorcyclists are at a major disadvantage when involved in an accident with another vehicle, as they lack the protective features found in most cars and trucks, such as seat belts, airbags, and a steel frame.
A driver’s duty of care refers to the reasonable actions they are required to take when operating their vehicle on the roadway to avoid causing harm to others. Some of the factors that may determine fault in a lane-splitting accident include:
- How fast was traffic moving at the time of the crash?
- Did the driver signal their intentions when changing lanes so that the motorcyclist would know to avoid entering the lane?
- Did the driver use their mirrors and also physically check their blind spot before entering the lane?
- Was the collision intentional? Were there indications that the driver was attempting to prevent the motorcycle from overtaking them?
Your attorney can evaluate the police accident report as well as other types of evidence, such as photos from the accident scene and the testimony of eyewitnesses, to identify all sources of fault. This way, they can get you the compensation you deserve if you were injured following a motorcycle accident.
Injured In a Lane-Splitting Accident? Contact Setareh Law
When a motorcyclist is injured in an accident, they often face judgment from medical professionals, police officers, and insurance companies simply because of their choice of transportation. The legal team at Setareh Law understands and supports a motorcyclist’s legal right to use their vehicle on public roadways, as well as their right to lane split when the conditions of the roadway permit. Our Spanish-speaking team is prepared to help you tell your story and pursue the compensation you need to handle the expenses and impacts of your injury.