What Is Lane Splitting in California?

With several million cars driven in California daily, those riding motorcycles should be very careful on roads and freeways, especially if they are lane-splitting. A motorcycle accident can cause very severe injuries, from traumatic brain injuries to broken bones. You want to make sure that you have practiced safe motorcycle driving skills to prevent an accident. If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, and have sustained injuries caused by another driver, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them. Contact our top-rated motorcycle accident attorneys at Megeredchian Law today to see how our attorneys can help you achieve compensation and justice for your injuries.

Motorcycle accidents are very common in California, especially in Los Angeles. That is why it is very important to have a trusted motorcycle attorney on your side in the case that you are ever involved in a car accident. Our car accident attorneys are available 24/7, and have free consultations to determine who the potential negligent parties are.

Is lane splitting legal in California?

Several years ago, there used to be a law that prohibited lane splitting in California. Since then, California has gotten rid of that law, which means that lane-splitting by motorcyclists is legal in the state of California. However, it is illegal for other cars to block a motorcyclist, especially when they’re in the process of lane-splitting. Other vehicle drivers on the road should stay to the left of their lane in order to provide motorcycles with space to lane split. It is also illegal for a driver of a vehicle to open their car door when they see a motorcycle pass by.

What is lane splitting?

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist or a bicyclist drives between two lanes surrounded by other vehicles that have stopped in their lanes or have slowed down due to traffic.

What is the reason for lane splitting?

Lane splitting is a technique used by motorcyclists and bicyclists to drive between the lanes on the marked lines. Other than “lane splitting”, other words used to describe this is “white lining” or “stripe lining”. One of the top reasons for lane splitting is because cyclists and motorcyclists want to save time and prevent being stuck in traffic for too long. When driving on the lane lines, they could get to their destination faster.

Is California the only state that allows lane-splitting?

Other than California, Utah and Montana allow lane splitting. Other states do not allow lane splitting because they consider it to be dangerous. Other states are not even addressing lane-splitting in their laws simply because they do not have a lot of motorcycles on the road. Other states have rough terrain that does not call for a safe space for motorcycles.

How fast can you lane split in California?

In California, motorcyclists should only split lanes when they are driving at 40 mph or less. Any faster and it could be very dangerous, and the motorcyclist could collide with other oncoming vehicles. The minimum speed should be around 10 mph.

Motorcycle Safety Practice Tips

In order to prevent severe injuries and accidents, there are specific steps motorcyclists could take while driving. Although you cannot completely prevent an accident, by practicing safe driving, you could prevent suffering severe injuries.

  1. Always check your motorcycle’s blind spots. The best time to check is just before turning into a lane.
  2. Before you are going to lane split or turn, make sure to signal to other drivers.
  3. Always make sure you are wearing a helmet. The helmet must be meant for motorcycle driving, and must fit your head properly.
  4. Share the road with other motorcyclists, truck drivers, car drivers, etc.
  5. Always assume that motorists are going to make last minute moves. This is especially common when making a right turn and the motorcycle is in the vehicle’s blind spot.
  6. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These substances might impair your senses as you get behind the wheel.
  7. Familiarize yourself with the roads to get an idea of which direction you’re headed prior to driving on an unfamiliar highway or freeway.  

Who is responsible for a lane splitting accident?

This is one of the most common questions that our attorneys receive from clients who have been involved in a motorcycle accident. Several reasons why the motorcycle accident could be caused by motorcyclist are because:

  • The motorcyclist was traveling faster than 40 mph
  • The motorcyclist was driving negligently
  •       The motorcyclist turned very quickly

 In California, the state acknowledges pure comparative fault statutes. This means that the plaintiffs could still recover a portion of the compensation they are owed, even if they were found to be liable for their injuries. The compensation they recover is deducted by the percentage of liability. For example, if the victim of the accident sustained $100,000 in injuries, and they were found to be 30% at fault, then they could recover $70,000 from the other party. For more information on pure comparative fault laws, contact our accident attorneys today.

Lane splitting is considered to be legal in California. Several reasons why other drivers could be responsible for the accident are because:

  • The other driver was negligently driving
  • The other driver did not see the motorcyclist
  • The other driver was drunk driving

If any of the above circumstances occur, you may be able to hold the other party responsible for your injuries. To determine liability in your specific case, contact our top-rated motorcycle accident attorneys today.

What is the speed limit for other motorcycles in California?

In California, motorcyclists cannot exceed 10 mph faster than other vehicles on the road if they are engaging in lane-splitting. For example, if the motorcycle is in a 35-mph zone, they cannot go faster than 45 mph when they are lane splitting. If they do, then they could be held responsible for their own injuries if they were involved in an accident.

Have you been involved in a motorcycle accident? Call us today.

Currently, lane splitting data is not abundant, and not much information exists on safety. However, many people believe that lane splitting is safe because it allows motorcycles to maneuver through lanes in the case that another vehicle is swerving towards them. However, others believe that it could be very dangerous since having a motorcycle go in and out of lanes could cause the other drivers to make abrupt movements, and the motorcyclist could be in another car’s blind spot.

There’s a common consensus that other vehicle drivers disapprove of lane-splitting, whereas motorcyclists themselves approve of lane-splitting. Motorcyclists do not like sitting in traffic for several hours, and would rather go through lanes to get to their destination faster.

Motorcycle Safety Practice Tips

After sustaining motorcycle accident injuries, you may have lost income, along with receiving thousands of dollars in medical bills. Having a trusted motorcycle accident attorney will be able to help you get the justice you deserve. Our car accident attorneys have decades of experience representing victims who have been involved in a motorcycle accident. We know how devastating it can be to sustain severe injuries, and to be out of work to heal from those injuries.

Call us today to see how we can help you, along with holding the negligent party responsible for their actions.

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