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When Lane Splitting Contributes to a Bad Motorcycle Accident

By Joseph Low on October 20, 2023

A line of motorcycles lane splitting between cars on the highway.

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes of traffic or two rows of vehicles. Bikers often engage in lane splitting when traffic is at a standstill or moving slowly. Technically, this is known as lane filtering. Lane splitting reduces traffic congestion, helps riders stay in control of their bikes, and may reduce the risk of rear-end collisions.

Researchers found this practice to be safe if it is done in traffic moving 50 mph or less and when motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 mph in a study done at UC Berkeley. Lane splitting is legal in California, and drivers should be wary of it.

What Are Motorcyclists’ Rights on the Road in California?

Motorcyclists have the same rights to the road and responsibilities as other motor vehicle drivers. They are required to either complete a California Motorcyclist Safety Program training course or pass a motorcycle driving test at the DMV, obtain a motorcycle license, and register their bike with the state.

Motorcyclists are subject to the same rules of the road contained in the California Vehicle Code as other motorists. Riders must drive within the speed limit, obey traffic signals and signs, yield the right of way to other vehicles when required, and always ride in a safe manner. California is the only state in the nation where riders are permitted to lane split.

The Risks of Lane Splitting

Lane splitting can help motorcyclists avoid being rear-ended by drivers who are not paying attention or who fail to see the motorcycle on the road. A bike that is moving between lanes of traffic, as opposed to being stopped in traffic, is not likely to be hit from the rear. Nevertheless, there is always the risk that a driver who is distracted, speeding, or drug or alcohol-impaired will fail to see a motorcycle rider between lanes. Also, a motorcyclist who speeds between lanes of traffic could lose control of the bike and crash.

In other states where lane splitting is prohibited by law, a rider who was lane splitting would be automatically considered at least partially at fault if a crash occurred. In California, the at-fault party may be a negligent driver who failed to notice a lane-splitting motorcyclist in the roadway and caused a collision. Liability lies with the party whose negligence caused the accident – not automatically with a motorcyclist who was lane splitting.

How Do You Recover Compensation for a Long Beach Lane Splitting Motorcycle Accident?

If another driver caused your Long Beach motorcycle accident and injuries, you may be entitled to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or a lawsuit in civil court. Damages you may be eligible to claim may include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages or earnings
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Your Long Beach motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate your crash to determine fault and liability, secure evidence to support your claim, and build a strong case based on the facts. We can assess the full extent of your damages, negotiate skillfully for a fair settlement on your behalf, or fight for the compensation you deserve in court if necessary.

Contact The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV for Dedicated Legal Support

At The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV, we provide strong legal representation for injured motorcyclists. Our Long Beach firm has been representing injury victims for more than 20 years and has recovered millions of dollars for our clients. Head attorney Joseph Low is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who is rated 10.0 Superb by Avvo.

If you have been seriously injured in a Long Beach lane-splitting motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact us at (562) 901-0840 today. We offer a free initial consultation with no obligation.

Posted in: Motorcycle Accident

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