Lane splitting is when a bicycle, scooter or motorcycle travels in between vehicle lanes. It also refers to two-wheeled vehicles that drive around vehicles traveling in the same direction only at a slower speed. Generally, lane splitting occurs during traffic jams. Two-wheeled vehicles have the ability to maneuver in and out of stop and go traffic through lane splitting.
California is the only state in which lane splitting is legal. However, if a California Highway Patrol officer believes that your actions are not safe, you could potentially be ticketed for an unsafe lane change. At the same time, California Highway Patrol officers also lane split.
Comparative Fault and Bias Against Motorcycles
If a motorcycle or other two-wheeled vehicle is involved in an accident while lane splitting, the biker could potentially be considered partly responsible, even if another driver caused the crash. This is known as comparative fault, and could result in a reduced recovery. Bias against motorcycle drivers may be another reason that a motorcyclist may be judged partially responsible. Countering this prejudice and protecting the injured person’s rights is what an experienced personal injury attorney will do. A personal injury case’s outcome may depend on such representation.
Issues to watch out for when lane splitting:
- You can split a lane but are not allowed to ride on the line between the two lanes.
- You can pass someone while sharing the same lane, but are not allowed to drive more than five miles per hour than the car you are passing.
- Pay attention to mirrors sticking out or car doors suddenly opening.
The Hurt Report on Causes of Motorcycle Accidents noted that fatal rear-end motorcycle crashes in California are 30 percent less than in other states of similar climates that do not allow lane splitting. Some people use this data to support the argument that lane splitting actually improves the safety of motorcyclists by reducing the incidence of rear-end crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does concur that lane splitting does slightly reduce rear-end crashes.
Lane-Splitting and Personal Injury Claim Questions? Talk to a San Francisco Bay Area Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in a bike accident, motorcycle crash or other accident, whether you were splitting lanes at the time or not, the law firm of Weber & Nierenberg, with offices in northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, will work to protect your rights.
If you do choose to work with one of our attorneys, we charge you nothing unless we win you compensation, at which point we will be paid. This is called contingency representation. Call or email today to schedule a free, private consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer: 1-866-288-6010.