The California legislature in Sacramento considered, but again failed to pass a law regarding Motorcycle Lane Splitting in California. The practice is also known as lane sharing or filtering. The potential law that would finally make lane splitting specifically legal has been delayed until next year, at the earliest. Currently, there is no law prohibiting the practice, or allowing it. That’s been good for motorcyclists overall. In fact, California is the only state in the U.S. that does not specifically prohibit lane splitting.
PROPOSED LAW ON MOTORCYCLE LANE SPLITTING IN CALIFORNIA
The proposed law would specifically allow lane splitting, but also put restrictions on the speeds. The proposed Assembly Bill 51 will mandate that motorcyclists can split lanes at speeds under 50 miles per hour; and the motorcyclist can not drive more than 15 miles per hour faster than the vehicles around them. Motorcycle advocates are opposing this proposed law. Similar proposed laws were attempted in the California legislature twice before, but they never made it to law
MOTORCYCLE CRASHES WHILE LANE SPLITTING IN CALIFORNIA
Disputes often arise after a motorcycle accident as to whether the practice is legal. Currently, the motorcyclist is not at fault for lane splitting. Car drivers need to use turn signals, check for oncoming rear traffic, and follow the rules of road when changing lanes. If the car driver is negligent, the motorcycle rider is entitled to full compensation for his or her injuries, even though the motorcycle rider was splitting lanes and passing cars on the freeway or surface roads. See California law on Negligence.
INJURIES FROM CALIFORNIA MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS WHILE LANE SPLITTING
Unfortunately, car driver’s that cut off lane splitting motorcyclists usually cause serious injuries to the motorcycle rider, or death. A recent study by the University of California at Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center found that, of the nearly 6,000 motorcycle accidents in California from June 2012 through August 2013, about 1,000 involved lane-splitters. The motorcyclists were more likely to be riding during commute hours, wearing better helmets, and riding at lower speeds, according to the study. The proposed law would only create arguments about the speed of the motorcycles and give car driver’s more ammunition to put blame on the motorcycle riders. Unfortunately, most witnesses to accidents are usually car drivers; and in my experience, car driver-witnesses always overestimate the speed of motorcycles. Motorcycles too often just look like they are going fast, even when they are within the speed limit.
LOS ANGELES MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS
If you are injured while lane splitting on a motorcycle or bicycle, you need an experienced motorcycle attorney to protect your rights. An experienced motorcycle attorney will gather and analyze the evidence (skid marks, debris, gear damage including helmet damage) and get witness statements so that you are ultimately compensated for your physical injuries and property damage. At Chakmakis & Associates, we are skilled at helping Los Angeles and Orange County motorcycle accident victims with physical injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries . Our motorcycle accident attorneys also guide families through wrongful death claims following fatal motorcycle crashes.
Sources: Sacramento Bee Newspaper
Other resources: California Wrongful Death Rules, DMV Motorcycle Information
Related Information: California Motorcycle Crashes