Lane Splitting Laws & Tips

Lane Splitting Laws & Tips

April 10, 2023

As a motorcyclist, lane splitting can be a tempting maneuver to avoid traffic and get to your destination faster. However, this practice can lead to serious accidents and legal consequences if not done carefully and within the confines of the law.

This article discusses the definition of lane splitting and the legality of the maneuver in California. It also covers the statistics on motorcycle accidents related to lane splitting, personal injury claims, and safe riding tips. Finally, it will uncover the legal consequences of unsafe lane splitting and how to seek legal representation if you are involved in an accident.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is the technique of riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. Riders often use this maneuver to avoid traffic congestion and reach their destinations quicker. This state allows for lane splitting at slow speeds, depending on the flow of traffic and the motorcycle rider’s comfort level.

This state is currently the only state in the US where lane splitting is legal. However, even here, there are specific laws and guidelines that motorcyclists must follow in order to do it legally.

The Legality of Lane Splitting in This State

In this state, lane splitting is legal since it is considered a practical method to reduce traffic congestion due to the high traffic volume compared to other states.

According to recent statistics, Los Angeles is the sixth most congested city in the US, with commuters losing an average of 62 hours in traffic, twice the national average. Lane splitting allows motorcyclists to share lanes with other drivers or ride between the lanes, freeing up vehicle space on the road.

In this state, lane splitting is legal, but only under specific conditions. For example, California Vehicle Code Section 21658.1 states that “a motorcycle may be driven between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane if the speed of traffic is 30 miles per hour or less and is not traveling more than 10 miles per hour faster than the speed of the traffic.”

It is crucial to recognize that just because lane splitting is legal in the state, it does not mean that it is always safe. Lane splitting can be dangerous if not done correctly, and it is up to the individual rider to determine if it is safe to do so. You should always be aware of the current road conditions, the speed of traffic, and the behavior of the other drivers around you.

Lane Splitting Statistics and Motorcycle Accidents

There has been a lot of serious debate over the safety of lane splitting, and with good reason. According to the latest statistics from the California Highway Patrol(CHP), there were 13,381 motorcycle accidents in this state in 2021. Of those accidents, 539 were fatal, and 3,068 resulted in major injuries. Of the accidents that resulted in significant injuries, 17% were related to lane splitting.

While it is possible to perform lane splitting safely, it is crucial to understand the risks involved. Riders who choose to perform this maneuver should be aware of potential dangers and take extra precautions to stay safe.

Personal Injury Claims and Lane Splitting Accidents

There are many cases where you could receive compensation for your injuries if you are involved in a motorcycle accident while lane splitting. However, the laws surrounding lane-splitting accidents can be complex and vary depending on the circumstances of the accident.

In this state, the legal concept of “comparative negligence” determines liability in injury cases. This means that each party is assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. If the judge finds that you are partially at fault for an accident, you may not receive full compensation; it may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.

It is important to consult with a competent injury attorney if you are involved in a lane splitting accident. An experienced legal professional can help you navigate the complex legal system and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Tips for Safe Lane Splitting

If you choose to perform lane splitting in this state, there are several tips that can help you stay safe on the road. These include:

  • Only lane split when traffic is moving at a speed of 30 miles per hour or less
  • Never lane split on the shoulder of the road or in between the far left lane and the center divider
  • Keep a reasonable distance from other vehicles on the road
  • Be aware of the behavior of other drivers on the road
  • Use your mirrors and turn signals to communicate your intentions to other drivers
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing to increase your visibility to other drivers
  • Always wear a helmet and other protective clothing while riding

By following these vital steps, you can help ensure your safety while lane splitting in California.

Unsafe lane splitting can result in serious legal consequences. For example, if you are caught lane splitting in this state when illegal, you can be hit with a hefty fine. Also, unsafe lane splitting can increase the risk of accidents and personal injury claims.

If you find yourself in an accident while lane splitting, you may be found partially at fault. This legal action can reduce the compensation you are entitled to receive for your injuries, making it even more critical to seek legal counsel.

Understanding Your Motorcycle Insurance Policy

As a motorcyclist, it is vital to understand your insurance policy and the coverage it provides. In this state, all riders are required to carry liability insurance. This insurance covers damages and injuries you may cause to other drivers in an accident.

In addition to liability insurance, you can purchase additional options, such as comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. These types of insurance can provide additional protection in the event of an accident.

Before hitting the road, you should review your insurance policy and make sure you understand the coverage it provides.

What to Do If You Are in a Lane Splitting Accident

If you are involved in a lane splitting accident, there are several steps you should take. These include:

  • Seek medical treatment immediately for any injuries sustained in the accident
  • Contact the police and report the accident
  • Exchange insurance information with other drivers involved in the accident
  • Take photos of the accident scene along with any damage to your motorbike
  • Promptly contact your insurance company to report the accident
  • Consult with a competent injury attorney

By taking these crucial steps, you can help protect your legal rights and ensure you are compensated fairly for your injuries.

If you are involved in a lane splitting accident, consulting with an experienced injury attorney is essential. A competent legal professional can help you navigate the state’s complex legal system and fight for the compensation you deserve.

A personal injury attorney can help you research your legal options, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. By working with an attorney, you can increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries.

Final Thoughts

Lane splitting can be a tempting maneuver for motorcycle riders, but it is crucial to understand the legal and safety implications of this practice. Following the guidelines for legal lane splitting in California and taking extra precautions to stay safe on the road can help reduce your risk of accidents and personal injury claims.

If you are involved in a lane splitting accident, you should first seek medical attention, report the accident to the police, and contact your insurance company. Also, consult with an experienced injury attorney to help protect your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.

By staying informed and taking the necessary precautions, you can enjoy the freedom of riding a motorbike while following the law and staying alive on the road.

Posted by

Michael Avanesian

Michael Avanesian, the founder and driving force behind Avian Law Group, is a passionate and dedicated attorney with a strong background in personal injury law. As a partner at JT Legal Group, Michael led the growth of the personal injury practice from a single employee to a team of over ninety professionals, securing over $2 billion in settlements for clients in just three years.

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