Lane-splitting – when a motorcycle passes a vehicle in the same lane – is legal in California. But, how safe is it?
If an accident occurs while a motorcyclist is lane-splitting, can the rider be held liable?
When a lane-splitting accident occurs, the insurance companies will investigate who was at fault and assess the factors in the accident to determine its cause. Liability can be complicated in these cases, so it is recommended that you consult with an experienced attorney about an accident involving lane-splitting.
The focus of the liability investigation will likely be on whether the motorcyclist split lanes safely. If the motorcyclist conducted this maneuver in an unsafe manner, such as by speeding or cutting off other vehicles, the rider may be found at fault for the accident. However, if the motorcyclist did the maneuver safely, he or she might not be found at fault.
California does not have any official guidelines on lane splitting, however motorcyclists are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when traveling between lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic. Here are common-sense safety tips for lane splitting in a safe manner:
A 2015 study conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety analyzed data on 5,969 motorcyclists who were involved in traffic collisions between June 2012 and August 2013. Researchers found 17 percent or 997 of these motorcyclists were lane-splitting at the time of their collision.
Motorcyclists who were lane-splitting were more often riding on a weekday, during commute hours, wore helmets and were traveling at lower speeds. They were less likely to have been impaired or carrying a passenger.
These motorcyclists were much less likely to be injured during the accident when compared with other motorcyclists who were injured in other types of motorcycle accidents. They were less likely to suffer a head, torso, extremity or fatal injury. However, they were equally likely to suffer a neck injury.
Since lane-splitting may be perceived as a dangerous driving behavior by the insurance company, it could be considered a factor when evaluating a claim.
If you were injured in a collision involving lane-splitting, discuss your situation with a licensed attorney. The Sacramento motorcycle accident lawyers at Arnold Law Firm can review the details of your accident and advise you on whether you have a viable claim. You may be eligible to pursue compensation for damages.
Our lawyers charge no upfront fees and work on a contingency fee basis, so you are not charged unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
Contact us today at (916) 777-7777 to schedule your free evaluation.