Lane Splitting Accidents and Who is Liable

Lane Splitting Accidents

Lane splitting can be described as motorcyclists riding between the clearly laid traffic lanes you find on almost any major road. For decades, this has been a topic embroiled in controversy, especially in states like California, where motorcyclists typically make full use of the pleasant weather and ride year-round. It makes sense for someone driving a two-wheeler vehicle to try and bypass stalled or slow-moving traffic by splitting lanes; however, this also often causes accidents.

The Legality of This Practice

In California, there is no law prohibiting lane splitting. There is, in fact, a bill legalizing safe lane splitting, which came in effect in 2017. Before that, authorities in the state generally treated this as a “gray area”. Pertinent guidelines issued by the California Highway Patrol say that motorcyclists should not travel at or over 10 mph faster than remaining traffic or split lanes when traffic flow is at a rate of 30 mph or a higher speed. Situations are also cited where motorcyclists must not split lanes.

Who is Liable if an Accident Occurs?

After filing a case over any auto accident happening in the state of California, the plaintiff is required to prove beyond doubt that the defendant was reckless or negligent, and that this caused the accident. This applies to motorcycle accidents as well. The motorcyclist injured in the collision would need to serve up evidence establishing that they were driving safely, while the other vehicle’s driver was not. Negligent driving is a broad topic, typified by such actions as changing lanes unsafely, and driving while impaired or even distracted.

However, if the case involves lane splitting, the defendant could level a claim that the injured motorcyclist carries some portion of the rightful blame for their injury. The latter could be shown to have split lanes in a negligent or deliberately unsafe manner. Although this is legally possible, the verdict often falls in favor of the motorcyclist; even if negligence on their part could be proven, they would have enough substance to bring a winning lawsuit against the other motorist, provided that the latter was shown to have been driving negligently as well.

How to Proceed after an Accident

If you were injured in an accident, the first order of business is to file a police report and get a copy of it for later use. Collect as much evidence from the crash as possible and let an accident reconstruction expert look your bike over before you get it repaired. Get medical treatment right away and retain all receipts. After that, get in touch with a competent motorcycle accident lawyer, who can get you the maximum compensation for losses and injuries suffered.

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