Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle between lanes of stopped or moving motor vehicles. In 2016, it became legal for motorcyclists to do this in California. Here's what you need to know about when it's safe to lane split and a driver’s liability in an accident.
10 Tips on How to Lane Split Safely
Lane splitting is allowed on divided and undivided streets, roads, and highways. However, just because lane splitting is legal doesn't mean that it's always safe to do it. Here are 10 safety tips that motorcycle riders should follow to avoid causing a crash:
- Motorcycle riders should only travel 10 mph faster than other nearby vehicles.
- It's safest to avoid lane splitting when traffic is moving at 30 mph or more. The faster the speed of traffic, the more dangerous lane splitting becomes.
- The safest lanes to split are the two farthest to the left.
- Riding on the shoulder isn't lane splitting and is illegal in California.
- Lane splitting should not be done near highway exit and entrance ramps.
- Motorcyclists must be alert to and anticipate the maneuvers of other drivers when lane splitting.
- Motorcycle riders can increase their visibility by not staying in other motorists' blind spots.
- Motorcyclists should help other drivers to see them by wearing bright, reflective clothing, and using their high beams in the daytime.
- It's best not to lane split around large vehicles, such as trucks, buses, and motor homes, that have major blind spots.
- Motorcycle riders should consider the width of the lanes, weather and road conditions, lighting, size of the vehicles around them, and other environmental conditions when deciding whether to lane split.
Common Causes of Lane-Splitting Motorcycle Crashes
Vehicle operators have a duty to share the road with motorcycle riders, obey all California traffic laws, and drive in a safe manner to avoid causing accidents. Unfortunately, motorists don't always fulfill these duties, engaging in behaviors that often pose dangers to motorcyclists who chose to split lanes, including:
- Distracted driving, such as texting, talking on a cellphone, or reading a GPS
- Drowsy driving
- Unsafe lane changes
If a motorist’s negligence caused the accident, they're responsible for paying compensation to the rider for their injuries. Victims can recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
If you were injured in a lane splitting or other motorcycle accident in San Diego or Southern California, you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who will fight for the compensation you deserve. Call my office or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can assist you.