Did you know? Currently, California is the ONLY state in the United States that allows a motorcyclist to "lane split". That is, ride their motorcycle between the divided lines of two lanes on a roadway. Of course it has to be done safely when traffic is going no faster than 40 mph, but that is what brings us to this issue. Doing it safely is not done all the time and can result in a motorcycle accident.
Don't get me wrong. I actually support lane splitting WHEN it is done safely. I understand the need for it in California. It was designed to relieve traffic congestion. Let's face it, California is a big state with a large population and with large cities. When lane splitting is done safely, under the CHP (California Highway Patrol) recommendations, it is a safe maneuver and helps with traffic flow. When done unsafely, it can cause cars to collide and wipe out the motorcyclist. And, as a motorcyclist, you have no protection other than your riding skills and leathers, so the chances of a serious injury go up when riding a motorcycle.
How The Defense Will Try To Put You At Fault
The defense will do their best to try and paint you as an unsafe motorcyclist whenever possible. They know there are a lot of people who do not like motorcyclist or lane splitting, and will try to exploit that bias in your case. I know this because I have seen a defense lawyer try to say my client was lane splitting, when he was not, even though there was a independent witness saying he wasn't. This bias runs deep, and as a motorcyclist you may not even know this. So, how can you counter this? Well, first, do not unsafely lane split, ever! Second, take additional safety classes for motorcylists. If you ever get into a collision you can use this as potential evidence of being a safe motorcyclist. It will help separate you from the "bad apples" on the roadway; the ones jurors remember. Try not to have crazy decals on your motorcycle like a "skull and bones." Do your best to ride motorcycles that are geared for the fun of riding, and get you to point A to point B, try not to focus on the sport bikes that make you lean forward and your legs in a "Z" pattern.
As I mentioned earlier, your injuries go way up when you ride unsafely, and go too fast. There simply is no protection as you do not have air bags or the protection of a car/sedan/SUV. This is why it is very important to only lane split when traffic conditions are safe to do so. Don't get me wrong, the majority of registered motorcyclists in California perform lane splitting safely. It is the 10% who choose to ignore safety and try to lane split at high speeds, and sometimes in lanes that are not between Lane #1 and Lane #2 (which are the recommended lanes by the CHP).
If you want to learn ALL the secrets on how to be a safe motorcyclist in California, and learn all the defense tactics the defense lawyer use on these cases, then get my FREE Book - The California Motorcycle Collision Legal Survival Book.
Stay strong, Attorney Mark
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