Who Is Liable In A Lane Splitting?

While most states don’t recognize lane splitting, California is an exception.

Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist or a bicyclist rides between lanes of slow-moving traffic. Riders do this to save time as they bypass the traffic jamming. However, this may lead to accidents as lane splitting is extremely dangerous.

During lane splitting, a motorcycle is likely to rear-end a vehicle. In the event, the rider is more likely to be thrown off their bike and may suffer severe injuries. To the vehicle, it may incur property damage.

When this happens, the questions of who is to be held liable arise.

Liability In Lane Splitting

The liability of a motorcycle lane splitting mostly depends on whether the law permits lane splitting. If it’s determined that lane splitting was not done reasonably, the motorcyclist may be liable for damages.

When it comes to lane splitting, safety precautions are always at their lowest. For instance, vehicle doors may open unexpectedly, a car may change a lane unexpectedly, and the motorcyclist may be invisible.

To ensure safety, the motorcyclist should take their position in front of the lead vehicle or, if possible, stay behind such vehicle. Again, they should not stop at the side of the car’s passenger side.

When a rider is involved in a collision while lane splitting, it’s more likely to rear-end a car. This brings about contentious issues about liability, especially to the damaged car. Here, liability issues can be solved by a Bakersfield car accident lawyer.

Any lane splitting accident is mainly attributed to a motorcyclist. However, not every accident emanates from the rider’s negligence. A car driver may also be negligence to cause the rider to suffer property damage and injuries.

In such a case, a motorcyclist has to show that the other driver also contributed to their accident. In this case, comparative neglect has to apply. You may need to provide evidence of how the car or a truck hit you from behind when changing lanes.

Taking the idea further, your lawyer can investigate whether such driver was under the influence or had distracted driving, talking, or was texting while driving.

If you are sure of the other driver’s liability, you can show that:

Ensuring Safety While Lane Splitting

Though lane splitting is legal in California, every motorcyclist should ensure safety if they:

  • Avoid lane-splitting in-car blind spots
  • Look for signs of any car changing lanes. Most drivers will be looking at their side mirrors to change lanes.
  • Don’t speed. For instance, if the speed limit is 40 mph, you should not exceed 50mph while lane splitting.
  • Be on the lookout for the distance between cars. When a driver wants to change lanes, they mostly see a rider at the last minute when there is less time to take action.

It always recommended that any lane splitting be done in low-speed areas. Lane splitting in high-speed areas may cause serious accidents for various reasons. One is because no motorist will think about the oncoming rider.

Working With A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Lane splitting accidents happen because motorists are not keen on any motorcyclist maneuvering between lanes.

Understanding the legal theory behind lane splitting will help you win in your case. This is possible with the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.

When it comes to establishing negligence, the chances are that the other driver or their insurance company will fight back to deny fault. However, with an experienced lawyer, you can:

  • Use available defenses to show you are not to blame. One common defense is to show you safely ride your motorcycle. Your lawyer can comfortably show that you were not to blame. He/she knows what defenses to use to lower your liability in case of shared fault.
  • Show the vehicle driver’s negligence, also,
  • The lawyer can explain legal duties when lane splitting and how you observed them.

It’s vital to do lane splitting safely. That way, you avoid causing other’s harm. If you were lane-splitting carefully but another driver was negligent enough to cause you injuries, you have a right to file a claim.

The law requires that every driver to use reasonable care while on the road to avoid causing harm to others. However, if you also contributed to your accident, you will collect damages depending on the percentage of your fault.

California is a pure comparative negligence estate. This allows injured victims to file for compensation even if they are partly to blame for their injuries.

If you are concerned about lane splitting in California, you can contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Such a lawyer will offer a free case review and help you understand how to go about your claim.


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