Why Do You Need a Motorcycle Lane Splitting Attorney?

Motorcycle lane splitting refers to the practice of riding a motorcycle between lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicles on a roadway. Instead of remaining within a single lane, lane splitting allows motorcyclists to navigate through traffic by utilizing the space between vehicles.

Motorcycle lane-splitting collisions can occur when there is a collision or a mishap involving a motorcycle and another vehicle while the motorcycle is maneuvering between lanes. These accidents can have various causes and consequences, and their severity can range from minor to severe. 

If you need a lawyer to get you compensation for motorcycle lane splitting, the attorneys at Pacific Attorney Group are ready to help you. 

Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting Legal in Los Angeles?

Yes, lane splitting is legal in the state of California, including Los Angeles. In fact, California is the only U.S. state that has officially legalized and established guidelines for motorcycle lane splitting.

In California, the legality of lane splitting is governed by the California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 21658.1. While the law permits lane splitting, it does not provide an exact definition or specific speed limits for the practice. Instead, it allows the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to develop educational guidelines and safety recommendations for motorcyclists, drivers, and law enforcement agencies.

The CHP’s guidelines emphasize the importance of riding at a safe and prudent speed while lane splitting, generally suggesting that motorcyclists not exceed 10-15 mph faster than the surrounding traffic. It is also advised to consider factors such as weather conditions, traffic flow, and the width of lanes when deciding to lane split.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Motorcycle Lane Splitting

Motorcycle Lane Splitting Accidents and Liability in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, where lane splitting is legal, the liability in lane-splitting accidents is determined based on the general principles of negligence. Each case is evaluated individually, taking into account the specific circumstances and factors involved.

When determining liability in a lane-splitting accident, the following elements are typically considered:

  • Duty of care: Both the motorcyclist and the other driver have a duty to exercise reasonable care while on the road.
  • Breach of duty: It must be established whether either party breached their duty of care. For example, did the driver fail to check their mirrors before changing lanes, or did the motorcyclist travel at an excessive speed while splitting lanes?
  • Causation: It must be proven that the breach of duty had caused the accident. Did the driver’s sudden lane change directly result in a collision with the motorcyclist?
  • Damages: The extent of damages and injuries suffered by the parties involved will be assessed. This includes property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Liability can be assigned to one party, or it may be shared between multiple parties if they are found to have contributed to the accident to some extent. California follows a comparative negligence system, meaning that each party’s degree of fault can be taken into account when determining compensation.

It’s important to gather evidence and documentation after a lane-splitting accident, including photographs, witness statements, police reports, and any available video footage. Consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles can provide you with guidance and legal representation. They can help assess the specific circumstances of your case, navigate the legal process, and protect your rights while seeking appropriate compensation for your injuries and damages.

Is Lane Splitting Dangerous?

The safety of lane splitting can be a topic of debate, and opinions vary. While lane splitting can offer certain benefits, such as reducing traffic congestion and potentially decreasing the risk of rear-end collisions for motorcyclists, it also poses inherent risks. Some factors that can contribute to the potential dangers of lane splitting include:

  • Limited space: Riding between lanes leaves little room for error. Motorcycles have less protection compared to enclosed vehicles, and the space between lanes can be narrow. This increases the risk of sideswiping other vehicles or hitting stationary objects.
  • Driver awareness: Not all drivers are accustomed to motorcycle lane splitting, and there is a risk of drivers failing to check their mirrors or blind spots adequately. Lack of driver awareness can result in accidents when a vehicle changes lanes unexpectedly.
  • Speed differentials: Motorcyclists who split lanes at significantly higher speeds than surrounding traffic may have reduced reaction time and limited maneuverability. This can increase the risk of accidents, especially if other drivers are not anticipating or prepared for faster-moving motorcycles.
  • Road hazards: Lane splitting can expose motorcyclists to potential hazards such as uneven road surfaces, debris, or oil spills between lanes, which can increase the risk of loss of control.

To mitigate the risks associated with lane splitting, it is important for motorcyclists to adhere to safety guidelines and exercise caution. This includes riding at a safe and reasonable speed, being aware of surrounding traffic, utilizing proper signaling, and continuously scanning for potential hazards.

How Can Pacific Attorney Group Help?

If you have been involved in a motorcycle lane splitting accident in Los Angeles and choose to work with the Pacific Attorney Group, we will provide the following services and assistance:

  • Legal representation: The Pacific Attorney Group can offer legal representation and advocate on your behalf throughout the legal process. We can handle communication with insurance companies, negotiate settlements, or pursue litigation if necessary.
  • Case evaluation: The firm can evaluate the specific details of your case, including gathering evidence, reviewing medical records, and assessing liability. We can help determine the strength of your case and advise you on the potential legal options available.
  • Determining liability: We can investigate the accident to determine liability. We will review factors such as driver negligence, adherence to traffic laws, and any other relevant circumstances that contributed to the accident. This assessment can help establish fault and liability, which is essential for seeking compensation.
  • Seeking compensation: The firm can assist in pursuing compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses resulting from the accident. This may include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other applicable damages. We can help build a strong case to maximize the potential compensation you may be entitled to.
  • Settlement negotiation or litigation: Depending on the circumstances and the approach that best serves your interests, the Pacific Attorney Group can engage in negotiation with insurance companies or pursue litigation, if needed. We will work to achieve a fair settlement or, if necessary, prepare and present your case in court.

Book a consultation today to get personalized guidance based on the unique circumstances of your situation.