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Does Lane-Splitting Affect Recovery for My Motorcycle Accident?

By Walton Law APCJune 29, 2022February 20th, 2024No Comments

Sitting in gridlock or being stop-and-go on freeways for hours is never a Southern Californian’s idea of fun; people try to avoid it whenever possible. For motorcyclists, that often includes moving between vehicles and splitting lanes. However, the practice often results in accidents, leading to injuries and/or fatalities. In fact, more than 400 motorcyclists lost their lives on California streets in the span of just a year according to the Governors Highway Safety Program. Motorists who strike a lane-splitting rider often argue the motorcyclist’s behavior was negligent and they, in fact, caused the collision; however, it’s not always the motorcyclist’s fault. A skilled Southern California personal injury attorney can often make the case the rider was not the cause of the collision.

Lane-Splitting Defined

Lane-splitting involves a motorcyclist riding between vehicles in different rows of traffic using their same lane. No state besides California specifically allows it. Proponents argue lane-splitting benefits riders in many ways, such as:

  • Escape being trapped by vehicles;
  • Escape being rear-ended; and/or
  • Avoid breathing in excessive amounts of vehicle exhaust.

However, lane-splitting does carry risks even if it is legally permitted in California. Motorcyclists can be hurt or killed when drivers fail to check mirrors or blind spots when changing lanes; motorists also commonly – and illegally – exit or enter carpool lanes by crossing double yellow lines into or out of standstill traffic.

Winning a Personal Injury Case if You Were Lane-Splitting

California motorcycle accident injury victims prevail by showing a party’s negligence injured them. To show negligence, you must prove they:

  • Had a legal duty of care to you;
  • Breached it through act or omission; and
  • Caused you injury because of the breach.

Motorists have a legal duty of care to everyone on the road to drive safely – that includes following traffic laws such as respecting double yellow lines, signaling when changing lanes, putting away the cell phone, and obeying speed limits.

Because California legalized lane-splitting, there must be factors showing a lane-splitting rider was negligent and at-fault for the accident and their injuries. This could include speeding, traveling at greater speeds than the vehicles surrounding them, or lane-splitting by highway exit and entrance lanes and ramps. Evidence may prove if a motorcyclist was acting negligently at the time of the crash, such as:

  • Dash cam footage;
  • Helmet cam footage;
  • Traffic camera footage;
  • Eyewitness testimony; and/or
  • Physical evidence such as skid marks.

Contact a Lawyer Now

If you or a loved one were injured while lane-splitting, contact the experienced Southern California Personal Injury Attorneys at Walton Law, APC without delay. We have spent years aggressively representing victims like you and have recovered millions in damages on their behalf. Contact us 24/7 by calling (866) 338-7079 or using our Contact Us page to schedule your risk-free, confidential case review today. The initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our attorneys review the facts of your claim, answer your questions, and use our knowledge, skills, and resources to win your case and get maximum possible compensation on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery. Don’t wait – get started today!