“It takes communication, compassion and negotiation to get results, not a bulldog in the courtroom. Nice guys don’t always finish last.”

– Scott Blumen

When are lane-splitting motorcyclists the most dangerous?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Auto Accident Injuries

Responsible drivers are always scanning the road so they aren’t caught off-guard by someone who makes a sudden lane change without looking or who steps out into traffic against a light or where there’s no crosswalk. Here in California, drivers also need to be on the lookout for lane-splitting motorcyclists.

Currently, California is the most lane-splitting-friendly state in the country. The California Vehicle Code (CVC) defines it as “driving a motorcycle…between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane….” Lane splitting can help prevent motorcyclists from getting stuck in traffic jams. It can even help minimize traffic congestion for others. However, a lane-splitting biker can startle a driver or even not be visible to them until it’s too late.

Conditions aren’t always safe for lane splitting

Just because lane splitting itself isn’t prohibited in California, that doesn’t mean it’s safe or allowed under all circumstances. A motorcyclist who’s lane splitting and speeding is especially dangerous to themselves, in addition to others. It’s particularly dangerous to lane split at a high speed through the stop-and-go (or just plain stopped) traffic that motorists often encounter on the state’s freeways.

Motorcyclists who lane split have a responsibility to make sure they’re seen by drivers before they cut in front of them and not to make sudden reckless moves that could cause a collision (involving them or not). They need to take care to avoid drivers’ blind spots. This is particularly important around larger vehicles like trucks and RVs.

If you collided with a motorcyclist who was recklessly lane splitting or with another vehicle as you swerved to avoid a motorcyclist who appeared out of nowhere, you may have little or no fault for the crash. It’s crucial not to accept the blame (or financial responsibility) for others’ reckless or negligent behavior on the roads when you’re the one who should be holding a liable party accountable. By seeking legal guidance as soon as possible, you can help to protect your right to justice and compensation.