Lane Splitting Motorcycle Accidents

Lane splitting, also known as lane sharing or white-lining, refers to the practice of a motorcycle passing other vehicles by driving in their lane or between lanes on the white line. It is illegal in most of the United States, and is either explicitly outlawed or the prohibition is implied by various other overlapping traffic laws. In California, however, lane splitting is expressly allowed, as long as it is done in a safe and prudent manner.

The California Driver Handbook does distinguish between lane sharing and splitting, although both are legal. The Handbook recommends that automobiles not to share lanes with motorcycles, and states that "although it is not illegal to share lanes with motorcycles, it is unsafe." The Handbook further defines lane splitting as motorcycles driving "in the unused space between two lines of moving or stationary vehicles" during congested road conditions, but refers to the practice as legal. Automobile drivers are admonished to be aware of lane splitting, and to look carefully for motorcyclists before opening doors next to moving traffic.

Safe and Prudent Manner

The stipulation that lane splitting be accomplished in a "safe and prudent manner" is not clearly defined and depends entirely upon the surrounding circumstances in a particular case. In nearly every instance, when in slow moving or stopped traffic, one could assume “safe and prudent” to mean progressing slowly. The police officer issuing a citation or preparing a report at the scene of an accident is the initial determinant about the manner in which lane splitting was conducted, but that determination is not incontrovertible. At trial, it will be up to the jury to render a final decision.

To Split or Not to Split

Lane splitting accidents are controversial because the practice is viewed by many as potentially dangerous to all concerned. Some motorcyclists claim that sitting in traffic on a slow or congested highway is dangerous to the biker, however, who runs a risk of being rear-ended by an inattentive driver. Both points probably have some validity. The fact is that motorcyclists and automobiles must always be aware of and respectful of each other. When a person drives or rides negligently and causes an accident, the injured victim is entitled to hold the other person accountable and to recover compensation for the injuries and damages caused.

Have a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Claims

Where accidents occur involving lane splitting, the question of negligence may be complex. People injured under these circumstances in Los Angeles and Southern California trust The Nagelberg Bernard Law Groupto represent them fully and to fight to ensure that the proper negligent parties are held accountable for their actions.

The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group has dedicated his career to advocating for the rights of the injured accident victim. If you or a loved one has been involved in a lane splitting accidents, contact The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group.


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