One of the most controversial and misconstrued practices involved with motorcycles is known as lane splitting. Most drivers have come into contact with at least one motorcyclist who has attempted to maneuver through slow or stopped traffic by driving between lanes. What many motorists do not realize is that this practice, although risky, is actually legal in California. Most states do not specifically prohibit lane splitting but California is one of the only states that explicitly permit it. While it is legal, lane splitting must be carried out carefully and with skill so as to avoid an accident, which can result in serious injuries to the motorcycle driver.
Lane splitting has earned motorcyclists a notorious reputation and is viewed upon with disdain by many on the road. This biased undermines the fact that lane splitting is not only legal but it can be executed safely for both the rider and the drivers around him. It also undermines the hundreds of innocent motorcycle riders that are injured or killed every year in motorcycle accidents while sharing lanes within the bounds of the law. Since California allows riders to share lanes, the drivers in other vehicles have an equal responsibility to practice care when there are motorcyclists around them.
It would be inaccurate to claim that all lane splitting accidents are caused by a motorist's wrongdoing. Many motorcyclists do not have the discernment and ability to lane split safely. However, the legality of the practices requires both motorcyclists and motorists to be aware of their surroundings and act according to circumstances. This means that motorists should respect a rider's right to split lanes and allow them to do so safely as circumstances permit.
Even under California's laws, motorcyclists are often presumed to have contributed to a lane splitting accident. This means that there is a biased against them and the practice both on the road and in the court room. However, it is possible for a motorcyclist to be compensated for his or her injures after a lane splitting accident if they prove that another driver's actions contributed to the incident. Such a claim would include proving the following:
The principle behind these claims is to ensure that drivers are aware of driving laws and their responsibility to share the road with motorcyclists. Surprisingly, a large number of lane splitting accidents involve angry drivers who are unaware that lane splitting is legal and unwilling to make room for an approaching motorcyclist. Whether or not someone agrees with the practice is irrelevant to their responsibility to promote the safety of others. Being in disagreement with lane splitting is not enough reason to jeopardize the life of an innocent motorcyclist. Drivers who place others in harm without reason should not go without accountability and motorcyclists who have done nothing wrong should not be left to deal with the costs of injuries alone.
If you are a motorcyclist in the Santa Clarita Valley, the best way to avoid a lane splitting accident is to ride smart and safely. As a rider, your responsibility is to share lanes within the law and at a safe speed. Beyond that, if a driver was unwilling to share lanes safely or was negligent and contributed to an accident in which you were injured, you do have rights to pursue compensation. When a motorcyclist is killed or injured in an accident, costs are especially high due to the severity of these accidents. The victims and their families deserve to be repaid as much as possible for the hurt and pain they endure. Such claims can be difficult to prove, which is why you should contact a Santa Clarita motorcycle accident lawyer from The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus for help in building a solid case for compensation.