Motorcycles are popular in part due to their compact frame and quick maneuvering abilities. Many fast-reflexed motorcyclists can massively cut down their travel time by taking back alleys, weaving between cars, and even riding between lanes of vehicles. When caught in heavy traffic, some motorcyclists will ride between two lanes of slow or immobile cars, passing them through the middle. This is called lane splitting.
Lane splitting, also known as stripe riding, is an efficient way of motorcycle travel where the rider drives between two lanes of cars going the same direction. This can be to avoid the stop-and-go process of moving through a traffic jam or to cut to the front of vehicles sitting at a traffic light.
An unorthodox way of navigating traffic like lane splitting may worry others on the road that there could be an accident resulting in the need for a lawyer for motorcycle crashes in Sherman Oaks. Lane splitting accounts for around 17% of motorcycle crashes, but a motorcycle crash lawyer can tell you that these accidents typically result in less severe injuries. It all depends on the safety precautions taken by the motorcyclist.
However, negligence on behalf of the motorcycle rider and car driver can still result in an accident. A Sherman Oaks injury lawyer can give you more information on handling the insurance battle that follows a motorcycle accident.
Is Lane Splitting Dangerous?
The bare-bones manufacturing of a motorcycle makes their riders much more susceptible to injury when they collide with another vehicle or the ground. Motorcycle riders are in greater peril when they are caught in heavy traffic and surrounded by more vehicles; in fact, it’s estimated that 59% of accidents happen in moderate or heavy traffic.
Rear-ending is also a common cause of motorcycle accidents, and these can especially occur when traffic is in a gridlock. In 2015, a study found that motorcyclists are significantly less likely to be struck from behind when they are lane splitting.
Lane Splitting Safety
Since lane splitting involves riding in such a tight space, it’s important to have a clear mental image of how much space you really have. Take a look at the width of your handlebars and add two feet to either side to accommodate the side mirrors of other cars.
Experienced motorcyclists stay safe by following the four R’s: </span
- Be Reasonable – Unsafe driving practices such as speeding and driving while intoxicated makes you more likely to crash.
- Be Responsible – The #1 person responsible for your safety is you. You can’t always assume that other drivers have your safety in mind on the road.
- Be Respectful – Being respectful to others on the road by giving them extra space will pay off in the long run for you.
- Beware Roadways – Stay focused and aware at all times. Heavy traffic is dangerous, but riding a motorcycle is even more perilous when it’s rainy or foggy or when the road is riddled with potholes.
Legality of Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is a common practice in areas outside of the United States, like Asia and Europe. However, lane splitting is not as warmly accepted in a car-centric country like the U.S.
California is the only state where lane splitting is explicitly legal, and it’s illegal in most other states. Utah has strict regulations surrounding lane splitting, and some other states have introduced bills to legalize lane splitting.
Who’s Liable in a Lane Splitting Accident
An accident can easily occur while a motorcyclist is lane splitting because there’s less space to maneuver and less time to react due to the close proximity of other vehicles.
Liability in a motorcycle accident largely depends on the actions of the two parties leading up to the accident. An attorney for motorcycle accident compensation will tell you that compensation for your accident will vary depending on the amount of negligence you showed.
In a state where lane splitting is illegal, a motorcyclist who was lane splitting at the time will have a difficult or impossible battle for motorcycle accident compensation. Even in California where lane splitting is legal, proving the other driver is completely responsible for the accident will be a tough job for a motorcycle accident attorney.
Your attorney for motorcycle accident compensation will try to prove to the courts that the other driver contributed to the accident so that your injuries and property damage can be partially or fully covered. Proving that the other driver is liable for the accident will rely on proving a few points:
- The motorcyclist is experienced
- The motorcyclist was careful, meaning they weren’t speeding or driving recklessly
- The motorcyclist completed a motorcycle safety class prior to the accident
- The other driver exhibited careless driving, like swerving between lanes or changing lanes without signaling or checking over their shoulder
While it will be hard to prove that you were not liable in your lane splitting accident, it’s not impossible with the help of an experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer in Sherman Oaks. Contacting an attorney like Okhovat Law is the first step in ensuring your bodily injuries and property damage are compensated following the accident.