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Guidelines for lane-splitting in California

Whether you agree or not, you should know that is not against the law for motorcyclists to engage in lane-splitting in the state of California. If you do not already know, lane-splitting entails a motorcyclist weaving in between other vehicles or lanes to advance on the roadway. This topic is shrouded in controversy with many people believing the practice contributes to motorcycle accidents and others believing that lane-splitting is completely safe. Regardless of which side you may take, it looks like lane-splitting is here to stay for the time being.

Lest you think that California turns a blind eye to the practice of lane-splitting, you should know that there is a set of guidelines in place for this practice. Both motorcycle operators and other motorists should take time to review these guidelines so that all motor vehicles can operate in the safest manner as possible. A few key points of safe lane-splitting include the following.

-- Cyclists should not travel more than 10 mph faster than other motorists

-- Do not attempt to split lanes in an unfavorable environment

-- Avoid lane-splitting in traffic moving at 30 mph or faster

-- Remain alert to the pattern of movement other motorists display

-- Only engage in lane-splitting a safe and reasonable manner

-- Inexperienced motorcyclists should not attempt lane-splitting

Lane-splitting brings up many questions when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. For example, say you are safely lane-splitting in accordance with the California guidelines and you are struck by another vehicle. Does this mean you cannot file a personal injury claim or seek compensation? Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered in a general blog post, but an attorney can provide answers about your motorcycle accident since lane-splitting is not illegal in California.

Source: California Motorcyclist Safety Program, "Lane Splitting General Guidelines," accessed Oct. 26, 2016

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