Motorcycle Lane-Splitting: May Soon Be Legal In California
Motorcyclists and motorists are expected to share the road. Due to their different designs, motorcycles and automobiles travel differently. While cars are expected to stay in their lanes, motorcycles can often be found zooming by between cars, known as lane splitting. California may soon be the first state to explicitly legalize motorcycle lane splitting.
The Study Behind Lane Splitting
All other states explicitly ban lane splitting by motorcycles. Motorists often complain about how annoying and shocking it is when motorcyclists flash past them, causing them to accidentally hit the motorcyclist that appeared out of nowhere.
However, a new UC Berkeley study shows that lane splitting may be a much safer technique. The study further reveals that motorcyclists on freeways are less likely to be involved in accidents while splitting lanes than they are while sitting in stop-and-go traffic. This is partly due to the fact that when bikers are less visible to other motorists, they are more vulnerable to getting into potentially catastrophic rear-end accidents. Considering the safety of this technique, the California legislature is slowly attempting to make lane splitting legal.
The Lane Splitting Bill
The motorcycle lane-splitting bill, which was passed by the assembly on a 58-14 vote, will allow California bikers to legally split lanes in the state. However, there are caveats to the bill. Under the terms of the bill, motorcyclists will be allowed to travel between cars at a maximum speed of 15 mph faster than the flow of traffic up to an overall speed of 50 mph. These numbers are based in part on the UC Berkeley study.
The next step is for the bill to be approved by the Senate.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Regardless of whether the bill passes or not, motorcyclists still need to consider safety tips to prevent getting into accidents. Some recommendations for a safe ride include:
Remain visible – You should help motorists see you by wearing visible clothes and not splitting lanes at night or when the weather conditions may affect your visibility.
Wear protective gear – Wearing protective gear, such as a helmet and leather pants and jacket, can avoid serious injuries during an accident.
Stay between the #1 and #2 lanes – Motorists are more accustomed and expect motorcyclists to split lanes between the furthest left lanes. As such, they more likely to look out for bikers in these lanes.
Do not ride recklessly – One important way to prevent or reduce the likelihood of getting into a serious motorcycle accident is to ride safely and avoid excessive speeds.
Call Us Today!
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident that was caused by the reckless actions of another motorist, you should immediately consult an experienced attorney as you may be entitled to compensation. For more information or to consult with a motorcycle accident attorney, please call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas toll free at 1-888-848-5084.