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Your Personal Injury Lawyer for Lane Splitting Accidents in California
With Californian cities being famous for gridlocked traffic, the possibility of lane splitting can be one of the draws of biking to and from work. Being able to swap sitting in a stifling car in slow-moving or stopped traffic for freely driving along those white lines is the major plus point for a motorcycle commute. But it does come with certain risks.
Lane splitting is not fully legal in any other state than California. Because of this, there is an alarmingly large number of drivers that are unaware that you can do this legally. As a result, car drivers changing lanes may not be looking out for motorcyclists splitting lanes. The same goes for people visiting from out of state, long-haul truck drivers and any other drivers that may not be familiar with California’s road laws.
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Thankfully, as cars tend to move slowly between lanes in slow-moving or stationary traffic, the speeds involved in lane splitting are usually low. However, you may be traveling quickly enough on your bike to increase your risk of serious consequences. The risk of severe injury and even death increases as speed differentials increase.
So, what can you do to keep your lane splitting as safe as possible?
1. Assume drivers can’t/won’t see you
With lane splitting being such a Californian niche and the state being a popular tourist magnet, the safest thing you can do is presume that none of the drivers in either lane know that you’re even allowed to be there. This will impact your behavior and make sure you’re extra cautious.
2. Keep your speed down
Speed is the number one factor in determining how dangerous an accident is. Even if the surrounding cars and other vehicles are moving slowly, things can quickly change and impatient car drivers may begin to make maneuvers that interfere with your clear line of sight.
3. Avoid blind spots
When splitting lanes in slow-moving traffic, be sure to avoid loitering in the blind spots of cars and larger vehicles. Semi trucks can have very large blind spots, so you could be traveling for a number of seconds while completely invisible to the driver. This might not sound like a lot but it only takes one split-second to cause an accident.
4. Split lanes between the far left lanes
It’s generally safer to split lanes between the lanes on the far left.
5. Wear a helmet/body cam
This won’t exactly help prevent an accident but helmet or body cam footage is one of the most helpful tools available in pursuing a personal injury case.
Despite the negative press that lane splitting can receive, there are some instances where filtering can be safer. For example, stopping between stationary cars can make a motorcyclist more vulnerable. It is possible for parked cars to misjudge the space required by bikers when beginning to move again, meaning the motorcyclist is at risk of being rear-ended. This is much more dangerous for a motorcyclist than a car driver: somebody in a car may suffer whiplash but a motorcyclist could be knocked over and crushed under their bike after even a minor nudge from another vehicle. Similarly, stationary cars in front of a motorbike may not be able to see the motorcyclist, then fail to consider them in future maneuvers once traffic starts going again.
If you’ve been injured in a lane splitting accident in California, you need a local law firm that has expert experience in dealing with the state’s road laws. As avid bikers ourselves, we know how it feels to use these roads on two wheels and we know how quickly accidents can happen. Our main aim is to represent you as a biker in the way you need so you can get your life back on track after your injury. If you’re ready to speak to a personal injury lawyer about your lane splitting accident, get in touch with our team today. We put our clients first, so we’ll be happy to arrange a face-to-face consultation wherever is easiest for you, or even a video call if you prefer.