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Is lane splitting legal in California?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Car Accidents |

If you’ve ever driven in California, you may have seen motorcyclists weaving between cars in traffic. This practice, known as lane splitting, is a controversial issue that has sparked much debate and confusion among motorists and lawmakers alike. The legal status of lane splitting has implications on liability in the event of a motorcycle accident.

Legal status of lane splitting in California

Lane splitting is currently legal in California, but there are guidelines in place to ensure the safety of both motorcyclists and other drivers on the road. These guidelines include:

  • Motorcyclists should not exceed 10 mph faster than the speed of surrounding traffic
  • Lane splitting is only recommended on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or higher
  • Motorcyclists should not lane split between the far right lanes and the curb

Motorcyclists should also use caution when lane splitting near large vehicles, such as trucks and buses.

Liability implications of lane splitting

In the event of a motorcycle accident, lane splitting may impact liability in a number of ways. For example, if a motorcyclist was lane splitting at the time of an accident, another party may argue that the motorcyclist was acting recklessly and, therefore at fault for the accident.

On the other hand, if a driver suddenly changes lanes without checking for lane-splitting motorcyclists, the court may find them at fault for the accident. Additional drivers may share liability as well. Determining who the court should hold liable in a case like this can be extremely complex.

Lane splitting is legal in California, which means that motorcyclists are entitled to the same rights and protections as any other driver on the road. This includes the right to seek compensation for damages and injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident.