Recently, a friend of mine told me that he witnessed a motorcycle lane-splitting accident.
For those of you who don’t know, lane-splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between cars, usually while the cars are stopped in traffic.
It’s not illegal for motorcyclists to lane-split. In fact, California is moving ahead with its plan to formally legalize the practice, as discussed here. Other states may follow.
So, who’s at fault in a lane-splitting accident? Obviously, the answer depends on the circumstances of each case. Here are some common lane-splitting accident scenarios:
Left Turns. Left-turns often result in motorcycle collisions. Drivers are accustomed to scanning ahead for vehicle traffic, but not training their field of vision in between the lanes to check for motorcyclists who might be lane-splitting as they approach. The left-turning vehicle is usually to blame in this scenario, for failing to yield to oncoming traffic.
Lane Changes. This is probably the most common scenario.
Changing lanes, especially close to an intersection where traffic is stopped is ground zero for motorcycle collisions. The adjacent lane might be clear, but did you check your blind spot?
Did you check to make sure the area between the lanes was clear? That’s probably where a motorcyclist will be riding as he or she approaches the intersection.
The driver changing lanes in this scenario would be at fault for attempting to change lanes without ensuring traffic was clear first.
Motorcycle collisions can be devastating. Upon sustaining an impact, there’s usually only one place the rider will go: Into the air, then down onto the pavement. Hard.
Help protect our motorcyclist friends. Remember they have the right to lane-split; and check in between the lanes before turning left or changing lanes.
For questions about your case, your Los Angeles accident and Rabbi Lawyer is always ready to assist.