You will often observe motorcycle riders splitting lanes on the freeway when traffic has slowed to crawl. Under these circumstances, most drivers have the same question in mind, “Is it legal to lane split?”
For the past several years, the answer to that question is yes and no. Actually, California currently has no law on the books legalizing or outlawing the practice of lane splitting. In 2013, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) issued written guidelines advising motorcyclist not to lane split when traffic is traveling more than 30 miles per hour. The guidelines also indicated that lane splitters could not travel over 10 miles per hour faster than regular traffic. However, the guidelines were scrapped in response to complaints that proper rule-making procedures were not followed in formulating the rules.
Recently, a study on lane-splitting was commissioned by the CHP and Office of Traffic Safety which was directed by professors at UC Berkeley. The results of the study have led to the California Assembly’s May 28th passage of AB 51, which makes it legal for motorcyclist to lane-split up to 15 miles per hour faster than regular traffic. The bill also makes it illegal for motorcyclist to travel over 50 miles per hour while lane-splitting. The bill is currently being considered in the California Senate and therefore its passage is under consideration.
The passage of AB 51 was driven by making the road safer for motorcyclist. Between 1998 and 2008, the number of motorcycle related deaths almost tripled. In fact, the number of deaths in California increased from 415 to 435 between 2011 and 2012, according to recent statistics.
Unfortunately, drivers of motor vehicles often fail to look out for lane-splitting motorcyclist on the highway and surface streets. Therefore, lane splitting can often lead to an automobile striking a motorcyclist causing serious injuries or death. If you or your loved one has been injured as a result of a motorcycle accident, you will need the assistance of an experienced attorney to make a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company and/or file a lawsuit.
The Law Offices of Jual F. Reyes is an experienced personal injury law firm that represents motorcyclist and their families in their time of need. Contact an experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney at the Law Offices of Jual F. Reyes today for a free consultation at 877-242-4410.