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Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle and biker accident and injury claims in California including Los Angeles. Mopeds, scooters and two wheeled motorized vehicle mishaps.

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Biker, Lane Split, Law, CaliforniaLane-splitting, the practice of motorcyclists passing slower-moving vehicles by riding in between them, may soon become legal in California. Currently, the practice lies in a legal gray area in the state with lane-splitting not officially being made legal or illegal in the state’s statutes. That may soon change, however, if a bill passes and is signed into law by the governor. If the bill passes, California will become the first state in which lane-splitting is made formally legal.

Bill AB 51 and guidelines for lane-splitting

The bill, AB 51, was prompted by a citizen complaint after the California Highway Patrol issued safety guidelines for lane-splitting in 2015. Prior to that, law enforcement agencies had treated lane-splitting as tacitly allowed. The CHP’s guidelines gave suggestions for how motorcyclists could safely engage in the practice, prompting the citizen complaint about the CHP making public policy, prompting the CHP to remove the guidelines.

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Motorcycle Riding, Motorcycle SafetyIs motorcycle lane splitting safe? Motorcycle riding can be exhilarating especially when motorcyclists can navigate the road quicker than most automobiles. Motorcyclists can garner attention from vehicle drivers because of their motorcycle’s loud noise and eye-catching designs. However, despite the attractiveness of motorcycles and their swift performance, some motorcyclists ignore safety rules when they decide to ride in lanes between two vehicles. While most drivers may be trying to assess the amount of space they have to drive between other vehicles, a motorcyclist can change and split lanes before vehicle drivers can complete their road assessment. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands of motorcyclist deaths have occurred over the past four years. Most of the factors that have led to motorcycle deaths include speeding, alcohol abuse, and racing. These factors may also be linked to lane-splitting.

Lane-Splitting Injury Statistics

A recent study revealed that the frequency of lane-splitting is a growing trend particularly citing over 900 collision incidents which occurred over a 15 month period during 2012 through 2013. The injuries incurred from lane-splitting included brain, neck, torso, and extremities injuries. Although the number of motorcycle collisions peaked close to 6,000, the lane-splitting collision statistic is alarming due to the catastrophic impact this type of riding has on drivers who are not comfortable with motorcyclists riding too close to their vehicles. One of the pros cited among interviewed motorcyclists indicated claims of safety specifically during parallel vehicle riding. Additional reasoning included increased motorcyclist visibility, ease of lane changing, and reduction of lane crowding. Although some motorcyclists claim these benefits, these claims are based on their perception and not the perception of vehicle drivers who may or may not see them coming. Many motorcyclists have shown their ability to assume that vehicle drivers anticipate their arrival and will wait for them to pass. These assumptions have proven to be wrong particularly with the evidence of motorcyclists’ deaths.

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California Law, Motorcycle Passengers, Injury to Passenger on MotorcycleWhat does California law say about carrying passengers on a motorcycle and if there is are injuries to a passengers on motorcycles, who is responsible? As a personal injury lawyer who routinely handles motorcycle collision claims, this is an issue that I deal with quite frequently.  There are various provisions of the California Vehicle Code and general negligence laws that come into play in analyzing these issues.  I wanted to try to answer some of the common questions that come up in this post.

Is it legal to carry someone on the back of my bike?

The answer to this question, like most legal questions is, it depends.  The main provision of law in play is California Vehicle Code §27800 which mandates that it is unlawful to carry another person on a motorcycle as a passenger unless:

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