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Lane splitting found to be legal and safe for California bikers

Imagine you are stuck in a traffic jam, crawling along at a snail's pace, getting more and more frustrated because you are going to be late for work, an appointment, or to pick the kids up from school. Suddenly, some guy on a motorcycle zips effortlessly between you and the car in the next lane.

Anyone who has been driving in Southern California for long has certainly had this experience. You probably think to yourself something like, "What a jerk," or "That guy is going get road rash." But according to two recent studies commissioned by the Office of Traffic Safety, this practice, referred to as "lane splitting," might actually be relatively safe.

One of the studies, which was conducted at U.C. Berkley's Safe Transportation Research and Education Center found that lane splitting can generally be done safely when the overall traffic flow is no more than 30 mph, and the motorcycle is moving only 10 mph faster than the overall traffic flow.

If traffic is moving faster or the speed differential is greater, more motorcycle accidents tend to happen. The study was conducted by reviewing a year's worth of supplemental motorcycle accident investigation reports prepared by the California Highway Patrol and several police departments.

Currently, lane splitting by motorcyclists is legal in California, but it is not legal in any other states. Another independent study showed that an increasing number of motorists realize that lane splitting is not illegal, and more than half of motorists approve of the practice.

Whether or not a motorcyclist chooses to engage in lane splitting, safety should always be the primary consideration because a crash can cause catastrophic injuries and even death. Anyone who has had the misfortune to be injured in a motorcycle crash should seek the advice of a competent personal injury attorney.

Source: The Press Enterprise, "Lane Splitting: California drivers divided over practice," Jan Sears, Oct. 26, 2014

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Law Offices of William W. Green & Associates
505 S. Villa Real
Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-464-6903
Toll Free: 866-543-7598
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