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CHP policy change on motorcycle accidents and lane splitting

In a recent post we discussed the legalization of lane splitting in California. As you may recall, lane splitting is the procedure in which a motorcycle rider passes vehicles going in the same direction on a multi-lane road by passing between two lanes. As we pointed out, studies appeared to support the safety of the practice although some people believed it might contribute to an increase in motorcycle collision incidents.

Apparently, the California Highway Patrol is having second thoughts about lane splitting. After posting guidelines on its official website that appeared to offer rules for motorcycle operators and other motorists concerning the practice, the CHP has abruptly removed them.

In place of the guidelines, the CHP has now posted a safety update in which it explains that objections from the public to the guidelines led to their removal. The announcement cautions drivers and motorcycle riders that the state's decision not to penalize riders who pass vehicles within their own lane should not be interpreted as official encouragement of the practice.

The CHP announcement recognizes the risk of catastrophic injuries or death in the event of a motorcycle accident. It cautions riders to avoid speeding, watch out for other vehicles, and to wear a helmet and other safety equipment. One of the cautions was the avoidance of riding within another vehicle's blind spot, which could be interpreted as a reference to one of the dangers associated with lane splitting.

Lane splitting might be legal in Orange County and other parts of the state, but offering drivers and motorcycle riders guidance on how to safely perform the maneuver appears to have been interpreted at least by some as an official endorsement of the practice. It now appears that at least one California law enforcement agency has had second thoughts about that perception. This could be an indication that the procedure might not be as safe as earlier studies might have led people to believe.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury or other catastrophic injury in a motorcycle accident, a negligent driver might be responsible. A good source for information about lane splitting, as well as your rights and responsibilities if you are a motorcycle accident victim, is an Orange County personal injury attorney. 

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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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