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Lane splitting as cause in fatal motorcycle crash

Although motorcycle accident reports for a one-year period list lane splitting as the cause in one-sixth of the collisions in the state, California remains the only state that permits the practice. The dangers that are inherent in allowing a motorcyclist to pass other vehicles by traveling between adjacent lanes were tragically illustrated by a recent fatal motorcycle crash.

A motorcycle rider and his passenger were traveling between two trucks when the rider lost control. The motorcycle operator and passenger were thrown to the pavement. The passenger was hit by one of the trucks and suffered possibly catastrophic injuries. The rider landed in the path of the rear wheels of one of the trucks and was run over. He was declared dead at the scene of the fatal motorcycle crash.

The practice of lane splitting is supposed to make it easier and safer for motorcycle riders to make their way along congested California highways. State legislators have attempted to establish standards for maximum speeds at which motorcyclists can pass other vehicles by splitting lanes, but that has not happened.

Whether or not lane splitting is permitted on California roads does not excuse a motorist or motorcycle rider from the duty to exercise sound judgment about when to safely engage in the maneuver. Motorists must be mindful of the approach of passing motorcycle riders who are lane splitting and take precautions to avoid striking them. To do otherwise could make such a negligent motorist liable for paying compensation to a rider or passenger who is injured.

By the same token, a motorcycle operator who engages in the practice of lane splitting when it is unsafe to do so might be liable to an injured passenger or to others injured in a motorcycle accident that may result. An Orange County personal injury lawyer might be a good source of legal advice for individuals concerned about their right to compensation following motorcycle accidents in the state.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Lane-splitting motorcyclist dies when run over by truck on I-80 in West Sacramento," Bill Lindelof, Sept. 28, 2015

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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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