Lane Splitting in California: Everything You Need to Know

Lane splitting is the action of riding a bicycle or motorcycle between lanes or rows of slow moving or stopped traffic moving in the same direction. Unlike many other states, California allows motorcyclists to lane split. However, while lane splitting is legal in the Golden State, it is not without its risks. Because of the dangers, motorcyclists typically only lane split in specific situations. 

If you get into a car accident while lane splitting, you may have the right to pursue legal action and financial compensation. Call our knowledgeable legal team at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. to learn more about your legal rights.

Our goal in every case is to provide outstanding results for our clients. We understand the unfair biases people often have on motorcyclists, as we have represented many people who suffered injuries from motorcycle accidents. With 30 years of experience, we understand the complexities of motorcycle injury claims and fight for maximum compensation for our motorcycle clients. 

We can help you understand when you may lane split, how to do so safely, and how to protect your rights after an accident.

When May Motorcyclists Lane Split in California?

While California law allows lane splitting, you must ensure conditions are safe to do so. These conditions include:

  • Traffic flow is under 30 miles per hour, and motorcyclists drive no more than 10 miles per hour faster than the traffic.
  • The motorcyclist does not weave in and out of lanes.
  • The lanes are wide enough for motorcyclists to move between vehicles.

If you lane split on California roads, drivers cannot intentionally block you or prevent you from doing it. If a driver does this or fails to check for motorcyclists before changing lanes, they may be held liable for your injuries and other damages. If we represent you in a motorcycle injury claim, we will gather evidence to prove your lane split was safe and legal, and that another driver’s negligence caused the accident.

How to Stay Safe While Lane Splitting

Even though California allows lane splitting, it’s imperative to follow all safety precautions to ensure you are fulfilling your duty to drive carefully and safely. The following tips may help keep you and other drivers safe and aware of your presence:

Stay Visible

Try your best to avoid people’s blind spots and lingering between vehicles when lane splitting. This allows other drivers to see you if they need to change lanes. If a driver does hit you, you won’t take the blame if they did not check before switching lanes.

Slow Down

You should not drive over 10 miles per hour over the follow of traffic, which should be under 30 miles per hour when lane splitting. Therefore, you should check your speed when lane splitting because higher speeds may increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

Avoid Large Vehicles

Lane splitting next to large vehicles like trucks and buses may be dangerous. It’s best to avoid these types of vehicles when lane splitting to prevent any accidents. Motorcycles also have fewer protections than other vehicles, so getting into a crash with a truck or bus could result in serious injuries.

Wear Proper Gear

Not only should you wear protective gear for your own safety, but you should also keep your lights on and wear reflective items so other drivers may see you, especially when you lane split. Keeping your headlights on at all times, even in the daylight, is another way to remain visible and ensure you uphold your duty of care for others.

What Happens If a Driver Hits You While You’re Lane Splitting?

If another driver hits you while you are safely lane splitting, you may need help figuring out what to do first. The best steps to ensure you protect your rights and better your chances of achieving the compensation you deserve include the following:

  • Seek immediate medical attention
  • Take as many photos and videos of the scene and your injuries as possible
  • Write down any witness information
  • Contact a highly skilled motorcycle accident lawyer

These steps give you the evidence you need to prove your claim and how much your claim is worth. Contacting an experienced motorcycle injury attorney allows you to focus on recovery while we manage every aspect of your claim. If we represent you, we will take the paperwork and insurance adjusters off your plate so you can focus on the most important thing: healing. Additionally, we will file your claim for you and take your claim to trial if necessary.

Consult a Professional California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp.

While California law allows motorcyclists to drive between lanes of traffic, you should ensure you follow all safety precautions and only do so in the appropriate conditions. However, another driver may still hit you no matter how carefully you drive. In these claims, you deserve a knowledgeable lawyer who will fight to recover maximum compensation on your behalf and hold the other party accountable for their careless actions.

At Eric Ratinoff Law Corp., we provide outstanding legal representation to motorcycle accident victims, as we have for the last three decades. We employ numerous resources to communicate our clients’ losses. From highly credible expert witnesses to graphic storyboards and micro-documentaries, we get to the heart of every claim. Schedule a free consultation by calling us at (916) 970-9100 or filling out our contact form.