Dangers of Lane Splitting (And How They Can Cause Motor Vehicle Accidents)

January 20, 2018
On behalf of The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg Posted in Motor Vehicle Accident

Did you know that roughly one in six motorcycle accidents in California involves a motorcyclist who is lane-splitting?

Even our Los Angeles motor vehicle accident attorney Howard Craig Kornberg can’t argue that riding a motorcycle around Los Angeles can be fun. Lane splitting? Well, not so much.

Even though motorcycles are considered dangerous no matter what you’re doing in traffic – lane splitting, showing off wheelies and other stunts, or simply parking your bike – lane splitting is by far the most dangerous maneuver you can do on your motorcycle.

Fact: over 5,000 Americans die in motorcycle accidents across the country every year, while 100,000 others sustain injuries.

Our best motor vehicle accident attorneys in Los Angeles have handled hundreds of traffic accidents involving bikes, and more than a third of them involved lane splitting.

What is lane splitting?

What is lane splitting anyway? Lane splitting refers to the controversial and dangerous practice of a motorcyclist riding between two lanes (splitting them in half, so to speak) during traffic jams or when traffic is moving slowly.

Contrary to the popular belief that lane splitting prevents motorcyclists from getting rear-ended when motorists have to engage in jerky driving in traffic jams, it actually does the opposite: lane splitting leads to even more motor vehicle accidents in Los Angeles.

Our attorneys Howard Craig Kornberg note that other names for lane splitting also include lane sharing, filtering, and white-lining.

Fact: there are more than 800,000 registered motorcycles in California, and practically all of them take advantage of lane splitting in order to bypass traffic jams and slow-moving traffic.

Is lane splitting legal or illegal in Los Angeles?

Despite the extreme and ever-growing popularity of motorcycles in Los Angeles and all across California, many motorcyclists underestimate the deadly risks of lane splitting and other bike maneuvers that catch other motorists off guard.

But is lane splitting even legal in Los Angeles and California? According to the California Vehicle Code, lane splitting is legal as long as it’s done properly and in a safe manner.

Fact: lane splitting is not illegal in California, but it’s illegal in many other states across the country.

However, the California Vehicle Code clearly states that it’s illegal for car drivers to intentionally block a biker from engaging in lane splitting, as this kind of conduct puts the motorcyclist at an even larger risk of an accident.

Our motor vehicle accident attorneys here at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg point out that motorcyclists can still receive a ticket for lane splitting if they do it in a reckless manner or if they violate traffic rules while moving between vehicles.

Dangers of lane splitting

Our attorneys in Los Angeles outline seven factors that can make lane splitting even more dangerous:

  • Beginners attempting lane splitting;
  • There isn’t enough space to ride between two vehicles;
  • Traffic is moving too fast to even attempt to squeeze a motorcycle between two vehicles;
  • Traffic movement cannot be predicted (lane changes, turns, etc.);
  • Poor road or weather conditions;
  • Moving between trucks or other large vehicles;
  • Lane splitting while DUI.

Lane splitting can cause serious injuries and even motor vehicle fatalities in motorcycle accidents, our motor vehicle accident attorneys in Los Angeles warn. When lane splitting, a motorcyclist puts not only his/her own life at risk, but also the lives of his/her passengers and other motorists.

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a motorcyclist that engaged in lane splitting, contact our motor vehicle accident lawyer right away to find launch an investigation and prove the motorcyclist’s fault.

Call our Los Angeles offices at 310-997-0904 or fill out this contact form to get a free consultation.


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