SHARING THE ROAD — LANE SHARING AND LANE SPLITTING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA12-Dec-2012
Considering the long expanses of picturesque roads and highways in Southern California, it's no surprise that California streets, roads and highways beckon to motorcyclists and their passengers. But the same roads and highways can be gruelish during heavy traffic.
To get through traffic jams more quickly, some motorcyclists lane share - that is, they use the same lane as cars and trucks that are stopped in traffic. Others bikers sometimes resort to lane splitting - driving between traffic lanes to pass stopped vehicles.
Lane splitting and lane sharing by bikers are accepted practices in California, according to the California Highway Patrol. While these driving techniques may be more dangerous than remaining parked, they can help motorcyclists avoid problems with carbon monoxide in congested traffic, as well as being rear-ended. Thus, the practices are not illegal, but bikers and motorists need to pay attention for unexpected events - unaware or inattentive motorists can jeopardize the safety of the biker, and even other motorists.
According to a motorcycle safety instructor at Camp Pendleton, only experienced riders should engage in lane sharing because it reduces the time that a biker will have to react to an unexpected event, like a motorist decided to change lanes without checking his or her blind spots. The motorcycle safety instructor also cautioned bikers from driving too quickly in stopped traffic. Motorcyclists who lane share or lane split must still maneuver safely through traffic congestion.
At the same time, drivers of cars, trucks and SUVs that are stuck in traffic on California highways also have the duty to obey traffic laws. If a driver fails to look or signal before changing lanes and then collides with a motorcyclist who is lane sharing the driver may be cited by a police officer or held liable for any injuries caused to the motorcyclist.
If you have been the victim of an accident caused by lane sharing or lane splitting, you are entitled to just compensation for your injuries and medical bills. Contact a personal injury attorney in California to file a claim for your injuries.