Lane Splitting in California: Everything You Need to Know

Motorcycle lane splitting, also called lane filtering in California, is defined as a vehicle riding in between the lanes of slower traffic or sharing space with another car in the same lane. While this practice is not legal for passenger vehicles, it’s a different story for those on motorcycles.

California lane-splitting laws were designed for motorcyclists, allowing them to split the lane when necessary to safely move through traffic. Even though motorcycle lane splitting is legal in the state, you should know the risks and how to correctly engage in lane filtering in California.

At Roberts | Jeandron Law, we specialize in providing expert legal advice for motorcycle riders in California. With our extensive understanding of the state’s laws and regulations, we are here to guide you through the intricacies of motorcycle lane splitting. In this article, we explore the concept of lane splitting, its legality in California, safety considerations, and the importance of consulting an experienced attorney in the event of legal issues.

Illustration Of Motorcycle Driving between Two Light Vehicles

What Is Lane Splitting?

California lane-splitting laws permit motorcyclists to ride between lanes of traffic to move past any slow-moving or stopped cars. While the laws don’t place strict limits on speed, it is ideal for motorcyclists to only engage in this practice in limited circumstances.

Lane filtering in California can also refer to when two motorcycles ride side-by-side in the same lane, something that is encouraged at night as they become more visible to other motorists. If a motorcyclist plans on splitting a lane between passenger vehicles, they should exercise caution.

For example, it should never be done when there is a curve. It can also startle other drivers, which could lead to accidents. Motorcycle lane splitting may seem simple in theory, but it is a maneuver that requires practice. It can be difficult even for experienced riders, and all motorcyclists are urged to be extensively cautious when engaging in this practice on the road.

Safety Measures and Tips for Motorcycle Riders Practicing Lane Splitting

Motorcycle lane splitting may be legal in the state, and while all drivers have a duty to share the roads with motorcyclists, there are a few caveats. If you ride a motorcycle, you must understand that California lane-splitting laws do not give you complete permission to ride in the middle of vehicle lanes. You must uphold your duty to ride with reasonable caution.

This means only using lane splitting when the traffic has stopped or slowed to a crawl. You shouldn’t try lane splitting when traffic is moving at or close to the speed limit. Keep in mind that many drivers often fail to notice motorcyclists, and that is even truer when motorcyclists are lane-splitting.

Whether you’re lane splitting or not, you should make every effort to be visible to the other drivers on the road. Never surreptitiously ride behind other vehicles and always watch for vehicles that are changing lanes.

What Happens If Motorcycle Lane Splitting Leads to an Accident?

Since California uses a fault-based insurance model, so if you get in a motorcycle accident while lane splitting, you will have to prove that a driver caused the crash. Motorcyclists are often blamed for their injuries as insurers find this mode of transport to be risky.

You have rights as a motorcyclist, and you should not be stuck with medical bills and lost wages if you were following the law. It helps to speak with a car accident lawyer who has experience representing motorcycle injury victims to understand your legal options.

California lane-splitting laws allow you to ride between the lanes, but you must do so with caution. If you’re in an accident, you need to know your rights and what you can collect in compensation to cover the injuries caused by a negligent driver.

The Importance of Consulting an Experienced Attorney in Motorcycle Accidents

Rest assured, even if you were following the law, you could likely be blamed for your injuries. This is why you should make use of the free initial consultation with a car accident attorney at Roberts | Jeandron Law to learn more about your legal rights in the aftermath to avoid taking all of the blame.

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