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Lane Splitting Accident: Understanding Who is Liable

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Lane splitting or lane sharing is the act of a motorcyclist riding between two lanes of traffic. If you are familiar with Los Angeles traffic gridlocks, you are likely familiar with at least seeing the process done. California is one of the few states in which the maneuver of lane splitting is explicitly stated as legal. Perhaps solely because traffic can get so bad in larger cities. While motorcycles are free to split the lane between stopped or slow-moving traffic, it must be done safely. If you have been in a lane splitting accident, here is who may hold the fault.

Who is at Fault in a Lane Splitting Accident?

If it happened in almost any other state, a lane splitting accident liability would be placed solely on the motorcyclist. They were at fault for engaging in an illegal – or at least unofficial – behavior, so the accident is on them. However, the legality of lane splitting in California is confirmed by California Vehicle Code 21658.1 that has been in effect since January 1st, 2017. This means that motorcycles are not the automatic culprit anymore.

Determining Fault

Immediately after an accident, the first thing you should do is contact the police. The police will file a police report on the accident. They will examine the scene, outline the details and events of the accident, and gather contact information. At times, even reviewing the police report can create a clear picture of liability in the accident.

The Benefit of Witnesses

One of the small benefits that lane splitting accidents have is that the only time motorcyclists would want to employ lane splitting is when there are quite a few other drivers around. Every driver nearby is a witness to your accident. This can work to your benefit if you are not at fault. Witness statements can be very powerful in cementing the events of an auto accident and defining clear liability. It may be a hard sell getting those drivers to stick around after a lane splitting accident. You do want to at least get their contact information for potential later use.

When Speed is a Factor

If a motorcyclist is driving defensively when they are lane splitting, in most cases the other driver will be at fault for not checking their blind spots. Outside of just swerving the motorcycle into another vehicle, there isn't much that can seemingly put the motorcyclist at fault. However, there is one consideration to keep in mind – speeding. The law that legalized lane splitting for motorcyclists put a flexible speed limit on the act. It is recommended that you don't go over 40 mph while lane splitting. So the act becomes illegal if you are going over 10 mph faster than traffic is currently moving. This means if you were cruising through at top speed, liability can be placed on the motorcyclist because they were technically speeding at the time.

Need Help?

If you have been in a lane splitting accident, you will want to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Have you been in an accident and need help navigating the complicated insurance or legal process? Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can do to help you.

Bicycle Accidents: 3 Most Common Related Accidents to Look Out for

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

COVID lockdowns lead to an effort to avoid crowded public transportation. And just a general desire to be healthier, there has been a serious rise of cyclists on the roads. Unfortunately, even with more cyclists, the knowledge of how to share the road with cyclists has not increased too much. Accidents happen and sometimes the best way to prevent them is to know the common areas where bicycle accidents often occur.

Are you a cyclist looking to avoid the sharp rise of bicycle accidents that came with the sharp rise of cyclists on the roads? Here are where the common bicycle accidents happen and what you need to be looking out for.

3 Most Common Bicycle Accidents You Should Look Out for

Collisions with Turning Vehicles

Known as "right hook," "left hook," "or left cross" accidents. They are the most common bicycle accident – and can be the most fatal. Anytime you as a cyclist find yourself at an intersection, you want to remain as visible as possible and vigilant. What happens most often is that you are moving forward, but a car is turning either left or right. The slow-off-the-start nature of a bicycle stopping at an intersection also plays a role in this. You have less momentum to avoid these cars. In fact, you may find yourself getting hit in a full T-bone type accident.

Providing you had the right of way at these intervals, the driver will have liability in these accidents. But the issue is the fatality rate and how common they are. When at an intersection, sometimes a cyclist, especially a newer cyclist, just feels safer getting off the bike and walking across as a pedestrian or allowing turning cars to turn first before moving.

Doored by Parked Cars

There isn't a single cyclist that doesn't get at least a little nervous when they are riding past a line of parked cars. Even if they are in what should be a safe bike lane. Those who are parked by a bike lane often feel the safety of that buffer that keeps cars away. As such, they are less likely to check for actual cyclists using the bike lane before opening the door. Crashing headfirst into an open car door, as you'd expect, is pretty devastating. Furthermore, attempting to react and swerving into traffic could be just as dangerous.

Passed by a Car

In short, cars should treat passing a cyclist on the road like passing another car. Unfortunately, too few do that. What happens is that they see the cyclist off to the side a bit, and then try to inch past them. The lack of clearance either ends up with the car hitting the cyclist or the cyclist being pushed off the road and having to deal with rough terrain or a curb. This is why when there is no bike lane, you want to prevent cars from trying to inch past you by staying more center-oriented in the lane.

Are You an Injured Cyclist?

Have you been in a cycling accident and need help? Cyclists often face horrible injuries when it comes to auto-related accidents. If you have been in an accident, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you go over your case and represent your interests to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.



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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.