Huntington Beach is famous for its car and motorcycle culture. Weekends are a great time for visitors and residents to hang out on Pacific Coast Highway near the world-famous Huntington Beach Pier and enjoy passing classic cars and motorcycles. Sometimes, the streets of Huntington Beach are congested, which can lead some bikers to engage in the practice of lane splitting. Lane splitting is the act of a motorcyclist traveling between two lanes of traffic. In most cases, motorcyclists split lanes because the traffic is heavy and slow-moving, or completely stopped altogether. Bikers are given an advantage in this scenario because they can quickly move through a traffic jam. Lane splitting is also known as lane sharing. Many drivers are averse to the act of lane splitting because they feel that motorcyclists have an advantage in traffic. Also, drivers can sometimes be surprised by a passing motorcycle.
There are many controversies surrounding motorcyclists in Huntington Beach. Of all of them, lane splitting is the most controversial. Although some say the practice is a risky one that puts people at risk, others argue that the practice does not lead to an increase in accidents on the road. So, what does the law say about lane splitting in Huntington Beach?
The Law on Lane Splitting in Huntington Beach
Many people throughout the country mistakenly believe that California is the only state in the nation that allows for lane splitting within the statutes. This is not entirely true. Even though motorcyclists are not discouraged or pulled over for lane splitting, the practice is not specifically mentioned in the statutes. Still, in 2016, Assembly Bill 51 was passed by Governor Brown, which provides the California Highway Patrol with the authority to create safety guidelines regarding lane splitting. As a result, the CHP has provided guidelines on lane splitting as at the California DMV.
Although lane splitting is not against the law in California, motorcyclists can still face charges for other dangerous practices while lane splitting. Speeding, unsafe lane changes, and following too closely are a few reasons why a motorcyclist may be pulled over while they are lane splitting.
Determining Liability After a Lane Splitting Accident
There is very limited data regarding the number of crashes on the road caused by lane splitting. Still, it is known that bikers can be involved in an accident while lane splitting, just as they can while engaging in any other practice on the road. Just like after an accident, it is important to determine who was at fault for the crash. When lane-splitting was involved, determining liability is much more difficult than it is in other accident cases.
It is not uncommon for accident victims to rely on police reports to determine who was at fault for an accident. Unfortunately, these reports are more likely to be inaccurate after a lane-splitting accident. Police officers are often biased against motorcyclists, or they simply may misinterpret the evidence at the scene and mistakenly blame the wrong individual.
Also just like after an accident, it is possible for multiple parties to be at fault for a lane-splitting crash. When this is the case, pure comparative law applies. Under this law, injured individuals still have the legal right to claim damages, even if they were 99 percent at fault for the accident. However, any damages they receive are reduced by the same percentage of fault.
Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Huntington Beach Can Help with Your Case
The aftermath of a motorcycle crash is a very crucial time in terms of gathering evidence and you need legal counsel that can provide the sound advice you need. At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our Huntington Beach motorcycle accident lawyers know how to defend against claims that you were at fault, and will prove another party’s negligence so you claim the maximum damages you deserve. Call us now at (213) 985-1120 or reach out to us online to request a free consultation and to learn more.