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Lane splitting is legal in California, but not always safe

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2023 | Car And Truck Accidents

Most California drivers are used to seeing motorcyclists zipping in and out of lanes – especially on the freeways. It can be jarring when a motorcyclist suddenly appears in front of you – and frustrating when you see them end up far ahead of you in slow or stalled traffic.

What many drivers don’t realize is that “lane splitting” is legal in California. In fact, right now, we’re the only state where it’s allowed. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) defines lane splitting as “driving a motorcycle…between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane…on both divided and undivided streets, roads, or highways.”

The dangers of reckless lane splitting

Like any legal maneuver, however, it can be done safely or recklessly. The CHP notes that the risk of a serious or fatal collision while lane splitting “increases as speed and speed differential increases.”

If a motorcyclist is speeding while lane splitting or otherwise being reckless, they can leave a driver no time to avoid hitting them. They can also cause a driver to swerve into another lane to try to avoid hitting them – only to end up colliding with another vehicle.

If you’ve suffered injuries in a crash for which a motorcyclist was responsible, they can be held liable for your medical bills and other expenses and damages – even if they suffered injuries as well. Sorting out what happened in the aftermath of a crash can be challenging. It’s wise to get legal guidance as soon as possible to protect your right to fair compensation and avoid being held responsible when you weren’t.