- July 29, 2019
Special Traffic Considerations for California Motorcyclists
OAKLAND, Calif. — California is one of the best states for motorcycle riding. With our mild weather, riders can enjoy clear skies and open roads most days of the year. California also has some unique laws that apply specifically to motorcyclists, designed to make riding easier and safer. But if drivers aren’t aware of these laws, a motorcycle accident lawyer in Oakland says the roads can become extremely dangerous.
Motorcycles are clearly smaller than passenger cars and handle differently than cars. Motorcyclists also have a higher risk of injury in traffic accidents. In recognition of these facts, certain California laws allow riders to navigate a little differently on the road.
One of the laws uniquely applicable to motorcyclists in California is lane sharing. Lane sharing involves two vehicles traveling beside each other in the same lane of travel. In California, motorcyclists can share a lane with another motorcycle traveling in the same direction or with a passenger vehicle traveling in the same direction.
It’s important to note that motorcyclists cannot share a lane on all roadways in the state. If a road has only two lanes (one in each direction), the practice is not allowed. Lane sharing can only be done on larger roadways with at least two lanes running in the same direction.
Because of the size of motorcycles, they don’t need the entire width of a lane and can actually be vulnerable if riding alone in a lane. The ability to share a lane with a car or another motorcycle allows motorcyclists to travel closer together and achieve greater visibility on the road. The practice also prevents motorcycles from being trapped between cars in traffic jams and allows motorcyclists to move up next to a car, rather than breathing in exhaust while sitting behind a car.
Another law in California specific to motorcycles is lane splitting. Lane splitting refers to a motorcycle traveling in between lanes of travel, riding on the white line that separates the lanes. The practice allows motorcycles more freedom to pass slow or stopped traffic. It also avoids the situation in which motorcyclists are stuck inhaling exhaust from cars all around them.
While many motorists view the practice of lane splitting as reckless and dangerous, a motorcycle accident lawyer in Oakland says many studies have found that it makes roadways safer for motorcyclists. Riders are more susceptible to traffic injuries, and California lawmakers believe they need special protections. Law enforcement officers also appreciate allowance of lane sharing and lane splitting in the state, as they enable officers to reach accident scenes and locate offenders faster.
Drivers need to be aware of state laws applicable to motorcycles and pay attention to riders on the roads. In many cases, accidents between cars and motorcycles occur because drivers are not yielding to motorcycles with the right-of-way. Because California allows for maneuvers like lane splitting, it’s particularly important for drivers to stay aware.
In general, if a motorcyclist is lane splitting appropriately, an Oakland motorcycle injury lawyer says the biker has the right-of-way. Before changing lanes, drivers need to look and listen for oncoming motorcycles. Just as drivers would wait for a car in the other lane to pass before moving over, they need to wait for motorcycles driving between the lanes.
In order for motorcyclists to stay safe while lane sharing and lane splitting, they need drivers to follow traffic laws and drive in predictable ways. Drivers who observe a motorcycle lane splitting should not move into another lane or move over in their lanes to make more room. Drivers need to maintain their lane positions and allow the motorcycle to navigate around them.
Even when a biker is following the rules of the road, other motor vehicle operators might not be. If you or a family member has been injured in a crash involving a motorcycle, you must act fast to protect your rights!
When you call The Barnes Firm, we’ll put our best motorcycle accident lawyer in Oakland on your case so you be confident you’re going to get the best possible result from your claim. However, you’re urged to call an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It’s critical to immediately begin gathering evidence that can strengthen your claim.
Call The Barnes Firm anytime to speak with an Oakland motorcycle accident lawyer or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.
The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000