Is lane splitting legal in California?

Cartwright - December 26, 2018 - Car Accidents

The short answer is: Yes, lane splitting is legal. Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle between two rows of cars whether or not they are moving at the time. Sergeant Larry Starkey of the California Highway Patrol Motorcyclist Safety Program noted in 2014 that lane splitting has always been legal even if a 2014 study showed that 60.7 percent of California drivers were unaware of that fact. In 2016, Bill AB-51 codified the definitions of and legality of the practice of lane splitting. The bill amended Section 21658.1 of the Vehicle Code.

Lane splitting, although legal, is nevertheless dangerous. Nearly a fifth of all motorcycle accidents that occur in California happen because of lane splitting. Although the data in this article is five years old, it is the only data compiled by the State of California.

In 1975, the California Supreme Court adjudicated the case of Li v. Yellow Cab Company. In that case, the ruling dispensed with contributory negligence and replaced it with comparative negligence. Basically, that means that all parties in an accident might be partially at fault. In such a case, any awards that arise from a jury or from a settlement might be reduced by a certain percentage if the plaintiff is at least slightly at fault. Because of the nature of lane splitting and the fact that many persons in the general public are unfamiliar with the applicable law, comparative negligence, otherwise known as shared fault, will most likely apply.

The law is complex, but a lawyer like Robert E. Cartwright Jr. can advise injured parties about all aspects of both the applicable law and the particulars of any injured party’s case. The Honorable Mr. Cartwright’s eponymous firm has striven for more than six decades on behalf of its clients, and the firm has a record of success that includes jury awards and settlements that total nearly half a billion dollars. Of course, neither Robert E. Cartwright Jr. nor the firm itself can guarantee any outcome, but their collective aim is always to do what’s best for their clients either in court or at the negotiating table.

It is only wise to protect one’s rights after an accident where one or one’s family member or friend is injured or killed. In addition to providing legal representation, a lawyer can act as a go-between with insurance companies, opposing counsel, expert witnesses, police forces, and other relevant entities on behalf of clients. To take advantage of everything The Cartwright Law Firm can do for you, give us a call or come by the office today.

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