California legislature tables bill aimed at motorcycle accidents

By |2022-01-03T18:20:29+00:00July 24th, 2015|

Last year, a post on this blog explained how motorcyclists split lanes by passing in between vehicles that are traveling in the same direction as the motorcycle, but in two separate lanes. While lane-splitting might intuitively seem like an extremely dangerous practice, some people argue that it has safety merits.

In some other states, lane-splitting is illegal, but in California, the legality of this maneuver is up for debate. Law enforcement officers do not ticket California motorcyclists for lane-splitting, but no law affirmatively allows it. However, a group of state legislators is working to push a bill into law that would do just that, make lane-splitting openly legal throughout the state.

The bill apparently has at least some supporters from both the Republican and Democratic parties. Its authors argue that lane-splitting is safer than forcing motorcyclists to be stuck in between cars where they are more likely to get struck by an inattentive driver. That argument has some empirical support. A professor at the University of California, Berkeley studied 6,000 motorcycle accidents and found that rear-end collisions were more likely to cause serious injuries or death to the motorcyclist than were accidents involving lane-splitting.

A member of the California Motorcycle Safety Committee explained that lane-splitting isn’t just about speed for the rider, it also increases their safety. Of course, not everyone is on board with the idea that lane-splitting really does promote safety. The California bill that would allow and regulate lane-splitting will have to wait until at least the next legislative session before becoming law. Although a hearing in front of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee was set for July 14, the bill’s author tabled that hearing in favor of further working on the measure and again putting it before the legislature next year.

Regardless of whether the lane-splitting bill eventually does become law, the bill is a reminder that drivers should always be on the lookout for motorcyclists and help foster safety for everyone on the roads.

Source: Orange County Register, “Motorcycle lane-splitting bill pulled back,” Nicole Knight Shine, July 7, 2015


About the Author:

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Doug Easton has practiced law since 1971. After 20 years of practicing with various large litigation firms, he founded the Law Offices of W. Douglas Easton in 1991 as a solo practitioner. In the years that followed, Doug’s sons Brian and Matt joined him in the practice and helped build the firm into a powerful force to help right the wrongs done to their clients. Much of their success over the years has stemmed from the dynamic created by the familial nature of the firm and how harmoniously they all work together, each of their individual strengths complementing and fortifying the group as a whole. Accordingly, the firm changed its name to Easton & Easton, LLP in 2014 to better reflect the true dynamic of the firm and Doug now serves as Managing Partner of Easton & Easton. In 2015, Doug was selected as a Top 100 Litigation Lawyer in California by The American Society of Legal Advocates. In addition, Doug is listed in Strathmore’s Who’s Who, and in 2008 was named its “Professional of the Year” in Medical Malpractice.
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