California is the only state in the US where it is legal for motorcyclists to engage in “lane splitting” or riding in between lanes of slow or stopped traffic. Unfortunately, many California drivers are under-informed or unaware of the state’s lane-splitting laws, and many Orange County motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who were not prepared to find a motorcycle between the lanes.
What OC Drivers Need to Know about Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is the act of riding between the lanes or sharing a lane while passing slow-moving or stopped traffic. In Orange County, as in the rest of California, lane splitting is a perfectly legal practice, as long as the motorcyclist is acting safely. As far as what constitutes “safely,” the California Highway Patrol recently issued some clear guidelines. While these guidelines are not part of the lane-splitting law, the information does give drivers an idea of when and where to watch for motorcycles between lanes:
- Lane splitting should only be attempted when traffic is moving at 30 mph or less.
- Riders should restrict lane splitting to the area between the No. 1 and No. 2 lanes.
- While riding in between lanes, motorcyclists shouldn’t be moving more than 10 mph faster than the surrounding traffic.
How Under-informed Drivers Cause Orange County Motorcycle Wrecks
Drivers who don’t understand California’s lane-splitting laws often cause motorcycle wrecks because they are not looking for motorcycles between lanes—or, in some cases, will even try to block motorcycles attempting to pass in a shared lane. Drivers should be aware that lane splitting is legal. You should NEVER try to block a rider who is passing between lanes, and you should always be on the lookout for motorcycles when you’re behind the wheel—especially in slow traffic.
If you are a motorcyclist who was injured while passing between lanes, our OC motorcycle accident attorneys can help. Give us a call today at (949) 851-0222 to learn more.