Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic. Some people consider lane splitting dangerous, while others consider the practice safe. As such, liability is a hot issue in crashes between motorists and lane-splitting motorcyclists. Below are the top factors that determine liability in such cases.
Lane Splitting Legality
Any road user who violates a traffic law and ends in an accident is likely liable for the crash. Lane splitting is legal in some states and illegal in others. Thus, the laws of the state where the accident occurs will affect liability. For example, if a rider collides with a car while lane splitting, where the practice is illegal, the rider will be likely liable for the damages.
The Rider's Experience and Training
Lane splitting danger depends on the rider's ability, and a rider's ability depends on their training and experience. Thus, many courts will evaluate those two things when deliberating on lane-splitting accidents. An inexperienced rider without safety training is likelier to be liable for a crash than their experienced and trained counterpart is.
The Rider's Action
The actions of the rider just before the crash also matter. For example, safe lane splitting requires the rider to ride carefully without weaving in and out of different lanes. Video footage and eyewitness testimony can reveal the motorcyclist's behavior just before the crash. That way, the court can determine whether the rider is liable for the accident.
The Driver's Actions
Just like motorcyclists, drivers must also respect all road users' safety. Drivers who change lanes without warning or drift in and out of different lanes risk causing accidents, especially when sharing the road with motorcyclists. Thus, evidence that a driver did something that made a crash with the motorcyclist inevitable makes the driver liable for the crash.
Traffic Conditions and Environment
Some circumstances are better suited to lane splitting than others. For example, lane splitting is relatively safe if the cars are stopped or moving at a slow speed. Lane splitting is also safer between smaller cars than between bigger ones.
Every rider should evaluate the environment or traffic conditions before lane splitting. A rider who lane splits while the conditions do not favor the practice risks causing an accident. For example, you might be liable for the accident if you crash with a truck while splitting lanes between huge commercial trucks.
You have the right to pursue compensation whether you are a motorcyclist or a motorist. Just prove that the defendant is liable for your damages and quantify the damages. An auto accident attorney can help you with the proof.
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