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Does lane splitting lead to more motorcycle crashes?

Whether you drive a car, bus or motorcycle in Southern California, if you travel the area's freeways during rush hour, then you're bound to get stuck in traffic. With traffic comes crashes. Recently, investigators have taken it upon themselves to try and determine what, if any, risk motorcyclists splitting lanes has on his or her crash rates.

In case you're unfamiliar with what lane splitting entails, it involves a motorcyclist riding the centerline between two lanes of either stopped or moving traffic. The practice was made legal in California on Jan. 1 of this year when AB-51 was signed into law.

Despite the fact that the practice is legal, most in law enforcement discourage it. Current state guidelines suggest that motorcyclists should never exceed 30 mph when splitting lanes. Law enforcement officials point out that bikers that exceed that speed risk becoming involved in a serious crash.

They note that motorists find it particularly difficult to see motorcyclists when they maneuver in and out of traffic or change lanes at a higher rate of speed. Researchers also found that motorcyclists who split lanes on California's freeways are most apt to be struck by truckers. This is believed to be the case because of bikers' low profiles, which makes it difficult to see them because trucks sit so high.

Other motorcycle crashes most often happen when motorcyclists are attempting to make left turns. In other instances, a motorcyclists may be struck by a driver pulling out of their driveway. In both of these cases, drivers often say that they didn't see the motorcyclists in the area before they struck them.

In other incidences, distracted drivers or ones that are moving too fast for the circumstances strike or rear end bikers. Without the protection of the shell of the car, they can suffer serious injuries or are killed as a result.

If you've been struck and injured while riding your motorcycle, then you may benefit from discussing the details of your case with a San Bernardino motor vehicle accident attorney. In learning more about your crash, he or she can better understand who may have been responsible for having caused it and advise you of your rights to file an injury claim.

Source: The Malibu Times, "Motorcycle accidents: Is lane splitting to blame?," Judy Abel, Aug. 10, 2017

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