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When Lane-Splitting Contributes to your Motorcycle Accident

By Hess & Nghiem on July 1, 2022

Many people enjoy motorcycling and California is widely considered one of the best states to enjoy this. However, as with any activity on the road, inherent dangers are involved where liability may result.

It’s important to be aware of these dangers and the possible accidents that may arise so you know when negligence has contributed to your motorcycle injury.

What is lane splitting?

Within the state, is it legal to ride on the lines dividing a highway that has two or more lanes moving in the same direction? This is commonly referred to as “lane-splitting” and is most often done when traffic is at a standstill or slow moving. Lane-splitting allows a cyclist to get through when cars can’t.

California is currently the only state that allows this practice given its debated safety. Research on the subject shows lane-splitting should only be done in certain conditions including at low speeds. As this practice is prohibited in other states, it’s important for cyclists to always practice caution when lane-splitting so other motorists aren’t surprised, especially given the number of tourists who enjoy California’s roads.

Motorcyclists’ rights on the road

Motorcyclists are entitled to the same rights on the road as any other motorists. Furthermore, if lane-splitting is practiced prudently you, as a cyclist, may not be liable if you end up in a collision.

However, it’s important to note if the defendant is able to establish you were speeding or lane-splitting under unsafe conditions, it may be considered that you were riding recklessly, ultimately enabling them to place some blame on you and reduce the compensation you’re entitled to.

Is another driver responsible for your crash?

If you’re engaging in lawful lane-splitting, nothing is illegal about your actions; therefore, if you get into an accident with another driver where negligence is a factor, you’ll not be the at-fault party. The line between lawful and unlawful lane-splitting can be determined based on the conditions on the road.

When lane-splitting, certain guidelines are prescribed to cyclists, including recommended speeds and road conditions; therefore, if you engage in this activity where the relevant guidelines for safe practice are not carried out, you may be found to share negligence in any accident that results as the at-fault party has the right to allege the injured party shares some blame for fault or injuries. If this is established, the Court has the ability to reduce the recovery award. It’s therefore important to establish when a motorcyclist is and isn’t liable.


If you get into a motorcycle crash, it’s crucial you work with the Santa Ana motorcycle accident attorneys at HN Injury Lawyers to guide you through the legal process and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.

Lane-splitting is legal so motorists can’t use it as an excuse not to pay for your injuries and other losses. Get in touch with our dedicated team by calling (657) 333-5726.