L.A. Motorcyclists Anticipate Lane-Splitting Bill | Ellis Injury Law

L.A. Motorcyclists Anticipate Lane-Splitting Bill

motorcycle rider in los angeles california

June 1, 2015

Ellis Law Corporation



California’s ambiguous policy on lane-splitting has long been a source of frustration for motorcyclists and drivers alike. The practice isn’t illegal, but there is also currently no law that authorizes it, although the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Highway Patrol have given unofficial approval to the practice. Now, a new bill that would officially legalize lane-splitting is expected to gain the approval of both the state Assembly and the Senate. Little opposition is anticipated, given that many experts acknowledge that the practice of lane-splitting is actually safer for motorcyclists, as opposed to forcing them to sit in traffic, vulnerable to rear-end collisions.

Ellis Law staunchly supports any legislation that will make our roadways safer for all. Unfortunately, even after this bill becomes a law, bikers are still among the most vulnerable individuals on the roads. That’s why our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are pleased to offer free case reviews to residents who have been involved in a crash.

Proposed regulations

The lane-splitting bill was proposed by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Howard). Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), who is a former California Highway Patrol officer, and Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) co-authored the bill. If approved, the bill would allow motorcyclists to split lanes at speeds of up to 15 mph faster than the speed of traffic. The speed at which motorcyclists would be allowed to lane split was established by a safety study on motorcycle accidents. The study, conducted by Tom Rice of UC Berkeley, evaluated data from 6,000 motorcycle crashes in California. One thousand of those accidents involved lane-splitting.

“The study found that lane-splitting was safer, compared to being stopped in the traffic. Oftentimes motorcyclists would get rear-ended. Motorists just don’t see them,” said Assemblyman Quirk.

Other studies appear to support the assertion that lane-splitting is safer for motorcyclists, suggesting that when they follow behind vehicles, they may be more likely to be the victims of rear-end collisions. A paper prepared by Ride to Work points out that California has a lower rate of rear-end collisions impacting motorcyclists than other states with a similar motorcycle use profile and a lower rate compared to the national average.

So far, the bill has been approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee. In both votes, only one vote was against the bill. If the bill passes the California Assembly, it will be passed along to the Senate for review.

After a crash, take immediate action to protect your rights

The motorcycle accident lawyers of Ellis Law are pleased that lawmakers are taking steps toward improving safety for riders throughout the state. Yet, motorcyclists are still highly vulnerable, particularly given the prevalence of distracted drivers who may not take the time to watch out for bikes.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, call our lawyers today at 310-641-3335 to schedule your free case evaluation. Our legal team is proud to stand up for the rights of riders and can advise you of your rights to pursuing a car accident lawsuit in Los Angeles.