AB 51 was signed into law by the Governor of California on August 19, 2016, allowing motorcyclists to ride between two lanes of traffic on California’s roadways. Does that mean that it just got safer to ride a motorcycle in California? In 2013, approximately 17% of motorcycle accidents in California involved lane splitting. However, lane splitting was never explicitly prohibited by state law here in California, so the effects of AB 51 on safety don’t seem necessarily promising. Why do we care about safety so much? Well overall motorcycle collisions and fatalities increased 23 percent from 2003 to 2012, and in that same time span, accidents involving motorcycles increased by 49 percent in Los Angeles County. Those statistics require that safety be paramount to any discussion on motorcycle riding. So if lane splitting isn’t the biggest danger on the road to a motorcycle rider, what is?
The most common and most dangerous of crashes involving a car and a motorcycle is at an intersection, when the automobile is making a left turn in front of a motorcycle, otherwise known as a “broadside or T-Bone” accident. It’s bad enough in a car against car situation, but in the case of a motorcycle, the results can be fatal. Whether you are a single rider or multiple riders on the same motorcycle, you need to take extra precaution when entering an intersection with vehicles waiting to turn left in front of you.
It doesn’t matter if you are on a Ducati sport bike, a Harley Davidson Sportster, or Harley Davidson Road King — on a motorcycle you are much smaller than a car, which is what the left turn driver is mainly watching out for prior to making that turn. Being harder to see, you are a more likely target and victim, and therefore you need to take measures to prevent being victimized by automobile drivers, and vehicles making left turns specifically. What measures can you take? Upgrade your lighting. LED light bars and LED lighted mirrors with auxiliary running lights make your motorcycle more identifiable. If you are on a street/sport bike, you may wear colorful protective gear that allows you to stand out. Helmets can also be an easy way to add more substance to your presence on the road. Unfortunately, all the preparation and caution in the world may sometimes not be enough to prevent the broadside, rear-ender, head on collision, or side-swipe accident. In those difficult times, you need the right law firm to fight for your best interests and seek the compensation you deserve. At Venerable Injury Law we have been advocating for the riding community from our very first day because we know that every accident involving a motorcycle rider is a serious one. We utilize decades of experience and leverage the knowledge/education of our accident reconstruction and accident safety experts to thoroughly investigate all cases to see all the possible angles, including potential defects with the motorcycles themselves. This is why at Venerable we say that after a motorcycle accident, we never let you ride alone.