In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is urging motorists to use caution and remember to share the road in order to reduce the potential for a serious motorcycle accident.
Because of their smaller size and decreased visibility, motorcyclists are frequently involved in serious and sometimes fatal accidents. In 2010, there were 361 deaths and another 11,000 motorcycle-accident related injuries on California roads, according to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. While motorcycle accident fatalities in California have declined since 2009, law enforcement and motorcycle safety advocates say more needs to be done to reduce motorcycle accident deaths.
During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the CHP is offering tips to both drivers and motorcyclists which are designed to increase awareness and encourage safer driving practices. One of the key areas the CHP and the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) are trying to address is the issue of lane-splitting, which is legal in the state of California. Lane-splitting refers to the practice of riding close to the center line while sharing the lane with another vehicle. A recent survey conducted by the OTS revealed that only 53% of drivers were aware that lane-splitting is legal in California and that 7% of drivers attempt to block motorcyclists when they attempt to lane-split. Of the motorcyclists surveyed, 87% said that have engaged in lane-splitting at some point. The survey highlights how common the practice is and how a lack of knowledge on the part of drivers could potentially lead to a serious motorcycle accident.
The CHP has offered the following tips for drivers and motorcyclists who are concerned about the safety of lane-splitting.
Tips for Drivers
- Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections
- Use turn signals to indicate a lane change or to merge with traffic
- Allow a three to four second gap between yourself and motorcyclists in case of a sudden stop or maneuver
- Don't tailgate
- Avoid driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs and alcohol
Tips for Motorcyclists
- Don't ride in hazardous weather conditions if you can avoid it
- Wear reflective clothing and a DOT-approved helmet
- Use turn signals to indicate a turn or lane change
- Use hand signals in conjunction with turn signals to indicate your intentions
- Position yourself in the lane where you will be most visible to drivers
- Avoid driving while impaired
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Contacting an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney is the first step in protecting your rights.
Nadrich & Cohen, LLP specializes in representing motorcycle accident victims and their families throughout Southern California. For more information on filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit, call 1-800-718-4658 to begin your free initial case evaluation. There is never a fee unless damages are recovered on your behalf.
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