San Diego Personal Injury Attorneys | Elia Law Firm, APC



Who Is at Fault in a Motorcycle Lane Splitting Accident in California?


If you’ve been injured in such an accident, should you be compensated?

Read on as San Diego personal injury attorney, Steven Elia, sorts it out for you.

Have you ever sat in traffic and watched a motorcycle whiz by between lanes? That’s called lane splitting and, while it’s not technically legal in San Diego or anywhere in the state of California, it’s completed accepted.

San Diego lane splitting attorney

What happens if an accident occurs while a motorcycle is lane splitting? Who is at fault?

This is a muddy area in the state of California and one that should involve the professional advice of a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney. But let’s see if we can shed some light on it here.

Lane splitting accidents are quite common, especially here in Southern California, including San Diego, where traffic can be a real headache. These accidents happen because of the close proximity of cars to the passing motorcycle. There is very little space to maneuver, and many drivers simply don’t anticipate that a motorcycle might be passing them by.

When a lane splitting accident happens, the fault is usually attributed to the motorcycle rider, but this is dependent on what the insurance adjuster and court find.

The following factors may help favor the motorcyclist in a legal lane-splitting case

  • The motorcyclist was riding carefully and not weaving in and out of lanes or between cars
  • The motorcyclist was not speeding
  • The motorcyclist can prove that he has a lot of experience riding a motorcycle

Factors that would harm the automobile driver’s case

  • If the car was changing lanes abruptly or weaving
  • If the driver of the car was talking on the phone or texting
  • If the driver was speeding or driving negligently

California’s proposed lane splitting law will make proving fault easier

In 2015, California introduced a bill to legalize lane splitting. As of this writing, the bill has been tabled until 2016. It attempts to define acceptable speed and when it’s acceptable to split lanes. Once that bill is enacted into law, determining who is at fault in lane-splitting accidents will be easier. You can read more about California’s lane splitting law and Assembly Bill 51 here.

For now, no matter who you think is at fault in a California lane splitting accident, it’s always best to support your version of the accident with a police report and witness statements.

Injured in a motorcycle lane-splitting accident in California?

Speak to an attorney right here today. You may deserve compensation!

Proving fault in personal injury accidents is tricky business, and lane-splitting accidents are even more difficult. If you’ve been involved in a lane splitting accident in San Diego, or anywhere in California, it’s best to consult with one of the personal injury lawyers here. We are well versed in motorcycle accidents and the law and can provide the representation you need in order to win your case and recover any damages owed to you. Here at the Elia Law Firm, we offer a free case review and should we decide to take your case, there is no fee until we win.

Call 619-444-2244 today or submit the case review form on our contact page.

Photo credit: Lane Splitting on the Bridge (Photo removed from so we can no longer link to it.)

Steven Elia
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If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you may deserve compensation. Don’t go it alone. It’s very likely an attorney can get you more and get you fully compensated. 

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