California Motorcycle Accident & Laws

California is unique with its motorcycle laws and adventure riding throughout Orange County, including the coast of Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, San Clemente, the Canyons and Beaches.

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents and injuries have risen in the past years as motorcyclists are often victims of road rage drivers.  Motorcycle riders should consider wearing a helmet-camera, protective riding apparel and gear that can save lives.  In June, 2015,  a man riding a motorcycle in West Hollywood was injured due to road rage.  The raged driver sped away, but because the motorcycle rider was wearing a helmet camera, it captured the license plate of the road-raged driver.

As of January 1, 2015, California has adopted an official motorcycle safety training program administered by the CA Highway Patrol which includes important safety instructions by TCTI. California cyclists should reference the motorcycle safety training program as reported by Motorcycle Cruise.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, you need a lawyer that understands the specific motorcycle accident laws to California. Remick Law Group is experienced in representing motorcycle riders and the unique laws to California riders.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is illegal in every state but California, although state legislation does not expressly allow or prohibit the practice.  Lane splitting is where motorcycle riders “skim” a lane with another vehicle on the road in order to ride in-between slow traffic.  Unfortunately, most auto and truck drivers do not know how to share the road with motorcycle riders.

In July, 2015, The Sacramento Bee reported that an estimated 80 percent of California motorcyclists split lanes, but it remains controversial among motorists, prompting authorities to publish lane-splitting guidelines in early 2013. The guidelines were removed because of  objections that a formal rule-making process had not taken place. 

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that in California, more than 400 people are killed in motorcycle accidents each year.  Helmets can reduce the risk of death and serious head injuries in the event of an accident by 30 percent.  Although motorcycle riders can protect themselves by wearing motorcycle helmets and protective gear, riders do not have the protection of seatbelts, airbags, and the steel frame of a car, to protect them from serious head and bodily injury. California motorcyclists must wear helmets and display liability insurance at all times. What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident

  • California law requires that you remain at the scene.  If injured, wait for emergency personnel to arrive or seek medical attention.
  • If able, take many pictures of the scene, the damage to your motorcycle and of your injuries.
  • Ask for information: Names, insurance information from other driver(s), phone numbers, license plate numbers, and addresses of all parties involved and anyone who witnessed the accident.
  • Keep Good Notes. You may forget important details if you do not write them down immediately following the accident. Note the date, time, location and position of the vehicles at the time of the incident.
  • File a police report as soon as possible, and ask for a copy of the police report.
  • Do not talk to anyone about the accident or your injuries (except with your doctor or lawyer for advice), especially do not discuss with an insurance adjuster until you contact a lawyer.
  • If you are dizzy, confused or having trouble remembering things, report it immediately to your doctor as these could be symptoms of brain trauma.
  • Do not repair your motorcycle as it will most likely be needed for evidence.
  • Never sign a document that is requested by an adverse insurance company without speaking to a lawyer.
  • Never enter into insurance negotiations without a lawyer. Remick Law Group will fight for you so that you receive the maximum settlement.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

  • Distracted Drivers: Drivers of cars and trucks don’t always pay close attention to motorcycle riders and due to the low profiles of motorcycles compared to cars and trucks, thousands of motorcycle accidents in California are caused by drivers turning in front of motorcycles because they don’t see them.
  • Road Rage:  Road rage against motorcyclists has increased over the years.
  • Lane Changes:  Drivers need to look twice for motorcyclists when changing lanes and can be held accountable.
  • Road Hazards & Debris- State and local governments are responsible for keeping roadways in good condition and free from hazards like potholes and loose asphalt or gravel, which can be dangerous for riders
  • Left-turn collisions: About 42 percent of motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle making a left turn at an intersection or into a driveway or parking lot, without paying attention to the motorcycle rider.  The law requires drivers making left turns to yield to other vehicles.
  • Speeding: Speed can be deadly for motorcyclists, regardless of who is speeding.
  • Driving under the influence: Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be deadly regardless of who is under the influence

Motorcycle Injury Compensation

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault driver. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, therapy, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

In most cases, the insurance company is not acting in your best interest. They have teams of trained adjusters that negotiate as little compensation as possible or even zero compensation before you have the opportunity to speak to a lawyer. Do not agree to a settlement with the insurance company or any other party until you have talked to an injury lawyer who will work to protect your best interests.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Remick Law Group by calling or texting: 949-445-4344 or online by completing our Free Case Review Form.

Remick Law Group
200 Spectrum Center Drive
Suite 300
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: (949) 445-4344
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