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New California law aims to reduce motorcycle accidents

Lawmakers who recently passed a new state law are hoping to make California roads safer by legalizing a somewhat controversial motorcycle maneuver. California is now the only state in America in which it is legal for motorcyclists to lane split, or to move in between lanes of traffic. Advocates for the law claim that it will help reduce the incidence of motorcycle accidents.

Data on lane-splitting was collected from June 2012 until Aug. 2013, which was then analyzed by the University of California, Berkeley. Police recorded a total of just over 5,960 motorcycle wrecks during that time period, and the researchers found that only about 990 could be attributed to lane-splitting. Researchers concluded that lane-splitting is not an inherently dangerous maneuver for motorcyclists, and that it can indeed by quite safe provided that riders observe various guidelines.

It is not just that lane-splitting might lower the rate of motorcycle wrecks -- motorcyclists also tend to be safer if hit while performing the move. The study found that the riders who were involved in wrecks while lane-splitting suffered far fewer head, torso, extremity and fatal injuries when compared to their peers. While there is some concern that this move might put motorcyclists in closer proximity to the vehicles around them, that fear appears to be negligible.

Although lane-splitting was not listed as a violation in California's vehicle code, the practice was also not legal. Only time will tell the true impact of this new law, but advocates seem to be hopeful that it will have a positive impact on the number of motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, no law can put an end to these types of devastating wrecks, and motorcyclists tend to suffer more serious injuries than drivers of larger motor vehicles. Because of this, most victims turn to personal injury claims that, when successfully completed, can result in just compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other resulting damages.

Source: NBC Bay Area, "California is Only State to Allow Lane-Splitting, But Doesn't Track Related Accidents", Bigad Shaban and David Paredes, Aug. 19, 2016

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