Motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries or death compared to all other accidents involving vehicles due to the lack of protection provided by motorcycles. Factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents include driver error, speeding, impairment by drugs or alcohol, and failure to yield the right of way. Road conditions, weather, and other environmental factors can also contribute to motorcycle accidents.

Lane Splitting Is The Most Common Type of Motorcycle Accident in California

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the most common type of motorcycle accident in California is a “lane-splitting” accident. Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicles, often in heavy traffic. Lane-splitting accidents can occur when drivers do not see or anticipate the motorcyclist and make sudden lane changes or open their doors in the motorcyclist’s path. Additionally, due to the close proximity with other vehicles, lane splitting increases the risk of a motorcyclist sideswiping another vehicle and causing rear-end collisions.

Is Lane Splitting Illegal in California?

Lane splitting is legal in California, and the CHP even conducted a study on motorcycle lane splitting, which concluded that it is generally safe when done in a reasonable and cautious manner. However, lane splitting can be very dangerous when motorcyclists do lane-splitting maneuvers recklessly.

Motorcyclists who practice lane splitting should do so in line with proper safety rules for operating a motorcycle. This reduces the risk of motorcycle accidents and injuries.

Below are some recommended safety guidelines for lane splitting in California:

  • Stay within the speed limit—Motorcyclists should only lane split when traffic is moving at speeds of 30 miles per hour or less, and they should not exceed the speed limit.
  • Choose the right conditions—Lane splitting is safest in slow-moving or stopped traffic. Motorcyclists should avoid lane splitting in high-speed traffic or on narrow roads.
  • Stay visible—Motorcyclists should wear brightly colored or reflective clothing and use their headlights to increase visibility, as well as stay in sight of other vehicles.
  • Look for cues—Motorcyclists should watch for signs of drivers changing lanes or opening car doors and be prepared to brake safely or take evasive action if necessary.
  • Use the right lane—Motorcyclists should not lane split next to large vehicles, such as trucks or buses, or on the shoulder of the road.
  • Stay alert—Motorcyclists should be alert and focused while lane splitting and avoid distractions such as cell phones, headphones, or radio settings.
  • Stay in control—Motorcyclists should maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and be prepared to stop or slow down if necessary.

It is also important for drivers of other vehicles to be aware of motorcyclists on the road and share the road safely.

Other than lane splitting, some common types of motorcycle accidents that occur most often in California include collisions with other vehicles, single-vehicle accidents, and accidents caused by road hazards or poor road conditions. Motorcyclists are at a higher risk of injury or death in accidents due to the lack of protection provided by their vehicles, so it is important to always wear appropriate safety gear and ride defensively.

Where Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

Motorcycle accidents can occur anywhere on the road, but certain types of locations and situations may be more dangerous for motorcyclists. Here are some common locations where motorcycle accidents occur:

  • Intersections are one of the most common locations for motorcycle accidents. Drivers may fail to see motorcyclists or misjudge their speed or distance, resulting in collisions.
  • Highways and rural roads can be more dangerous for motorcyclists due to higher speeds and more hazardous road conditions, such as sharp curves, gravel, or debris.
  • Accidents can occur when drivers fail to see motorcyclists when changing lanes or merge into their lane without proper caution.
  • Road hazards such as uneven pavement, debris, or potholes can be particularly dangerous for motorcycles, which lack the stability and protection of four-wheeled vehicles.
  • Left-hand turns by other drivers are a common cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of a car may misjudge the speed of an oncoming motorcycle or fail to see it all together.

Like other drivers on the road, motorcyclists must always remain vigilant and be aware of their surroundings to reduce the risk of an accident.

What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident in CA?

If you experience a motorcycle accident in California, there are steps you should take to ensure that you receive appropriate medical attention, protect your legal rights, and take the necessary steps to file an insurance claim or pursue legal action if necessary.

  1. -Check for injuries. First, check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately.
  2. -Move to a safe location. If possible, move your motorcycle and other vehicles involved to a safe location off the road to prevent further accidents.
  3. -Call the police. Even if there are no serious injuries, it is important to call the police to report the accident. The police will document the accident and create an official report, which can be useful for insurance claims or legal proceedings.
  4. -Exchange information with other drivers. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident.
  5. -Document the scene. Take photos of the accident scene, including damage to vehicles, road conditions, and any injuries.
  6. -Seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine, it is a good idea to seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and it is important to document any injuries for insurance purposes.
  7. -Notify your insurance company. Contact your insurance company right away to report the accident and provide any necessary information.
  8. -Consult with an attorney. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your legal options and responsibilities.


Q: How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents in CA?

A: Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are relatively common in California. On average, there are approximately 30 motorcycle accidents per day in California, according to the CHP.According to the CHP, of the 11,000+ motorcycle accidents that occurred in California in 2019, there were more than 480 fatalities and over 8,000 injuries. It’s been reported by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that motorcycle drivers are around 28 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of passenger vehicles per vehicle mile traveled.

Q: Is Motorcycle Insurance Required in CA?

A: Yes. California law requires that all motorcycle riders carry liability insurance coverage to help pay for injuries or damages they may cause in an accident. Riders must carry proof of insurance with them while operating their motorcycle. Failure to provide proof of insurance can result in fines and other penalties.

Q: What Is the Minimum Liability Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Required in CA?

A: The minimum liability insurance coverage required in California for motorcycles is $15,000 for injury or death to one person, $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person in a single accident, and $5,000 for damage to property. Though not required by law, additional insurance coverage, such as collision and comprehensive coverage, is recommended to provide more comprehensive protection in the event of an accident.

Q: Are Motorcycle Helmets Required by Law in CA?

A: Yes, motorcycle helmets are required by law in California for all riders and passengers. The law requires that all motorcycle riders wear a helmet that meets the safety standards established by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The helmet must be properly fastened with a chin strap while the motorcycle is in operation. Failure to wear a helmet while operating or riding on a motorcycle can result in fines and other penalties and can also increase the risk of serious injury or death in the event of an accident.

If you need help after a motorcycle accident, contact McLachlan Law, APC. We have extensive experience successfully settling motorcycle cases and can help you get the compensation you deserve.