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Methuen Lane-Splitting Accident Attorney

Attorneys for Methuen Motorcycle Accident Victims

In many areas of Massachusetts, traffic congestion is an ongoing problem. Traffic experts and planners who are seeking solutions want to consider California’s recently implemented law that allows for motorcycles to "lane split." This is when there is slow-moving multi-lane traffic and motorcyclists use the space between the two lanes to bypass. Supporters feel that it is unnecessary for motorcycles to occupy so much lane space when they can simply cut through.

Massachusetts Senate Bill #1947

The senate is considering an Act that allows for lane-splitting. Section 4A (Chapter 89) of the General Laws would be amended by eliminating the first paragraph and replacing it. This Act would allow motorcycles to be driven in the space located between rows of stationary or moving vehicles if both of these conditions exist:

  • The motorcycle does not exceed 50 miles per hour.
  • The motorcycle is not traveling 15 miles per hour faster than the flow of traffic.

Example of Lane-Splitting Accident Liability

How could lane-splitting affect liability in a motorcycle-car collision? Let’s look at an example.

A 42-year-old motorcyclist was lane-splitting on California’s Interstate 5 when a driver suddenly shifted his car into the path of the motorcycle without using a signal. The car was at a 45-degree angle when the motorcycle crashed into it, causing the motorcyclist to incur severe injuries. In a lawsuit filed afterward, the motorcyclist contended that the car’s driver was careless in failing to signal; however, the driver explained that the motorcyclist was lane-splitting and doing so at an excessive speed.

Following a seven-day trial, a jury ruled for the plaintiff with total damages of $3,778,095. The allocation of liability was 87% for the defendant and 13% for the plaintiff, and the award was reduced to $3,135,819 net verdict for the plaintiff. This result was in accordance with California’s law of comparative negligence, meaning that jury awards are reduced by the percentage of fault that the plaintiff contributed to the accident. This case was finalized prior to California’s new law allowing lane-splitting, so future plaintiffs will certainly be less than 13% liable in these cases.

Until Massachusetts adopts such a law, however, our standard of modified comparative negligence will determine who’s responsible in lane-splitting accidents. It’s not an easy fact to determine, so speaking to an experienced Burlington motorcycle crash attorney as soon as possible is advisable.

Contact a Motorcycle Injury Lawyer in Burlington

Collision involving motorcycles are much more likely to result in catastrophic injuries. Because of this, injury victims should seek assistance. The lawyers at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., have many years of experience in pursuing much-needed financial compensation for Boston motorcycle accident victims. Contact our office today at (781) 705-7087 for a free consultation.