Motorcycle Accident

What Is California’s Lane-Splitting Law in 2021?

by Staff Blogger | September 10th, 2021

Each state has its own motorcycle laws. Some states allow motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, while others don’t. Some have extensive requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license, while other states are less stringent. One popular—and controversial—motorcycling technique that is also regulated by states is lane-splitting. Though most states have laws forbidding lane-splitting, California is a little different. First, let’s establish what we mean when we say lane-splitting.

What’s Considered Lane-Splitting in California?

Lane-splitting is when a motorcyclist travels in between lanes to navigate traffic. For example, if there’s a traffic jam on Interstate 280 and a motorcyclist travels between lanes of traffic, riding down the white lane divider line, they’re lane-splitting.

What Is California’s Lane-Splitting Law in 2021?

Obviously, motorcyclists are still required to follow all the rules of the road. But unlike many other states, California does not have a law forbidding lane-splitting. California even issued lane-splitting safety tips for motorcyclists in 2018. Some of the tips include:
  • Understanding that lane-splitting is more dangerous when done at higher speeds.
  • It’s safest to split between the lanes that are furthest to the left on roads with three lanes or more.
  • Avoid lane-splitting near large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers and buses.
  • Stay visible and avoid lingering in other vehicles’ blind spots.
  • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing and using high beams in the daytime.
Note that riding on the shoulder of a road is not considered lane-splitting and is not legal. If a motorcyclist rides on the shoulder in California, police officers can (and likely will) give them a ticket.

Is Lane-Splitting Safe?

The Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley conducted a study that found only 17% of motorcycle crashes from 2012 to 2013 involved lane-splitting. Studies also suggest that the greater the difference between overall traffic and the motorcycle splitting lanes, the more dangerous lane-splitting becomes. So, it’s important for motorcyclists to avoid traveling more than 10 MPH faster than surrounding traffic. Researchers believe that lane-splitting is safest at speeds under 50 MPH.

Lane-Splitting Isn’t Popular with Other Motorists

The fact that California permits lane-splitting draws the ire of many non-motorcyclists. Several surveys suggest that drivers believe this practice should be illegal. And many drivers don’t even realize that it’s not illegal. As is typical on our roads, other drivers often have a bias against motorcyclists. It’s not uncommon for drivers to fail to give motorcyclists the space they need to safely navigate our roads. Sadly, the stigma facing motorcyclists on our roads often follows them into the accident claims process. Insurance companies are notorious for offering motorcyclists lowball settlements or to deny their claims altogether, even when their accidents are caused by drivers purposefully failing to yield to a motorcyclist.

If You Need Legal Representation, We Have Your Back

If you or a loved one was injured by a negligent driver in California, you should know your legal rights so you don’t get taken advantage of by insurance companies. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California motorcycle accident attorneys have years of experience ensuring motorcyclists get the compensation they’re entitled to by law. We can help you explore your legal options. Simply contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation. This content was originally published in October 2020 and updated in September 2021. 

5 Tips for Motorcycle Road Share

by Staff | May 17th, 2021

Whether you are commuting to or from work or heading out for fun, sharing the roadways with motorcyclists is common. Unfortunately, road sharing results in a higher number of accidents daily, often leading to devastating injuries or death.

According to statistics, California has the highest number of registered motorcycles of all 50 states, so the likelihood of sharing the roadway with more than one is exceptionally high. A large percentage of collisions occur due to passenger vehicle distracted driving or failure to see a motorcyclist, so learning how to avoid these is the best way to get started in creating a safer state when it comes to road sharing.

When an accident does happen, you’ll need to seek legal advice to determine what your options are going forward. Contact a knowledgeable legal team specializing in motorcycle law and accidents so you can receive the thorough and experienced legal help you need.

With so many motorcycles on the road, keeping everyone safe is critical. You can do your part by staying alert and aware. Here are the 5 tips for motorcycle road share, creating a safer commute for everyone.

1. Stay Aware and Check Your Blind Spots

When in a passenger vehicle, be on the lookout for motorcyclists sharing the road and keep your distance. Knowing where these are at all times can help you stay focused and keep everyone safe.

One of the top causes of motorcycle accidents is a car driver’s failure to notice a motorcycle in time, often leading to severe injuries or even death. Passenger vehicle drivers often experience inattentional blindness; when the brain doesn’t always register what it is seeing. A motorcycle is an unexpected sight, often causing the brain to disregard or fail to notice it. Train yourself to look specifically for motorcycles as you drive, making it a habit to counteract inattentional blindness.

Double-check your blind spots every time before changing lanes. Motorcycles are easy to miss in a quick glance toward your blind spots, so make a conscious effort to check twice. Use your signal light to change lanes to alert a motorcyclist who may be driving at a faster pace.

2. Stay Back and Avoid Tailgating

When a motorcycle is ahead of you, allow for plenty of space between you and avoid getting too close. Just like a passenger vehicle, a motorcycle may have to slow or stop suddenly due to emergencies or change lanes to avoid an accident.

Motorcyclists may not always use their brakes right away but instead slow down by downshifting or relaxing the throttle, so always gauge your speed and distance. To be safe, stay two car lengths away from a motorcycle at all times.

This distance also helps if a motorcyclist’s turn signal does not self-cancel out. Many motorcycles do not have turn signals that shut off after a certain amount of time. Keeping your distance allows you plenty of time to react if a motorcyclist does decide to make a turn.

3. Be Extra Cautious in Bad Weather and at Night

Rain, sleet, and snow make the roads extra treacherous and slippery for two-wheeled riders. Windy conditions may cause motorcyclists to lose stability in their lanes, pushing them too close to other cars and barriers.

Both weather conditions and nighttime driving reduce visibility, requiring extra caution on your part to ensure you don’t miss a motorcycle near your car. Slow down in poor weather and at night, and increase your following distance. Turn off your high beams when a motorcycle approaches you, and refrain from passing if possible.

4. Use Extreme Caution at Intersections

Busy or blind intersections are dangerous for cars and trucks, but they can be deadly for motorcycles. Slow down, turn down your radio, and come to a complete stop at every intersection. Look both ways twice before proceeding, and pay attention to the flow of traffic. Proceed slowly through the intersection. Many drivers find it helpful to crack their window open and listen for the sound of a motorcycle approaching at an intersection.

5. Stay in Your Lane

No matter how small a motorcycle may be, they are entitled to the same amount of space in a lane as a car or truck. Treat a motorcycle exactly like another passenger or commercial vehicle and follow the same rules of the road. Do not try to share a lane with a motorcycle, and remain slow and steady while passing.

Contact Your California Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today

All motorists are responsible for driving safely, looking out for others, sharing the roadways, and obeying traffic laws. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to severe injury if involved in a collision with a car or truck. It only takes one small move or action to cause an accident, so stay safe by following these tips every time you venture out on the roadways.

If you, a loved one, or someone else you know is involved in a motorcycle accident, seek legal advice from our experienced California motorcycle accident lawyers today. We’ll review your case, negotiate with the insurance companies, and advise you on how to proceed.

What to Do Before, During, and After Getting on a Motorcycle

by Staff Blogger | October 12th, 2020

safety tips for motorcyclistsWhether you’re a seasoned motorcycle veteran or a complete newbie, you probably already understand the importance of motorcycle safety. Following basic safety practices can mean the difference between a long, healthy motorcycle riding career and a tragic one. However, regardless of your experience, frequently revisiting the fundamentals will make you a better, safer rider. So, we want to review the steps to take before, during, and after getting on a motorcycle. Here’s what all motorcyclists need to know. As you can see, there’s a lot for motorcyclists to keep in mind. Other drivers aren’t always the best about sharing the road with motorcycles, so it’s important to always stay alert to potential threats and drive defensively. Keep a checklist of these safety precautions in your garage, so you can review them before riding. And if you have the misfortune of being involved in a crash, know that legal help is available.

If You Need Legal Help, Get Berg!

Though motorcyclists can do everything in their power to make sure their next ride is safe, they can’t control what other drivers do. And insurance companies are notorious for offering motorcyclists far less than they deserve after they’re injured in a crash. Don’t make the mistake of accepting the first settlement offer an insurance company gives you. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, contact the California motorcycle attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers to request a free consultation so you can better understand your legal options.

What Is the Difference Between a California M1 and M2 License?

by Staff Blogger | May 11th, 2020

m1 or m2 license in California?You’ve made up your mind: you want a motorcycle. California’s scenic roads and highways are calling your name! Once you purchase or borrow a motorcycle and (hopefully) a helmet, all that’s left to do is to start up your bike and take off… right? Not so fast, rider. Before you get on that chopper, you’ll first need to get a special license to legally ride a motorcycle in our state. An M1 or M2 license is a requirement for motorcyclists in California. If you want to ride a motorcycle and are interested in learning which license is best for you, we have you covered.

What Is an M1 License in California?

When you have an M1 license in California, you can legally operate any two or three wheel device equipped with a motor and no pedals, such as motorcycles and sit-down scooters, as well as any motorized vehicle in Class M2, which includes mopeds and motorized bicycles.

What Is an M2 License in California?

When you have an M2 license in California, you can legally operate motorized bicycles, mopeds, and any bicycle with an attached motor, as long as they go no faster than 30 MPH on level ground and are equipped with fully operational pedals. You cannot legally drive a motorcycle or any two or three-wheel device without operational pedals with an M2 license.

Which License Do You Need to Operate a Motorized Scooter in California?

If you want to legally operate a motorized scooter, you only need a standard driver license and not an M1 or M2 license. California defines a motorized scooter as a “two-wheeled ‘device’ powered by a motor with a floorboard that is designed to stand on when riding.” Sit-down scooters do not fall into this category.

Should You Apply for an M1 or an M2 License?

An M1 license will cover many bases, so most applicants will likely be best served by applying for it. If you have a very specific need to ride a motorized bicycle, then an M2 license might be enough. As of January 1, 2020, California no longer requires an M2 license for mopeds.

How to Get an M1 License

If you’re over 18, you’ll take a vision, knowledge, and driving test. However, if you complete a motorcycle basic rider course, you can have the driving test requirement waived. If you’re under 18, you’ll be required to pass vision and knowledge tests. You’ll also need to complete a motorcycle basic rider course approved by the California Highway Patrol. Lastly, you’ll be asked to provide a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training. The steps provided by the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles are as follows:
  • Complete a driver license or ID card application.
  • Pay the application fee.
  • Pass a vision test and a knowledge test.
  • Give a thumb print.
  • Have your picture taken.
If you’d like to know what to expect on the knowledge test, the California DMV provides a practice exam. Once you take the real deal, you’ll have three chances to pass it. To study up, check out California’s Motorcycle Handbook. Find your local DMV office to identify the office you’ll visit to get your license. If you’re enjoying this article, you might also enjoy reading about the worst traffic times in San Francisco and Sacramento.

What If You Don’t Already Have a Standard Driver License?

If you don’t already have a California driver license, you’ll be required to take a few extra steps in addition to the ones listed above. You’ll be asked to present an acceptable identity document or an acceptable residency document if you’ve never had a driver license or ID card in California. Just like you would with any other driver license, you’ll also provide your Social Security number and your  full legal name.

What Else Do You Need to Legally Operate Motorcycle in California?

In addition to obtaining an M1 license, you’ll need to buy insurance. Like all motorists, motorcycle operators are legally required to carry liability insurance in the event of a crash. Your policy will be need to specific to your motorcycle, as your existing auto insurance policy for other vehicles won’t automatically include coverage for your motorcycle. California motorcycle insurance requirements are known as 15/30/5 coverage. This means you’ll need $15,000 worth of coverage for injuries suffered by another person, $30,000 of coverage for injuries to others involved in the accident, and $5,000 of coverage for property damage caused by a collision. Read more about riding a motorcycle in California by checking out the following resources:

If You Need Help After a Motorcycle Accident in California, Call Us Today

Berg Injury Lawyers handles motorcycle accident cases across Northern California. Our San Francisco personal injury lawyers have years of experience dealing with insurance companies on our clients’ behalf, and we can tell you that having an attorney can make a huge difference in the amount of money you’re offered after a crash. Motorcyclists face a stigma that can affect the amount offered to them by insurance companies. It’s unfair, and it doesn’t need to be that way. When you work with Berg Injury Lawyers, we make sure you’re treated fairly by insurance companies. If you’ve been involved in a crash, call the Northern California motorcycle accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers. We offer free consultations, and you’ll never see a bill from us unless we win your case.

The Leading Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in California

by Staff Blogger | March 16th, 2020

Motorcycle crashes are notoriously deadly. Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in crashes than other types of motorists. That’s a reality that most motorcycles know instinctively when they get on their bikes and share the road with less-than-generous drivers. If you ride, you already know some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. Each time a driver follows you too closely or veers into your lane, you get a glimpse of how motorcycle accidents occur. But it’s important for all motorists, whether drivers or riders, to be aware of what causes accidents so we can all do our part to save motorcyclists’ lives. Check out our helpful infographic below for more information.

A Closer Look at the Numbers in California

All the information above applies to motorcycle accidents in our state as well as in the broader U.S., but we can dig a little deeper to learn about the specific causes of crashes in California. First, let’s look at the most recent data about the number of motorcycle accidents, which was last updated in 2016. In 2016, 548 motorcycle fatalities occurred in California, which was an 11% increase from the previous year. There was also a 9% increase in motorcyclist deaths from not wearing a helmet from 2015 to 2016. Data from the California Office of Traffic Safety lets us see even more recent data. There were 113 people injured or killed in motorcycle accidents in Sacramento in 2017. In Sacramento County, 500 people were injured or killed in motorcycle accidents in 2017.

But What About the Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in California?

How did these crashes happen? Here are the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in California, specifically:
  • A failure of the non-motorcyclist to give the motorcyclist the right-of-way.
  • Other motorists turning into the path of a motorcycle (in about one-third of all multi-vehicle crashes involving motorcyclists).
  • Driving or riding after consuming alcohol (in about 43% of all motorcycle crashes)
Then, of course, there are the common culprits of all crashes, including motorcycle crashes:
  • Distraction
  • Fatigue
  • Failure to adjust driving to the conditions of the road
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Failure to follow traffic signs or signals
As California motorcycle accident attorneys, we’ve seen first-hand how devastating a moment of distraction or one careless turn by a motorist can be for motorcyclists. Sadly, even though motorcyclists aren’t at fault for these crashes, they often face a stigma in each stage of the claims process. Motorcyclists can be discriminated against by fellow motorists, law enforcement agencies, and insurance companies. This is one of the many reasons we suggest that motorcyclists like you contact an experienced attorney immediately following a crash—you deserve to have your rights protected.

Have Questions? Contact Berg Injury Lawyers

We know motorcycle accidents, and we want to hear from you if you’ve been injured by a careless driver. Schedule a free consultation with our team, and we’ll listen to your case and let you know your legal options. Contact Berg Injury Lawyers today to get started.

Motorcycle Wreck? Don’t Let the Insurance Company’s Bias Cost You.

by Staff Blogger | January 6th, 2020

There are many reasons to ride a motorcycle over driving a car or truck. They’re easier to park, are extremely fuel efficient, and they have excellent acceleration and handling. But all those perks come at a huge cost: safety. Motorcycles have no safety features to protect riders, and even the most well-equipped riders can still suffer serious injuries during accidents. In fact, nearly 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injuries, and 4% are fatal. The injuries associated with motorcycle accidents are painful, debilitating, and often disabling. Victims may need expensive medical treatments, and they may be unable to work for long periods of time. Getting compensation is a big priority for motorcycle accident victims, but insurance companies don’t often cooperate. That’s because insurers and their adjusters are typically biased against motorcyclists, and they often approach motorcycle accident claims believing that the riders were responsible. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know that injured victims face enough hurdles already when trying to get compensation for accidents that weren’t their fault. If you or someone you love was hurt in a motorcycle crash, the last thing you need is to deal with is an insurance company that has already made its mind up about who caused the accident. Get in touch with our California motorcycle accident lawyers. We’ll investigate the crash, collect evidence that proves you weren’t at fault, and negotiate to get you paid fairly and on time. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re ready to put our experience to work for you.

We Protect Injured Motorcyclists’ Rights

by Staff Blogger | October 14th, 2019

Riding a motorcycle has several advantages over driving a passenger vehicle. First, motorcycles are far quicker and more agile than most cars, trucks, and SUVs. They’re also extremely fuel efficient and easy to maintain. But they have one big drawback as well: the risk they pose to riders. Put simply, motorcycles are unsafe during crashes. Around 31 percent of automobile crashes result in injuries, but only 0.29 percent result in fatalities. However, nearly 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injuries, and 4.24 percent result in fatalities. The chances of being seriously injured in a motorcycle accident are high, and when it happens, it’s important to have experienced legal representation on your side. Motorcycle accidents are often extremely expensive to recover from, and victims often feel the financial repercussions for years. They may need expensive medical treatments both upfront and well into the future, and they may be too hurt to go back to work for long periods of time. To make matters worse, insurance companies are often skeptical of motorcycle accident injury claims. Their bias means they frequently view motorcyclists as being at fault for their own crashes, even when evidence suggests otherwise. If you or someone you love was hurt in a motorcycle accident, it’s vital to have an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney working in your corner. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our legal team knows the challenges that motorcyclists face after crashes, and we do everything we can to help them get maximum compensation. Contact us today. We have years of experience helping injured riders just like you, and we know what it takes to win.

What to Expect: Motorcycle Accident Claims

by Staff Blogger | July 31st, 2019

Because motorcycles lack safety features, riders’ only preemptive option for protecting themselves is riding gear like helmets, jackets, gloves, and boots. But even the most well-equipped riders still face serious risks when they’re involved in accidents. If you were recently hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may have suffered severe injuries that require extensive medical treatments. Those medical treatments can be hard on your finances, especially when your injuries make it difficult or impossible for you to go back to work. If that’s the case for you, you may need to file a personal injury claim to get the compensation you deserve. That’s where we come in.

How We’ll Help You Navigate Your Compensation Claim

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know how painful and traumatic motorcycle accidents can be. When you’re recovering from serious injuries, the last thing you want to do is deal with the insurance company and going back and forth on getting a fair settlement. Our California motorcycle accident lawyers can handle every aspect of your claim while you focus on getting better. When we take on your claim, we’ll collect evidence to prove you weren’t at fault for the crash. Then, we’ll determine how much money you’re owed for your current and future accident-related expenses, including your medical bills and lost wages. Finally, we’ll negotiate with the insurance company to maximize your chances of getting the money you deserve.

Get an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Law Firm on Your Side

Insurance companies are often biased against motorcyclists. They wrongly assume that most motorcyclists are at fault for their own crashes, and that can make it difficult for injured riders to get fair compensation on their own. Hiring a law firm with experience dealing with insurance companies can help you get proper compensation. Our attorneys understand what you’re going through, and we know how insurance companies often treat motorcyclists. We can protect you, your loved ones, and your rights to full compensation starting the day you call us. Contact us today for a free consultation.

3 Tips for Driving Safely Near Motorcycles

by Staff Blogger | May 15th, 2019

Motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable travelers on the road. Because motorcycles lack safety features, motorcyclists face more inherent risks than drivers and passengers in other vehicles, and their helmets and riding gear can only protect them so much during crashes. Next time you’re on California’s roadways, be alert and aware of any motorcyclists riding near you, and  keep these three tips in mind to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident:
    1. Give motorcycles plenty of space. Don’t follow motorcycles too closely. In the event of an emergency, both you and the motorcyclist in front of you will need plenty of space to stop.
    2. Check your blind spots before merging or changing lanes. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, and they can sometimes be hard to see. Look twice before moving over.
    3. Use traffic signals when merging. Give motorcyclists fair warning when you plan on changing lanes to avoid a collision.

Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Serving the Bay Area

If you or someone you love was harmed in a motorcycle accident, the California motorcycle accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers are here for you. We have more than 35 years of experience helping injury victims throughout California, and we have the knowledge and experience to build a strong claim on your behalf. Contact us today to get started with a free case review.

3 Reasons to Get a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident

by Staff Blogger | April 29th, 2019

If you were recently injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be too hurt to go back to work. And when you’re not working, you’re not earning the paychecks your family depends on. That can make it difficult to pay for your day-to-day living expenses, let alone your expensive medical bills. To make matters worse, the injuries associated with motorcycle accidents are often painful and debilitating. Your priority right now is trying to get better—but you know you need help with your injury-related expenses. That’s where we come in. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California motorcycle accident attorneys are here to help you in three important ways:
  1. We’ll collect evidence to determine who was at fault—Insurance companies are often biased against motorcycle accident victims. But even the most biased adjusters can’t argue with cold, hard evidence—and that’s what we’ll collect when we build your claim.
  2. We’ll calculate how much money you’re owed—Because motorcycle accident injuries can be life-threatening, the medical treatments you need may be expensive. In addition, you may be out of work for weeks, months, or even years. Let us calculate exactly how much money you deserve.
  3. We’ll negotiate to get you fair compensation—After we’ve established the accident wasn’t your fault and how much money your claim is worth, we’ll negotiate with the insurance company to get you paid. And if the insurance company won’t cooperate, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us get to work for you.