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Think You're Responsible For Your California Motorcycle Injuries? 3 Laws You Thought You Were Breaking But Weren't

Have you been injured in a motorcycle accident in California? Are you hesitant to sue the other driver because you think the accident might have been the result of your breaking a traffic law right before the collision? If so, you should know about these three things that actually aren't illegal when you're driving a motorcycle in California.

You Ran A Red Light

It's not all that uncommon for motorcyclists to run red lights. Why? Because oftentimes their bikes don't weight enough to trigger the sensors that tell the light it's time to change from red to green. When this happens, bikers are left with no choice but to eventually accept the fact that their turn to cross the intersection is never coming unless they carefully proceed at their own discretion.

Luckily, the state of California recognized this problem and allows motorcyclists to bypass the law and run a red light in the event of an inoperative traffic light.

If you had a collision with another vehicle after running a red light in California, don't assume you were at fault for the accident. You weren't breaking the law if the light wasn't working and you checked your surroundings before passing the light. The other driver could have been speeding and happened upon you too fast to give you time to react, or they may have been running a red light of their own if the intersection had multiple lanes and more than one traffic light.

You Were Lane-Splitting

Lane splitting is the act of driving your motorcycle between two lanes of traffic. While most find the practice dangerous, others argue that it lowers the risk of motorcyclists being rear-ended. All but one state have laws prohibiting lane-splitting, and that one state is -- you guested it -- California. 

One of the big downsides of lane-splitting, however, is that motorcyclists are prone to collisions resulting from drivers popping open their car doors unexpectedly. When you're between two lanes and a car on the left opens their passenger-side door, or a car to your right opens their driver-side door, there's not a lot of room to adjust and you'll likely get knocked off your bike.

The good news is that if you collided with a car door while splitting lanes on your bike, you were acting within the law and the driver of the car was not. Don't assume that splitting lanes at the time of your accident leaves you at fault for your injuries.

You Didn't Use A Turn Signal

Perhaps you were injured when you didn't implement a turn signal to let the driver behind you know that you were about to turn. Isn't this illegal?

In California, it depends on what kind of bike you're riding and how old it is. If you're driving a classic bike that was manufactured before January of 1973, then no, it's not illegal. It's also not illegal if your bike is a motor-driven cycle as opposed to a motorcycle, and it doesn't travel any faster than 30 miles per hour.

If you were driving an oldie or a slow-poke bike when you were injured in a motorcycle crash, and you didn't use your turn signal, there is no reason to believe that your lack of using a turn signal should leave you responsible for the full extent of your injuries. 

If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident in California and are reluctant to sue the other driver because you think the accident is your fault, it's time to reconsider the facts. While most drivers think the above three actions are illegal, they actually aren't as long as they were performed under certain criteria. Talk to a motorcycle injury lawyer to determine whether or not your accident was the result of an illegal traffic move on your part, or just the result of your running into a negligent driver while you were obeying the rules of the road.