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Who's To Blame


tmckeen
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  1. 1. Who's More At Fault

    • The Driver
      0
    • The Rider


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This morning on my way into work I witnessed a fellow motorcyclist involved in a accident right in front of me, thankfully its resulted in no major injuries. I had a pretty good view of the events unfolding and am curious which of the two parties involved you think were more "at fault" for the accident.

 

The motorcyclist was splitting lanes between the carpool and leftmost lane, ( as was I ), he had become stuck waiting behind a delivery truck and a car that were a little to close together to fit between and when he had enough room to squeeze through he accelerated quite quickly to a pace that could be considered unsafe given the traffic conditions, faster then what I felt was safe anyway. Several hundred feet down the road a car quickly changed lanes from the carpool lane to the leftmost lane in front of him, crossing the double yellow line to do so, and I believe without signaling. In response to the car pulling out the motorcyclist first swerved slightly to the right, putting him on a trajectory headed right into the middle of the leftmost lane, he then attempted to emergency brake, but given the ridiculously raked out front end on his motorcycle his attempt to quick stop was insufficient and he plowed squarely into the center of the car, which by that time was completely in the leftmost lane.

 

I'm fairly certain that had he not swerved to the right and just applied the brakes he would have missed the car completely.

 

so who do you think is more at fault for the accident, the driver who cut across the double yellow or the rider to target fixated and ran into the car ?

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It's the bikers fault, at best the driver will get 30% maybe 40% fault due to improper lane change without signals and crossing the double yellow. The reason the biker will be at fault is because the car assumed control of that lane and was proceeding forward in that lane. The person in front of you is your responsibility not the person behind you. It's one of those crappy situations but I ran into something very similar to this and its basically the same thing.

 

It will be ruled as the biker attempted emergency braking however he plowed his bike into the car which cause the accident. The driver didn't swerve into the biker and clip his tire, the car was in the lane and had control of the lane.

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I agree, riders fault, simply based off the fact that even though the car was wrong for cutting the bike off. The biker should have been riding at a pace that would allow him to respond to emergencies in a timely fashion.

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It's the bikers fault, at best the driver will get 30% maybe 40% fault due to improper lane change without signals and crossing the double yellow. The reason the biker will be at fault is because the car assumed control of that lane and was proceeding forward in that lane. The person in front of you is your responsibility not the person behind you. It's one of those crappy situations but I ran into something very similar to this and its basically the same thing.

 

It will be ruled as the biker attempted emergency braking however he plowed his bike into the car which cause the accident. The driver didn't swerve into the biker and clip his tire, the car was in the lane and had control of the lane.

 

 

It's a trick question. The answer is: It doesn't matter whose fault it is. The rider has way more at stake in the event of an accident, and has the responsibility (to himself) to ride in such a manner that he can protect himself from the mistakes of others. This fellow didn't even come close to meeting that standard.

 

If you ride a motorcycle relying on others to follow the rules of the road 100% of the time, and stake your life on them doing so, you won't be riding long.

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Personally I'd say its 50-50, however, the rider put himself in a situation where he was going to fast in traffic with nowhere to go. The driver shouldn't have been acting like an impatient idiot either by darting around in traffic (just like the motorcyclist).

 

Yea but the insurance isn't going to look at it that way....that rider is screwed if he thinks it's not his fault.

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If you're in California where lane splitting is legal, I'd say that as far as legality goes, the cage is at fault here. If not, it seems like 50-50 fault because both drivers were breaking the law.

 

Judging by the description, and as far as responsibility goes, i'd say the squid should have probably slowed down a little bit if he can't handle an emergency stop at relatively low speeds. But let's be honest here, lane splitting is dangerous and there are situations that even the most experienced rider would not be able to avoid. If you are in a car's blind spot, and he cuts his wheel as hard as he can to make an impromptu lane change without checking, you could definitely become a pancake regardless of your skills or reaction time.

 

By virtue of lane splitting alone the rider is putting himself in a precarious position and is definitely responsible if something happens. The rider should know that most people don't check or care if a motorcycle is lane splitting, or even not lane splitting for that matter. Our safety is definitely our own responsibility, and we understand that in some case safety can be out of our control, most especially during street riding. I hope the guy is OK and wish you would have gotten it on GoPro.

 

 

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T - Is your question about fault in the legal sense? Or in a less formal sense?

 

JK makes a good point about the lane splitting legality. However even in California isn't lane splitting resitricted to a very low speed? Like 20 or 25 MPH? I have to admit to a limited knowledge of the legalities of lane splitting but I would have to say even where legal, a rider is accepting an additional amount of risk.

 

Legally I don't know who is more at fault however practically I have to agree with the concensus and say the rider should have been aware of the increased risk and ridden accordingly.

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T - Is your question about fault in the legal sense? Or in a less formal sense?

 

JK makes a good point about the lane splitting legality. However even in California isn't lane splitting resitricted to a very low speed? Like 20 or 25 MPH? I have to admit to a limited knowledge of the legalities of lane splitting but I would have to say even where legal, a rider is accepting an additional amount of risk.

 

Legally I don't know who is more at fault however practically I have to agree with the concensus and say the rider should have been aware of the increased risk and ridden accordingly.

 

I live on the complete opposite side of the country than California so I could be wrong. From what I've gathered lane splitting isn't "legal" nor is it "illegal" so its more or less tolerated. So the person at fault would probably be the motorcycle rider for riding to fast or to close for traffic conditions.

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California Highway Patrol says: "Lane splitting is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner."

 

That means that it is the officer's discretion - if he/she thinks you are going too fast for conditions or riding unsafely, you can get a ticket, but being in between lanes is not, in itself, disallowed.

 

Lane splitting here in LA is very, very common - on a typical rush hour commute, if traffic slows or stops, lots of motorcycles will come by in between lanes, and of course the CHPs do it all the time, too.

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T - Is your question about fault in the legal sense? Or in a less formal sense?

 

 

Legal, Ethical, Moral, Philosophical ... doesn't much matter I was just curious what some other "educated" riders around here thought of the situation. Clearly without the car the situation never would have happened, but the rider did have enough time to react and avoid the accident but failed to do so. Its basically the same as asking did the debris in the road, or the riders bad riding cause them to crash.

 

As for the legality of lane splitting, I do believe California is the only state where its legal, and I've read that the law used to give a set speed range but they removed that wording to give officers more leeway enforcing "unsafe lane splitting"

 

 

By virtue of lane splitting alone the rider is putting himself in a precarious position and is definitely responsible if something happens. The rider should know that most people don't check or care if a motorcycle is lane splitting, or even not lane splitting for that matter. Our safety is definitely our own responsibility, and we understand that in some case safety can be out of our control, most especially during street riding. I hope the guy is OK and wish you would have gotten it on GoPro.

 

 

While I agree 100% that our safety is entirely our own responsibility, I have to ask if you have much experience with lane splitting or riding in and around the LA area? Having ridden on both coasts and in the middle of the pacific ocean I can say without a doubt the number of motorists who move out of your way and actually look for motorcyclists here in LA is significantly higher then anywhere else I have ridden. Something I attribute to the increased number of motorcycles on the roadways and lane splitting between traffic on all of the heavily congested freeways. It by no means makes riding any less dangerous as it only takes 1 driver to not seeing you to ruin your day, but I would disagree that the act of lane splitting alone is putting a rider at significantly higher risk then simply riding in a lane with traffic.

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...Having ridden on both coasts and in the middle of the pacific ocean...

 

Don't your leathers chaff something fierce when they get wet? :P

 

Having no experience with lane splitting I cannot speak to the people who are either accepting of it or offended by it however it would make sense that in an area where congestion is bad, anything that helps move things along would be accepted by reasonable people.

 

But just like anything else on two wheels, vigilance is key.

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Well outside of the bikers need to do whatever necessary to avoid colliding with any mass object.. .

 

How far in front was the cross over the lines ? I was under the impression that when in (or out) of the carpool lanes, it was almost an absolute no-no to cross those lines to get into or out of the carpool lanes. There are only designated areas where you could enter or leave those carpool lanes and if caught - the fine wasn't pretty. . .

 

So, if that was the case, then that car never should have been crossing those lanes from a legality point of view. . ..

 

Now, that being said - it doesn't excuse the bike rider in that he's splitting lanes and kind of responsible for his own safety. . . .

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