California Motorcycle Road Rules and Etiquette
California is at the center of the American motorcycle industry, with the highest number of registered motorcycles in the country. As such, there is a long list of road rules and proper riding etiquette that all motorcyclists must follow. Doing so will not only maintain the order of traffic but it will sustain the safety of everyone on the road. What are some of the key motorcycle rules California riders must abide by? We have the answers for you below as well as tips on proper motorcycle-riding etiquette.
Motorcycle Road Rules1. Helmets Are Mandatory
Universal helmet laws are not implemented in all states; however, they are in California. This means that you are required by law to wear a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet every time you get behind the wheel of your motorcycle. It is also recommended that you wear eye protection (such as sunglasses) and protective apparel (such as a long-sleeve leather jacket, long heavy pants, and closed toe boots).
2. Lane Splitting is Legal
Lane splitting is the practice of riding between lanes (and therefore between rows of cars) during stop-and-go traffic. Although lane splitting is widely considered to be quite dangerous, it is legal in California, so you should not be legally penalized for doing it. Simply exercise caution and ensure you are aware of your surroundings at all times. If you would rather avoid the risk altogether, you do not need to lane split at all.
Motorcycle Road Etiquette
1. Keep Your Distance
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Motorcycle Handbook, one of the primary pillars of good motorcycle etiquette in California is to maintain a sufficient distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Not only does this keep you and the other driver safe, but it also demonstrates that you have a high regard for their comfort level (i.e. you are not tailgating or rushing them).
2. Avoiding Other Drivers’ Blind Spots
While driving in someone else’s blind spot is not technically illegal in California, it is a courtesy to avoid doing so. Not driving in someone else’s blind spot can even help save lives. When you ride your motorcycle in another driver’s blind spot, you deprive them of seeing you properly, opening the door to dangerous crashes. Do your best to avoid riding your motorcycle in another person’s blind spot for a prolonged period, only doing so when you need to pass. Ensure that you signal, drive the speed limit and leave plenty of room.
Despite these road rules and etiquette practices, accidents do still happen. If you have experienced this unfortunate inevitability yourself, you know firsthand how scary and disorienting it can be. What can be even more unnerving is what the future holds. Do not leave it up to chance – request a free consultation with the Law Offices of Brent W. Caldwell Injury Attorneys to see how we can assist in getting the rightful compensation you deserve.
In general, if you follow these California motorcycle rules and etiquette, you will improve the safety of yourself and others. That said, if you have experienced a collision despite your precautions, it is essential that you acquire legal counsel immediately to secure justice when handling the legal proceedings around the incident. Get in touch with us to see how we can help.