California is one of a handful of states to have what is commonly referred to as lane splitting. The practice of lane splitting pertains to a manuever made by an individual on a motorcycle in which they effectively drive down the center of two lanes of traffic. Motorcyclists are allowed to engage in lane splitting when certain traffic conditions apply that warrant the use of the maneuver.
While considered safe and effective when enacted properly, the manuever is not without risks. Some motorists have been guilty of trying to prevent or obstruct a motorcyclist from passing. Not only is blocking a motorcyclist who is attempting to lane split illegal, it's also extremely dangerous and can result in serious motorcycle accidents.
A 20-year-old California woman was recently killed in a fatal motorcycle accident when the 21-year-old driver of the motorcycle on which she was a passenger was forced to suddenly stop. The accident occurred as the motorcycle was traveling about 30 MPH through standstill traffic. As the motorcycle approached an intersection, a truck that was hauling a trailer was blocking the motorcycle's passage.
As a result, the motorcyclist was forced to brake suddenly which resulted in the 20-year-old passenger being thrown from the motorcycle. First responders arriving at the accident scene pronounced the young woman dead. The 21-year-old man who was operating the motorcycle at the time of the accident sustained serious injuries for which he was hospitalized.
While it's not clear whether or not the truck was intentionally blocking traffic, the family of the 20-year-old woman may choose to take legal action. The family may also decide to pursue legal action against the 21-year-old man who was in control of the motorcycle at the time of the fatal accident.
In cases where a loved one dies in a tragic accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be an appropriate means to recovering compensation. In addition to the enormous emotional toll, such untimely deaths often also take a financial toll on surviving family members who are impacted by a loss of income and must pay for medical and funeral expenses.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Woman, 20, identified as 'lane-splitting' victim," Ed Fletcher, May 7, 2013
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