Motorcycle Rider’s Duty of Care Under California Law

Motorcyclists are not exempt from California negligence law. In California, motorcycle rider’s have the same duty of care as car drivers; namely, to be a reasonably prudent driver in the same or similar circumstances. Accordingly, motorcyclists should refrain from dangerous lane-splitting and other hazardous maneuvers.

California Motorcycle Negligence Law

California imposes upon passenger-vehicle drivers, motorcyclists, truck drivers, and any other non-specialized vehicle operator the same duty of care; to drive as a reasonably prudent driver in the same or similar circumstances. Violation of that duty of care that causes injury can leave the at-fault driver liable for damages under California negligence law.

When Motorcyclists are Victims

Some people have a negative perception of motorcyclists as being dangerous on the road. That perception may have been shaped by speeding motorcyclists, lane-splitting, or other hazardous encounters with motorcycle drivers. Nevertheless, that dangerous stigma doesn’t always align with the facts of a motorcycle accident. When motorcyclists are involved in a car accident they are particularly vulnerable to injury. While car drivers have the protection of the vehicle in a car accident, motorcycle drivers have only their protective jacket and helmet. Accordingly, their injuries tend to be severe in car and truck accidents, and in many instances they are the victims of vehicle driver negligence.

Published by Adam Garcia

I'm a bankruptcy attorney in Northern California. I help individuals in financial distress achieve a fresh start through bankruptcy.

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