Quecannon Nihipali, 40, was killed in a Riverside County motorcycle crash, which officials say, occurred when he was lane splitting. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the fatal motorcycle crash occurred on May 20, 2013 when Nihipali was riding east on the line between two lanes in slow traffic just west of Main Street. As he did so, Nihipali struck the left rear of the vehicle to the right. He was knocked off the motorcycle and run over by a semi truck with a trailer that was traveling about 15 mph. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Lane splitting by motorcycles is legal only in the state of California.
Motorcycle Crashes in Riverside County
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one fatality and 52 injuries were reported as a result of motorcycle crashes in Corona. In Riverside County as a whole, 36 fatalities and 481 injuries were reported due to motorcycle accidents during the same year.
The Safety of Lane Splitting
Based on this news report, it appears that the motorcyclist was lane splitting when the crash occurred. CHP recently issued specific guidelines, for the first time, for those who split lanes on motorcycles. Officials warn that those who cannot split lanes safely should altogether abandon the practice. While it is legal to split lanes on a motorcycle, CHP officials say the key to safely lane splitting is speed. Officials advise that motorcyclists should lane-split no faster than 10 mph over the speed of traffic around then. They also recommend that motorcyclists not split lanes at all if the traffic is faster than 30 mph. Other motorists should also be aware that motorcyclists might be passing close by.
Potential Liability Issues
In any motorcycle accident case, it is important to look into potential causes and liability issues. If a negligent motorist caused or contributed to a crash, he or she can be held liable for the motorcyclist’s wrongful death. If a product defect causes a motorcycle to crash, the manufacturer of the faulty motorcycle or part can be held liable as well. Families of deceased motorcyclists can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault parties seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer will be able to advise injured motorcycle accident victims and their families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.