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Starting a Ridesharing Motorcycle Company in Santa Monica is a Bad Idea


“Split” is a new Santa Monica-based ridesharing service that involves motorcycles instead of cars. It takes advantage of the fact that California is the only state that allows motorcyclists to lane split, i.e., ride between lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic moving in the same direction. A passenger can ride on the back of a three-wheeled motorcycle as it lane splits down the freeway, presumedly getting the passenger to his or her destination quicker.

Motorcycle Rideshare Safety

Split Ride’s co-founder, David Masoulf, touts the same mantra as e-scooter companies Bird and Lime: “safety is our #1 priority.”

Masoulf claims his drivers are better than Uber and Lyft drivers. They have to be over 25 years old, have a motorcycle license, have an in-person interview, complete a driving test, and have no history of accidents or DUI’s within the last five years. Passengers are provided a helmet.

The Problem with Split

So what’s the problem? Let me count the ways…

  1. Passengers must sign a liability waiver. That means if the Split driver is at fault for a crash and the Split’s passenger is injured, the injured passenger cannot sue Split.
  2. Passengers assume the risk of injury or death.
  3. Passengers can’t weight over 200 pounds.

At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we know that motorcycle accidents are some of the worst accidents we see. Because a motorcyclist is not protected by the body of vehicle, injuries can be catastrophic. The most common motorcycle accidents we see involve either:

  1. A motor vehicle driver turns left in front of a motorcyclist, or
  2. A motor vehicle driver makes an unsafe lane change on a freeway, and sideswipes a motorcyclist

Our suggestion: stay away from Split. If you need a ride, take Uber of Lyft. It’s not worth the few minutes you may save on your commute. At least with Uber of Lyft, if your driver is at fault for an accident, there is 1 million in insurance coverage to pay for your injuries and lost wages.

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