Which Express Lanes Can a Motorcyclist Use for Free?
As a motorcyclist, you want to reach your destination quickly and safely. Express Lanes help with this because they typically have less traffic on them, but the can be costly to use. Here’s some good news: motorcyclists may not have to pay the toll fees! Motorcyclists, carpools, and vanpools are afforded discounted or, oftentimes, free rates. This is a method that one cannot always rely on, though. While some Express Lanes are free, others are not. Before your next trip, take a moment to learn more about how you can use Express Lanes for free. How do you use an Express Lane? First things first, make sure to have a FasTrak Flex transponder mounted on your motorcycle where an overhead antenna can read it. Have no room to do so? No problem! An antenna can read your transponder through your pocket. Just make sure it is in a secure place. Please note that it is illegal to hold up a transponder while driving through a toll point. Check the toll rates on the overhead signs, especially for lanes that are not free to use for motorcyclists. You must decide whether or not you want to use the lane before the dashed line disappears and becomes a double line. To cross afterwards can result in a ticket. Each lane has a variety of entry points. Choose one to enter and ride in that lane until you need to exit. It’s as simple as that! Which Express Lanes are free for motorcyclists? Life would be much simpler if all of California’s Express Lanes were regulated in the same way. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While some lanes are free to use, others may require that you pay the toll. Here’s a breakdown of what lanes you can use for free and which ones you need to pay for: Interstate 10 and Interstate 110 Metro Express Lanes, Los Angeles CountyMotorcyclists can use Express Lanes on I-110 and I-10 free of charge and without transponders or a FasTrak account if they have a standard issued license plate. Personalized motorcycle plates may be registered as a vehicle unlawfully using the express lane. This can result in you getting ticketed! State Route 237 Express Lanes, Santa Clara ValleySR-237 is free during peak commute periods for motorcycles as long as they have the proper decals. Be aware that tolls may be required for carpool vehicles (which include motorcyclists) at later times. If Express Lane says “HOV only,” any carpool vehicles and motorcyclists may use it for free. Express Lanes are in operation Westbound (towards Sunnyvale), from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Express Lanes are in operation Eastbound (toward Milpitas) from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Outside of these posted hours, these lanes are free to use. State Route 125 South Bay Expressway, San Diego CountyUnfortunately, there is no free pass on State Route 125! This route requires motorcycles to pay the same toll rates as 2-axle vehicles. Interstate 15 Express Lanes, San Diego CountyIt’s toll-free for motorcyclists. You don’t need a FasTrak transponder. 91 Freeway Express Lanes, Orange CountyYou must apply for a [Special Access Account](https://www.91expresslanes.com/specapp.pdf) for discounted toll rates as a motorcyclist traveling on the 91 Freeway Express Lane. Interstate 580 Express Lanes, Alameda CountyMotorcyclists are allowed to drive on I-580 Express Lanes for free but are required to have their FasTrak transponder set to 2 or 3 plus people. Interstate 680 Sunol Southbound Express Lane, Alameda CountyMotorcycles can travel for free without a FasTrak transponder. If a motorcyclist has a transponder, they can set it to 2 or 3 plus people to avoid paying the toll. Interstate 680 Express Lanes, Contra CostaMotorcyclists are allowed to drive on I-680 Express Lanes for free but are required to set their FasTrak transponder to 2 or 3 plus people. Bay Area Bridges, San Francisco CountyMotorcyclists are allowed to ride in Bay Area Express Lanes toll-free, but are still required to own a FasTrak Flex transponder. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco CountyMotorcyclists must pay the toll but they may also use Carpool Toll Lane #2 on the right side of the Toll Plaza during HOV dedicated times which are: 5 am to 9 am (weekdays) 4pm to 6pm (weekdays) New Year’s Day Presidents’ Day Memorial Day Independence Day Labor Day Thanksgiving Day Christmas Day Always have your transponder mounted somewhere where it can be clearly read. Express Lanes are a great option when you need to get to where you’re going quickly and without having to resort to lane splitting techniques. When in doubt as to which lanes you can use for free, keep a FasTrak transponder on your windshield or somewhere where it can be read to ensure that you won’t receive a ticket. It’s better to pay a few dollars than to receive $300 or $400 ticket. While Express Lanes allow for more breathing room as you ride your motorcycle, accidents can still occur. If you have been hit by another driver while riding your motorcycle, call a Wilshire Law Firm motorcycle accident lawyer for a free case consultation at 1-800-522-7274.
Recreational Marijuana Driving Laws You Need to Be Aware of
January 1st marks not only a new year, but the first day in which legal marijuana will be available in California. You and your friend decide to kick off 2018 by purchasing some recreational marijuana. You both drive down to the dispensary and then drive back to your friend’s place to use it. After smoking and getting high, you remember that you were supposed to run an errand. You say bye to your friend and head out, still high from the weed. You sit in your car, ready to turn the key when a thought occurs to you: Is it legal for me to drive? Can you drive after using marijuana? It is common knowledge that you cannot drink and drive. The established law states that “it is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent of more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle” (California Vehicle Code Section 23152). As a further safety measure, the law makes is clear that it is unlawful for a person to drive under the influence of any drug. But, what about marijuana? Marijuana is treated in the same manner as alcohol. When you smoke, vape, and/or consume marijuana, you are considered to be “under the influence.” Currently, there is no reliable method to indicate when a person is “too stoned” to drive. Consider, though, that experiencing any effects from marijuana impairs your ability to drive, a fact that many people are unware of. Take, for example, Colorado. According to The Denver Post, 55 percent of marijuana users in Colorado believe it is safe to drive while under the influence of marijuana. This, in fact, is wrong. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana impacts all of the following when driving: Judgment Motor coordination Reaction time The consequences of driving while high are severe. The Washington Times reports that “roughly 10 percent of Washington state drivers involved in fatal car crashes between 2010 and 2014 tested positive for recent marijuana use, with the percentage of drivers who had used pot within hours of a crash doubling between 2013 and 2014.” Weed became available to Washington citizens in 2013, suggesting a strong correlation between the uptake in fatal car accidents and weed use. You would never drink and drive. So why would driving high be acceptable? If you have consumed weed but there’s somewhere you need to be, call someone to pick you up or take a taxi. It’s important to note that beginning January 1, 2018, California Vehicle Code Section 23220 will make it unlawful for drivers and passengers to smoke or ingest marijuana while a car is in motion. How long do the effects of marijuana last? Because there is no strict indicator as to how much weed is too much, it’s primarily your responsibility to avoid driving while high. It’s important to understand that the effects of marijuana differ depending on what form you take it in and your body’s metabolism. According to Herb.com, smoking marijuana can have lasting effects between an hour to three hours. Though oral cannabis takes longer for its effects to be felt (anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours), they can last four to eight hours! Your judgement suffers when high. This is a fact. So, if you have consumed marijuana, be prepared to stay where you are for a few hours until the effects have worn off. How can you spot someone who is driving under the influence? Though you may choose to be a responsible driver, other motorists may not. All too often, people who are high or drunk decide to get behind the wheel, putting both themselves and everyone else on the road in danger. These signs are strong indicators that a motorist near you is under the influence: Wide turns Weaving between lanes Straddling the lines Swerving Unable to maintain proper speed Difficulties stopping Driving the wrong way Inability to respond quickly to traffic signals Tailgating Making illegal turns Driving in improper lanes Drooping head When you come across a driver showing the above signs, take the necessary precautions, such as buckling up. Though it may be tempting to pass a DUI driver, it is actually best to keep a safe distance. If you notice consistent signs of impaired driving, call local law enforcement. If you are struck by a driver who is under the influence, contact the police. Your next call should be to the car accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm at 1-800-522-7274 so you can begin seeking compensation for your injuries. Driving high is the equivalent of driving drunk. If you decide to partake and consume marijuana, make plans like you would as if you were going out to drink. It is always best to be safe than sorry.
Wilshire Law Firm and Badge of Heart Join Forces to Give Back to our Community
The spirit of Thanksgiving brings people together in the most unexpected and beautiful ways. Earlier this year, Wilshire Law Firm’s Founding President and Managing Attorney, Bobby Saadian, was honored to meet a humble team of LAPD officers, who created a movement to help good families in our community. Ken Lew and Jessica Gutierrez-Gonzalez have been at the forefront of Badge of Heart’s major efforts, and this year is no exception. In a recent conversation with Ken Lew, Badge of Heart’s Founder and CEO, he reminded us that the organization’s main goal is to help families in need, and to share the goodwill of police officers, who truly care about helping the community, beyond keeping us safe through diligent law enforcement. On Saturday, November 18th, the LAPD Pacific Division will share holiday baskets with around 450 families, from 10 AM to 12 PM, at the Venice Japanese Community Center. The invitation-only event will see many volunteers materialize the combined effort of those who said yes to the Badge of Heart pledge to help families in our community. Moreover, on Sunday, November 19th, the LAPD Harbor Division will share holiday baskets with 100 families, in San Pedro, from 10 AM to 12 PM. “Wilshire Law Firm’s partnership with Badge of Heart is here to stay. Being of service is what defines our firm. We help good people, not just with outstanding legal support, representing accident victims against big business and insurance companies; but also with critical resources, through charitable organizations. It’s our moral duty to say yes to gestures of goodwill, and to be there for those, who express their support for families in need,” said Bobby Saadian. Throughout Wishire Law Firm’s decade-long history, helping good people across California, the firm has also been present for the community. It’s no surprise that Bobby Saadian was ready to extend his helping hand to Badge of Heart, on behalf of the 70 professionals, who make the firm an inspirational success. Saadian is a proud board member of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Charities. The LATLC provides financial support and volunteer service to over 60 organizations throughout our community. Wilshire Law Firm is also known for providing legal scholarship awards to deserving students. The firm has received numerous awards and is among the top 1% of lawyers, nationwide; as well, prestigious accolades, on behalf of consumers, and recognitions for a consistent involvement in the community. To learn more about Badge of Heart, visit them at https://badgeofheart.org/ or click here to donate to Badge of Hearts.
Useful Tips for Talking to Your Insurance Adjuster
You’ve just been in a car accident. Whether it was a bad wreck or a silly fender bender, the upcoming hours and days can make or break your family’s financial future. These situations are never fun, and, in many cases, they’re extremely dangerous. The scenarios are endless: The accident may have been your fault It may not have been your fault You may be injured You may not be injured You followed the proper accident aftermath protocol: Exchanged insurance information Informed your insurance company Checked to see that everyone was OKAY Talked to the police Hired a lawyer… Or, maybe, you didn’t do any of that because you were too busy, picking up the pieces. Literally and figuratively. Whatever the case may be, there is one thing you can be sure of: you’re going to get a call from an insurance adjuster (if you haven’t already). Here’s what adjusters do before they call you It is important that you know the process by which insurance adjusters assess your claim. They examine your vehicle to assess the damage. They investigate the liability to see who is at fault. If they accept responsibility, they study your injuries to assess the damages, to see how minor or major they are. They put a monetary value on your claim. If you were seriously injured, but never saw a doctor or went to the hospital, meaning there are no medical bills, you could be looking at a lowball offer. To avoid this situation, it’s important you hire a personal injury attorney right away: We’ll help you find medical treatment You won’t have to pay any medical bills up front We won’t let insurance companies bully you We know the law, and we’re experts There are two types of insurance adjusters Level 1: Non-attorney-represented adjusters with relatively low experience, maybe two or three years at most. Level 2: Attorney-represented adjusters with more experience. Insurance companies assign Level 2 adjusters to your case when they get a letter disclosing you’ve obtained attorney representation. Adjusters are not necessarily out to get you, but they are interested in saving as much money for their employer as humanly possible. That means money coming out of your pocket. Just like court, anything you say to an insurance adjuster can and will be used against you… Insurance companies need a recorded statement to finalize their liability decision against you. They already have insurance statement, and police report. They want to see if you say anything wrong so they can use it against you and believe us, they will! …yet another reason why you should obtain an experienced attorney, and leave these calls up to us. Do not negotiate with insurance adjusters If you are the victim of a car accident, the first thing you need to do is hire an attorney before you talk to an adjuster. And guess what? With Wilshire Law Firm, it’s free: Learn more. In case you do find yourself on a call with an adjuster, here are some more tips for what to do and what not to do: Never admit fault… ever Don’t discuss medicals at all Withhold private details Do not agree to a settlement Do not sign or accept anything If you feel rushed, make it known The adjuster is not your friend Be nice, polite, and respectful always Remember, adjusters are paid to save the insurance company’s money, not yours. They talk on the phone all day with people who are down on their luck and take advantage of those who cannot negotiate for themselves. You’re just another file to them, and their number one job is to nickel and dime you and your family until you have nothing left. Adjusters will try to downgrade your settlement If an adjuster asks: “Even though the other driver hit you, was there any moment when you thought you could have avoided the crash?” Your answer is always: no. This is known as comparative liability. At any point, if you are found at even just 1% fault, you are responsible for that 1% of the claim. That 1% is compared to the policy limit, and can easily turn into millions. This is just one example of many, many schemes they will use to downgrade your settlement before making you an offer. You are better off saying absolutely nothing (pleading the fifth), calling Wilshire Law Firm, and letting us negotiate for you. Our team has the best accident and personal injury lawyers in California for a reason: we fight for families who are bullied by big business insurance companies into leaving money on the table every day, and we win. It’s the reason we’ve accumulated over $350 million in settlements and case resolutions in just 10 years of practice. We’re the guys the insurance companies are afraid of – that’s why they try to rush you into settling early. Never, ever settle with an insurance adjuster No settlement is so simple that you need to agree with just one phone call. Even two or three phones calls is usually not enough. Especially when your family’s future is at stake. But, that’s exactly what the adjuster will try to do: Give you an offer that sounds like a lot of money, but it’s chump change compared to what your family truly deserves for their loss of property, health, or life. Many factors go into agreeing on a fair and just case resolution. One of those factors is known as unforeseeable costs. You didn’t expect to get into an accident. How can they possibly tell you how much you are owed? How could your insurance adjuster possibly account for things like: Medical bills (past and future) Physical rehabilitation Lost wages Loss of future wages Pain and suffering Mental anguish Emotional distress Loss of companion So much more! These situations are not laughing matters. What is a laughing matter, however, is when they tell you not to get a lawyer. Lives are at stake, and it is very important that you approach calls with insurance adjusters with proper care and preparation. You need someone you can trust. An attorney who understands. An award-winning California super lawyer who will stand up and negotiate your claim so that you and your family receive fair and just compensation for your damages. Learn more about car accident injury law
New Motorcycle Lane Splitting or “Sharing” Guidelines on the Horizon, Sources
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) was authorized to write new motorcycle lane splitting (or, “sharing”) guidelines last August by California Governor Jerry Brown (Assembly Bill 51). Now, it’s been almost a year since CHP spoke publicly on the status of the guidelines. So, Wilshire Law Firm reached out directly to the people who are responsible for writing the guidelines, and we’re pleased to provide our readers with the following direct updates, straight from the sources. The California Highway Patrol Larry Starkey, the California State Coordinator for the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, says a draft of the new guidelines was officially submitted to CHP Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow several weeks ago. At that time, according to Starkey, who has been with CHP for 15 years, and served as a petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, the fate of the guidelines rested in the hands of Commissioner Farrow, whose options were: Approve it Change it himself and then approve it Request more changes from Starkey Throw it out completely “It’s completely up to the Commissioner,” Starkey said. However, since Starkey spoke to Wilshire Law Firm, Commissioner Farrow has stepped down from CHP. So where does that leave the guidelines? Starkey says, “when you add up all the hours spent from all the groups involved in drafting the new guidelines… at least 100 hours.” “The guidelines are meant for educational purposes,” Starkey says. “Once they’re finalized, we’ll move forward with a full-blown marketing campaign to raise awareness. TV, radio and billboard ads, plus, CHP kiosks to educate riders, and drivers, on how to properly interact with each other on the roads.” Starkey said he anticipates the marketing campaign to cost “about $1 million.” Which private groups did CHP consult with? AB 51 mandated the CHP to consult several government and private groups in drafting the new guidelines. Government groups included DMV, OTS, CalTrans and DOT. Private groups, who were required to be “motorcycle organizations with a focus on motorcycle safety,” which made up the CMSPAC (California Motorcycle Safety Program Advisory Committee) this included: ABATE of California (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) BARF (Bay Area Riders Forum) AMA (American Motorcycle Association) MMA (Modified Motorcycle Association) MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) Wilshire Law Firm is proud to call several leaders of these groups our friends. Bay Area Riders Forum Bud Kobza has been a board member of California Motorcycle Safety Committee for seven years, and is the owner/operator of the largest online motorcycle discussion board in California, the Bay Area Riders Forum. Bud also sits on the California Motorcycle Safety Program Advisory Committee, which, with the other motorcycle groups listed and few government agencies, consulted directly with CHP on the most recent lane sharing guidelines. Denny “Budman” Kobza is the owner operator of the largest online motorcycle forum, BARF, and sits on the board of the California Motorcycle Safety Commission.“ There were essentially two schools of thought in the drafting process,” Kobza said. “First, you had the motorcycle groups, who wanted the guidelines to follow a state-funded study, which was conducted at the University of Berkeley, by one Dr. Tom Rice, which suggested 15 mph passing speeds, in up to 50 mph traffic. So, essentially, lane sharing up to 65 mph. “The second school of thought was the CHP, who wanted the original guidelines of 10 mph passing, 30 mph passenger vehicle max speeds. “We thought CHP would have gone for what the Berkeley study said, since it was state-funded. But when we all got together in Sacramento, CHP wasn’t hearing it. I think it was too extreme compared to what other states are doing concerning lane sharing.” To clarify, the state-funded Berkeley study was proposed by Bud and his comrades from CMSC, and was funded by the state, as part of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. “We tried presenting a tiered program, that would advise slower lane splitting speeds for less-experienced drivers,” Bud said. “They didn’t go for that either.” California is currently the only state that allows motorcyclists to lane split. It is illegal in every other state, although, that could change soon. When were guidelines first introduced to the state? Seven years ago, when Bud joined CMSC, the DMV moved to outlaw lane splitting altogether. If it wasn’t for Bud, and the CMSC, fighting the DMV, lane splitting might be illegal today. “I was the new guy back then,” Bud says. “I took that fight on, and we won. We wanted to educate, not regulate.” The fruits of Bud’s labor was the first official lane splitting guideline approved by the state of California. 20 guidelines in total were submitted in 2010, and those approved were posted to CHP, DMV and other government agency websites. However, three years later, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) ordered the guidelines to be removed from government sites; and all physical marketing materials were removed from all said agencies’ offices. It was the work of Kenneth Mandler, who petitioned the OAL in the fall of 2013. Mandler claimed that the guidelines were “underground regulation.” In other words, a law that was not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. OAL did not honor Mandler’s petition, according to AMA, but his raising the issue was enough for CHP to take the guidelines off their site, which was a loss for Bud and the CMSC. This is why the current status of the guidelines are important. It’s been years since CHP has officially approved lane sharing guidelines. Commissioner Farrow could make an announcement any day. When asked if there was one thing he could tell motorists in passenger cars to be aware of when considering motorcyclists, Bud said: “First of all, don’t be jealous that we’re not waiting in line at the red lights. We’re not trying to beat you. We’re just taking advantage of being mobile.” He went on to say, “We are fathers, mothers, brothers, sister… humans. Just like you, all we want to do is get home safely to our families.” What were the original guidelines? Seven years ago, when the DMV tried to make lane sharing illegal, the CMSC drafted guidelines, as mentioned above. Several members of the CMSC held a lane sharing summit to discuss the guidelines inviting other safety stake holders and riders to attend and collaborate. Bud’s friend, Tim Arnold, kept photos of the original ideas for the guidelines. Here they are in their raw form. The very first motorcycle lane sharing, state-recognized educational guidelines, in ink! CHP BARF University of Berkeley Study CHP Commissioner Profile OAL Assembly Bill 51 Gov. Jerry Brown
Bobby Saadian and Mayor Garcetti Address Concerns for LA Homeless
Wilshire Law Firm’s Founding President & Managing Attorney Bobby Saadian recently attended Southern California’s premier international trade event, the 2017 Select LA Investment Summit, where he was a guest of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Located at the World Trade Center in Downtown Los Angeles, the annual summit seeks to pair international investors with local Los Angeles initiatives, as well as spread international awareness for local social initiatives. After Mayor Garcetti addressed the summit with a keynote speech, he met with Saadian to discuss ways they and other influential LA residents can further enrich the lives of local low-income residents and homeless populations. This is a pressing issue for our storied city, as the Los Angeles homeless population continues to trend in the wrong direction (currently it’s at 60,000, according to AP – that’s up 23% since 2014). Saadian, like Garcetti, is a lifelong Angelino, and is deeply concerned with this negative trend. During their brief meeting, Saadian also brought to the Mayor’s attention the good work that the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities (LATLC) is doing. Saadian, a LATLC Board Member, enjoys the opportunity to give back by frequently donating to charities, mentoring young adults about setting life goals, and helping children gain access to education. “The children are our future,” Saadian likes to say when asked about helping the children of his clients. It’s no wonder Saadian and Garcetti get along so well. Mayor Garcetti has been a champion for Los Angeles’ underprivileged youth and homeless populations since his first trip to Skid Row, when he was just 14. These charitable notions of giving back to the community ring true tenfold here at Wilshire Law Firm, where Saadian leads a team of talented attorneys and staff members who fight every day from sun up till sun down for our community’s most vulnerable. Wilshire Law Firm specializes in representing individuals who have fallen victim to catastrophic accidents, environmental contaminations, dangerous pharmaceuticals, defective product flaws, employee rights breaches or workplace equality violations. More often than not our clients are up against powerful insurance companies, mega-corporations and big business foes, and we’re proud to have recovered over $350 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients to date. More about LA Trial Lawyers’ Charities: The main focus of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities (LATLC) is to make a positive impact on the living conditions of less fortunate people in the greater Los Angeles area. Key focuses include: education, children, survivors of abuse, persons with disabilities, and homelessness. LATLC is a nonprofit public benefit corp. and it’s mission is solely meant for charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. More about The Select LA Investment Summit: The Select LA Investment Summit is Southern California’s elite international trade event. It brings together large groups of international investors with local business and governmental leaders, and facilitates secure foreign direct investment (FDI). SLAIS produces key insights on what’s trending in the markets, and unique, lucrative opportunities in the greater LA region.