Lane splitting is a touchy subject. California has more than 800,000 registered motorcycles and is the only American state that allows motorcyclists to split traffic, but is still an optional maneuver for them. Its accepted in many other parts of the world, and recent research claims that lane splitting is in fact safer than sitting in traffic acting like a car.
The main argument against lane splitting is that, in mostly driver’s eyes, it seems dangerous. Motorcyclists will tell you differently. A rear-ender is the most common type of accident on the road which makes up for 40% of all accidents in the United States. These accidents could be minor bumps causing nothing more than chipped paint, but there’s nothing minor if someone slams into the back of a motorcycle. Lane splitting lets motorcyclists avoid stopped or slow traffic and allows them to protect themselves from other road vehicles.
A study commissioned by the California Highway Patrol was conducted by the University of California at Berkeley between June 2012 and August 2013. 7836 motorcycle crashes were closely examined, and 1163 of them occurred while the rider was lane splitting. Riders who were lane splitting at the time of their crash, were less likely to be injured than those who weren’t. The reason for this could be that the lane splitting accidents happened at speeds between 1 to 30 mph. There were 45% less head injuries, 21% less neck injuries, 32% less torso injuries, 12% less arm or leg injuries and 55% less fatalities. The data shows the safest way to lane split is to ride at speeds of less than 30 mph, and less than 10 mph above the speed of the surrounding traffic. When these conditions are not followed, the injury rate in all categories rises. The report also shows that lane splitters were less likely to get rear-ended by another vehicle, but more likely to rear-end another vehicle.
What do you think about lane splitting? Do you think they should make it legal in your State/Province? Hopefully this study will improve the chances of it being allowed for us non-Californians one day.