Bikers across the country are singing the praises of lane-splitting. Lane-splitting is the process of moving past traffic in the space that is located between the two lanes. Filtering, a similar behavior, is moving ahead of cars that are stopped at a stoplight.
In the recent past, lane-splitting was outlawed across the country, even though it is legal in Europe and Asia. Now, California and several other regions of the country have passed laws to allow lane-splitting. Numerous studies such as the famous Hurt Report have found that it saves lives by putting bikers in control of riding where they can be seen. Even the notoriously conservative American Motorcycle Association is speaking out in favor of the practice. They cite the problems when bikers travel through congested traffic with distracted drivers who may not see them. Stop-and-go vehicles also create hazards, because what would only be a minor tap on a car bumper could be disastrous to a biker.
Lane-Splitting is Proven Beneficial
The US Department of Transportation has come out in favor of lane-splitting, stating that it can “provide an escape route for motorcyclists who would otherwise be trapped or struck from behind.” California has noted a decrease in bikers being struck from behind since allowing the lane-splitting.
A study by the University of California at Berkeley found that motorcyclists who split lanes in traffic significantly reduce their risk of being struck from behind. In addition, they lower their risk of head or torso injuries, and fatalities if a collision does occur.
Another added benefit of lane-splitting is the reduction in congestion. One recent study found that if we increased the number of motorcycles on the road to 10 percent of all vehicles, traffic would be reduced by a whopping 63 percent for all vehicles on the road. Indeed, lane-splitting allows bikers to maneuver through heavy traffic areas, and come out ahead and traffic.
Most bikers know that they face risks when entering an intersection and turning. Lane-splitting allows bikers to move to the front of traffic, where they can proceed cars into the intersection and be less likely to be unseen by distracted drivers.
Indeed, the biggest stumbling block in passing legislation allowing lane-splitting seems to be the ignorance of law enforcement and government officials. Since bikers still make up a relatively small portion of the population, they must work diligently to be heard by government officials. Bikers can contact their local department of transportation and state representatives to speak out in favor of lane-splitting.
At Kass & Moses, we support the rights of bikers nationwide. As bikers as well as motorcycle crash lawyers, we know just how devastating injuries can be. We fight for safety measures to be instituted nationwide, including lane-splitting.