Almost anyone who drives on a regular basis is likely to have a strong opinion about lane splitting, the act of motorcyclists driving between cars in traffic on the highway. This maneuver is illegal in every state across the country except for California, which has made it a particularly divisive issue throughout the state over the years. Now, pro-lane splitting enthusiasts may have more ammunition in their argument, as a new study shows that lane splitting may not be as dangerous as thought.
According to results of a UC Berkeley state-commissioned study, lane splitting is not any more dangerous than driving a motorcycle in a regular marked lane. Researchers analyzed thousands of accident reports involving motorcycles to determine this. However, if the motorcyclist is driving 10 miles per hour (or more) faster than traffic while lane splitting, the risk of an accident does rise quite a bit.
The study found that motorcyclists that engage in lane splitting are not as likely to be the ones that other vehicles hit from behind, but are more likely to rear-end others. The rush hours in the late afternoon and early morning are, unsurprisingly, the times of day at which lane splitters are most likely to be involved in an accident.
People against lane splitting say that regardless of the statistics, lane splitting should be made illegal because it adds an element of unpredictability to the roadway, and it can easily distract other drivers on the road. Some say that it is also more likely to enrage other drivers who are stuck in traffic, which could lead to some potentially dangerous situations.
The debate over lane splitting will likely continue in California for the foreseeable future, despite the findings of the recent study. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, speak with a San Diego personal injury attorney at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.