When motorcyclists and cars share the road, you will often see the former split lanes. You can define splitting lanes as the practice of riding a motorcycle between cars, which are usually at a standstill or moving slowly when this occurs. The rider utilizes the space left in between cars.
California became the first and only US state to make lane splitting legal. That means that a police officer may not issue you a ticket for lane splitting. If you are involved in an accident due to splitting lanes, it is just like any motorcycle crash where the law applies.
Of course, this issue is sensitive, and there are conflicting sides. On one hand, you have most motorcyclists, and on the other hand, you have other motorists who believe the practice is disruptive and dangerous.
What Motorcyclists Say
Motorcycles groups across America are advocating for lane splitting to be made legal. In most places such as Texas, there are no laws that clearly address the question of splitting. Those for lane splitting argue that it could lead to reduced rear-end fatalities.
They point to the evidence that when motorcycles wait behind cars, they become very vulnerable. The car in front and behind makes it easy for a motorcycle crash to occur. According to this camp, the space between cars is sufficient to keep the traffic flowing.
What Opponents Say
Lane splitting becomes highly dangerous when someone is moving at a fast speed. While the majority of lane splitters have never been involved in an accident, most of them have nearly hit a car, according to a study done in California.
Among the responders, 34.6 percent had struck a side mirror. The percentage of riders who had suffered severe injuries was 9.9, and 11.1 percent had minor injuries.
Speed is a determinant of the safety of lane splitting. Not splitting at speeds of 30 mph or greater is one of the guidelines of the California Motorcycle Safety Program (CMSP). At high speeds, the rider will have less time to react to a potential hazard.
The guidelines advise riders to travel at 10 mph faster than the rest of the traffic when splitting lanes. They should not split near off-ramps or freeway exits. The riders should never split where they cannot fit or on unfamiliar roads.
Riders have to be keen and note what cars are doing, the guidelines further recommend. They must implement measures to become more visible to other motorists. Splitting is not allowed when it is dark or in the rain.
The California Motorcycle Safety Program (CMSP) permits a police officer to assess your riding to determine if your lane splitting was safe and prudent.
In Case of a Motorcycle Crash
You are responsible for your safety thus learn and follow the recommendations of the CMSP. If you used reasonable safety measures but suffered an accident, consult with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to learn more about your case and how you can recover. The lawyer will determine who is legally liable for your injuries and damage to the motorcycle. The lawyer will also ensure your motorcycle insurance provides you with the coverage you deserve.