Drivers in California have to deal with a lot of traffic, and when there are motorcycles on the road, they also may have to deal with a phenomenon called lane splitting. This practice can cut down on motorcycle accidents and injuries when handled correctly, but it can be unnerving for other drivers on the road.
According to the Mercury News, lane splitting is when a motorcycle splits, or shares, a lane with another vehicle. One of the arguments for this practice is that, at speeds under 50 mph, it is safer for motorcyclists because there is less chance they will get hit from behind. In fact, studies show there are fewer head and torso injuries with lane splitting, and there is a decreased death rate as well.
Even though motorcyclists are fans of lane splitting, drivers may need some more convincing. KQRD News outlines some tips for motorists and motorcyclists to keep everyone safe. Drivers should be mindful of blind spots and use a signal before merging or changing lanes. When driving in the far-left lane, motorists should hug the left lane marker to make more room for motorcyclists. Even if drivers disagree with the lane splitting law, they must understand it is legal, and opening a door or doing something else to block a motorcycle is illegal.
Motorcyclists must also do their part to make lane splitting safe. It is not a good idea in narrow lanes, when large vehicles are present, when lighting is bad or when there is bad weather. It helps visibility to wear reflective or colored clothing and to stay out of vehicles’ blind spots.