With spring well under way in California, thousands of motorcyclists have hit the roads to enjoy the state's many mesmerizing views. As bikes on the road are plentiful, there are an equal amount of possible dangers riders face each day. One topic that receives considerable attention involves lane-splitting. Some argue that the driving method is too risky, while others show that this strategy can actually help keep motorcyclists safe.
Contrary to what many might assume, lane-splitting does not necessarily pose dangers to riders. In a report on motorcycle safety, The Los Angeles Times highlights a study from the University of Californa, Berkeley to show that lane-splitting is, in fact, safe -- the study even argued that avoiding lane-splitting could pose safety risks. Some experts proposed a safe "speed differential" between 15 and 50 miles per hour, which would aim to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes. The Times also commented on the study's revealing that lane-splitting motorcyclists were generally safer drivers than those who avoid this practice.
The California Motorcyclist Safety Program offers a brochure on the state laws surrounding lane-splitting, noting that it is typically wise to lane-split between first and second (or leftmost) lanes. By the same token, the program discourages cyclists from practicing this driving method near freeway ramps and exits. Motorcyclists should also maintain a keen awareness of not only motor vehicles on the road, but of other motorcycles, as well; doing so can allow space on the road for everyone. Dovetailing from this safety step, it is important that riders keep eyes peeled when it comes to awareness of surroundings. Lanes, other vehicles and roadways can vary in size. There are many other factors involved in keeping the road safe for motorcyclists, but it is clear that lane-splitting is not a hazard to riders, but instead a potential safety method.