Because they are aware of the potential frustrations that can result from riding in traffic that moves slowly or not, some motorcyclists take full advantage of the smaller size of their bikes by weaving in and out of parked cars. This allows them to avoid the potential frustrations resulting from riding in traffic.
Even though taking such a step would appear to be in your best interest, it could put your life or the lives of others in danger. The question is whether the rush of taking on even greater peril justifies the inherent risk of getting injured in a motorcycle accident.
Precisely What Does “Lane Splitting” Entail?
When traveling on a multi-lane road, lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist passes another vehicle by driving between two cars.
Although lane splitting can aid you in avoiding a traffic bottleneck, it is risky because the proximity of other vehicles reduces your visibility, especially if you wind up in another driver’s blind area. You’ll have a more challenging time braking and avoiding an accident if you’re lane splitting because other drivers change lanes unexpectedly.
For What Reason Do Motorists Routinely Weave Across Lanes?
A motorcyclist may choose to split lanes for a variety of reasons. A few examples are as follows:
- It’s human nature to try to zigzag around traffic if you’re running late for an appointment.
- It’s human nature to want to get where you’re going as soon as possible, and people who hate sitting in traffic may feel pressured to weave in and out of lanes.
- Drunk or stoned motorcyclists are more likely to do risky maneuvers, such as switching lanes in the middle of a busy intersection, because their judgment is impaired.
- It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you know everything there is to know about riding a motorbike, but the truth is that there is always more to learn. It’s possible to fool yourself into thinking you can easily pass between cars if you feel this way.
But if you regain the power of your motorcycle, even a tiny mistake in calculation or judgment could endanger your life and the lives of others.
What Factors Into Lane Splitting’s Riskiness?
Vehicles on a standard multi-lane highway should be able to travel safely next to one another. However, these lanes are too narrow for cars to veer out of during rush hour and too narrow for motorcyclists to navigate between the rows of vehicles comfortably.
But when traffic travels at typical speeds, lane splitting poses an even greater risk. The following factors account for this:
- Motorists on the road usually don’t expect to see a motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic. A car driver may not notice a motorcyclist until it is too late to avoid colliding with them when making a lane change. The motorist may crash into other vehicles, setting off a chain reaction.
- Because you are driving so close to other vehicles during lane splitting, you also risk being involved in a sideswipe collision. The danger increases if you happen to be in the motorist’s blind area.
A rear-end collision is possible if a car spots the motorcyclist suddenly changing lanes and slams the brakes. This type of reaction from motorists is common, especially when they observe a motorcyclist approaching between parked automobiles or when the motorcyclist abruptly flashes his lights.
Can You Legally Switch Lanes With Another Vehicle?
The vast majority of states do not recognize lane splitting as lawful yet do not prohibit it either. But law enforcement and legal systems often regard lane splitting as illegal.
The only state with a law explicitly addressing lane splitting is California, where the practice is legal if executed in a “safe and prudent manner.” However, the meaning of “safe” and “prudent” is left to the discretion of local authorities.