It’s a polarizing topic among motorcyclists and drivers: traffic on the highway has come to a halt, and there’s no telling when it might start moving again. Although cars and trucks are stuck in place, motorcyclists can take advantage of their smaller vehicles, riding between the lanes of cars and past the traffic jam.

This practice (called lane-splitting) is legal in California, and allows many San Bernadino bikers the freedom to ride next to stopped or slow-moving traffic. However, many skeptics have raised objections to lane-splitting, calling it dangerous for both the bikers and the drivers they ride near.

New Study Says Lane Splitting Not Inherently Dangerous

A study recently released by researchers at UC Berkeley provided some insight on dangers of lane-splitting in California. The study examined the causes and common factors of thousands of motorcycle accident reports across the state, and found some surprising results:

  • The act of lane-splitting was not any more likely to result in an accident than riding in a marked lane.
  • Lane-splitting motorcyclists were more likely to be involved in a crash if they were traveling 10 mph or faster than the traffic they were passing.
  • Lane-splitters were more likely to rear-end another vehicle than to be rear-ended themselves.
  • Motorcycle accidents involving lane-splitting are statistically more likely to occur during rush hour (early morning and late afternoon), the most dangerous time of day for traffic accidents overall.

Does this mean lane splitting is not dangerous? Like all other driving and riding behaviors, the way an action is done is more dangerous than the behavior itself. If a motorcyclist leaves a marked lane of traffic, he must always signal his intentions and take additional measures to be seen by the drivers around him (such as turning on his headlight). Drivers are more likely to attempt to change lanes or open their doors when traffic has stopped, so bikers should always travel slowly and cautiously if they intend to ride between them.

Were you struck while lane-splitting in San Bernadino? Click the link on this page to read through our free guide, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case.


Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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