Lane Splitting: What Motorcyclists Need To Know


If you ride a motorcycle, you’ve likely heard of the phrase “lane splitting” and may have even done this from time to time when on the road. Lane splitting is one of the most controversial aspects of riding a motorcycle in the United States, and many debate whether or not it should be legal. Whether or not you’ve engaged in this practice before, the following information includes some important points that you need to know about lane splitting.


What is Lane Splitting?


When riding a motorcycle, lane splitting is the act of driving the motorcycle between two lanes of vehicles that are completely stopped or moving slowly. This is a common occurrence in big cities. Although lane splitting is considered to be illegal in many portions of the United States, it remains very popular among motorcyclists; it provides riders with the means of saving time and bypassing congestion. Some argue that this move can also be safer than stopping behind a car that stops quickly, although there are few studies providing empirical data about this.


Is Lane Splitting Legal?


Despite the fact that lane splitting is currently legal in many areas of the world, it’s not explicitly legal anywhere in the United States save for California, where it first became legal to engage in lane splitting in August 2016. In Colorado and Nebraska, it’s possible for motorcycles to ride two abreast, despite the fact that lane splitting is illegal in these states. While California is currently the only state within the U.S. to allow lane splitting, many states do not have legislation that explicitly prohibits lane splitting. This ambiguity has led many to argue that lane splitting is implicitly legal, and some states are taking measures to establish this concretely.


For instance, Nevada nearly passed legislation legalizing lane splitting in 2013, while Texas has put numerous bills on the matter up for vote over the past few years. With the recent legalization of lane splitting in California, you should expect other states to follow their lead over the next few years.


Safety Risks That Come With Lane Splitting


It’s highly recommended that beginner motorcyclists should avoid lane splitting, as doing so can be daunting for new riders. According to the NHTSA, 42% of fatal crashes involving two vehicles occurred when the motorcycle was going straight while another vehicle was turning left, which is a situation that can occur when a cyclist is lane splitting.


Many supporters of lane splitting state that the act allows motorcyclists to relieve congestion in traffic jams and that fuel efficiency is improved; opponents typically argue that it can increase road rage and cause safety concerns. Many lawmakers believe that it would be difficult to set speed limit laws and guidelines for motorcyclists who are lane splitting.


If you have sustained an injury in a motorcycle accident that was caused by lane splitting, call a  motorcycle accident lawyer in Woodland Hills so that you can get the compensation you are owed.


Thank you to Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation, for providing insight and authoring this piece on motorcycle tips.