Should lane-splitting be legal?

One of the most controversial topics when it comes to congested traffic is lane-splitting. Each state has the right to determine whether this practice should be legalized. There are many arguments both from those who are against the practice as well as those who are supporting it. The state of Pennsylvania currently does not allow lane-splitting for motorcycle drivers, but changing laws in other states may affect that. Researchers have found evidence that the practice may actually be beneficial to motorcyclists as well as other drivers on the road.


One of the first arguments in support of lane-splitting is the fact that motorcycles are difficult to operate in congested traffic. Their design promotes overheating if they are not allowed to move quickly to create a cooling breeze. Drivers are also susceptible to the elements and are not protected like other motorists. This can lead to exposure to heat or freezing weather if motorcyclists are stuck in stopped traffic for long periods of time. Allowing the motorcyclists to leave also lessens the congestion for passenger cars.


Cycle World reported that scientists at the University of California Berkeley recently conducted a study that detailed the risks to motorcyclists in heavy traffic. After reviewing 6,000 traffic accidents that involved motorcycles, researchers found that nearly 1,000 of them were lane-splitting at the time of the collision. Despite common beliefs, these motorcyclists proved to fare better in most cases than drivers who had remained in their lanes.

One of the most dangerous places for a motorcycle driver to be is in front of a car. Distracted driving has led to an increasing number of accidents in which one vehicle rear-ends another. This is extremely dangerous for motorcyclists and often leads to more severe injuries. Death rates were more than double when motorcycles were involved in accidents while staying in their own lanes. Head injuries dropped from 17 to 9 percent when lane-splitting occurred, and torso injuries fell by 10 percent.


Despite the belief that motorcyclists cutting between lanes are acting dangerously, the study revealed that these drivers actually showed more concern for safety and responsibility. These drivers were intoxicated less than non-lane-splitting drivers and also wore full-face helmets more often. The majority of them were also traveling less than 15 miles per hour faster than the surrounding traffic, something that has been shown to reduce injuries and the chance of an accident.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident while lane-splitting, an attorney may aid you in getting the compensation you need to recover and get back on the road. Contact an experienced lawyer today to get the help you need.

Written on behalf of Friedman Schuman. Contact our firm for a consultation to discuss your legal matter.

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