A lot has occurred on the subject of lane splitting (or filtering depending on where you are) this year to include the following:

>  A complaint from one person forced the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to remove lane splitting guidelines from their website.

>  In Australia, New South Wales is now allowing lane splitting and Queensland is will be legal in 2015.

>  Change.org has a petition to make lane splitting legal in the state of Virginia.

>  UC Berkeley issued a study, commissioned by the CHP, finds the practice does not increase safety risks.


The most important item of the year on this subject is the UC Berkleley/CHP study. The study shows that lane splitting is, mostly, as safe as riding in a standard lane. I can see this report supporting the movement to allow lane splitting in other states in the very near future. The report, titled “Safety implications of lane-splitting among California motorcyclists involved in collisions” studied the “prevalence of lane-splitting among approximately 8,000 motorcyclists who were involved traffic collisions in June 2012 through August 2013”. Some of the highlights of the UC/CHP study: (LSM=Lane Splitting Motorcyclist)


>  The practice of riding in between marked lanes to filter through slow-moving or stopped traffic, is just as safe for riders as traveling in normal lanes

>  Riders who split lanes are less prone to getting rear-ended; however, the likelihood of a rider rear-ending a car is greater.

>  Danger level does increase for riders who are splitting at speeds of 10mph or faster than the surrounding traffic.

>  They found that lane splitters were splitting at lower speeds and in slower moving traffic than they had been previously.

>  Time of day also varied greatly by lane-splitting status 59.5% of LSM were involved in collisions between 6-9 am or 3-4pm, compared with 37.3% of motorcyclists who were not lane-splitting.

>  Patterns of injury were significantly different comparing LSM and other motorcyclists. LSM were notably less likely to suffer head injury (9.1% vs 16.5%), torso injury (18.6% vs 27.3%), or fatal injury (1.4% vs 3.1%) than other motorcyclists. The occurrence of neck injury and arm/leg injury did not differ meaningfully by lane-splitting status.

The authors of the report have promised further analysis on the data they collected. They plan to look at things such as age, gender, rider characteristics, and roadway conditions to further dig into what exactly is and isn’t dangerous on the roads.

You can read the summary of the UC Berkeley/CHP study yourself at this link.

  1. […] You can read the whole study here and my earlier post on the issue here. […]

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