Should you lane split on a motorcycle?
So far, California is the only state that allows motorcyclists to lane split. Also known as filtering, this driving move allows you to ride between the lanes when you are traveling in the same direction as the other vehicles.
There are many who agree and disagree with the law allowing lane splitting. However, no one can say for sure if it is safer. If you ride a motorcycle, you will want to know how to protect yourself from the many hazards you may meet if you choose to lane split.
Good news and bad news
The main reason bikers support the law is because it allows them to move forward when traffic is stopped. If you are on a bike, you may be safer pulling forward between the stopped vehicles. Otherwise, you could be at the end of the line exposed to approaching vehicles who may not be able to stop in time.
Those against lane splitting argue that there is no proof that the practice saves lives or prevents injuries for bikers. In fact, it may place them in harm’s way. Other drivers are not used to seeing motorcycles coming up beside them on the line. They may not see a biker in time to avoid a collision.
Stay safe if you split lanes
Some of the best tips you will get about operating your motorcycle safely come from those who have plenty of experience on the road. This includes other bikers like you and the officers of the California Highway Patrol. Here are some ways to avoid an accident if you choose to lane split:
- Don’t go more than 15 mph faster than the traffic flow.
- Avoid lane filtering when traffic is moving faster than 50 mph. It is even better to do it only when traffic has stopped.
- Make sure there is enough space between vehicles to safely pass.
- Don’t come up beside large vehicles that have big blind spots.
- Be alert for cars that change lanes suddenly without signaling, especially near exits or turns.
If you are a beginner and don’t have much experience on the highway, you may want to wait to try lane splitting until you have more practice riding in heavy, fast-moving traffic. Don’t take a chance on a serious injury. Stay safe on the roads this summer.