There are some states in the United States in which motorcycle lane splitting is not explicitly forbidden. However, California is currently the only state where it is officially legal. While there are both pros and cons to this practice, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
What Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting?
This practice involves a motorcycle sharing a lane with other vehicles that are on the roadway. The motorcyclist drives between the other vehicles, rather than behind or in front of the other vehicles.
The Benefits Of Motorcycle Lane Splitting
The primary benefits of lane sharing are the safety aspects of this practice. One of the most important examples is the way lane sharing increases the visibility of both motorcycle riders and other drivers. This aspect alone can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
First, the motorcycle rider can clearly see what is in front of, behind, and around him. His ability to see is not impaired by vehicles that may block his vision. This can result in sensible safety precautions, and safer riding. The rider has the opportunity to react quickly and appropriately to situations he encounters.
Second, lane sharing also makes it easier for other drivers to see motorcycles on the roadways. When motorcyclists must drive behind or in front of cars and trucks, the cars and trucks themselves can prevent the drivers from seeing the motorcycles. Whether a motorcycle is moving ahead, turning, or stopped, the driver of a car or truck may not see it until an accident has occurred.
Although safety for all drivers is the main factor, there is also the issue of highway congestion. Motorcyclists who do not have the option of sharing lanes can take up a considerable amount of space on the roadways. In areas where traffic is dense, this can result in inconvenience for all drivers. When drivers are impatient, this can increase the risk of accidents and road rage.
The Drawbacks Of Motorcycle Lane Splitting
While there are few drawbacks, some drawbacks do exist that must be noted.
One example is the driver of a car or truck who does not realize this practice is valid. If a driver does not know a motorcyclist can split lanes, he may react improperly. He may cause an accident that is unintentional, or even intentional.
A second drawback involves motorcyclists who are irresponsible with their driving. This can include new drivers, as well as longtime motorcyclists who do not understand the need to drive responsibly. Motorcyclists who are too confident in their abilities often take unnecessary risks. Not only can this put their own safety in danger, but the safety of everyone on the roadway as well.
What Is The Best Solution?
Many people who ride motorcycles believe sharing lanes should be legal throughout the United States, including the states where they live. The practice can make motorcycle riding easier, safer, and more convenient. The increased visibility, ease in stopping, and ability to arrive at a destination on time show why riders favor this practice. The benefits of splitting extend to every driver on the highway.
Education is the way to make it the best solution. If the practice is legalized, it must be incorporated into every motorcycle safety course. Drivers of cars and trucks must be educated about their own rights and responsibilities, in addition to the rights and responsibilities of motorcyclists.
Ease and convenience are important to every driver, regardless of the particular vehicle he or she operates. However, the most important benefit of motorcycle lane splitting is that it can prevent accidents and save lives. It is a practice that should be legal everywhere.