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In California, lane-splitting is determined legal and safe

Lane-splitting has always been a controversial topic when it comes to the safety of motorcycle riders and other drivers. In September, California made history by making the practice formally acceptable, something no other state had done, according to the Los Angeles Times.


The formalization of lane-splitting became necessary when the California Highway Patrol was criticized after publishing strategies for safe use of the maneuver in 2015. Before this time it was accepted, but not considered illegal or legal. After complaints were filed from citizens who disagreed with the agency’s promotion of the practice, the state Assembly voted on whether or not the make the move legal and passed it 69-0.


Despite the complaints that lane-splitting is unsafe, Cycle World recently reported on studies that prove the opposite. The University of California Berkeley analyzed 997 collisions that occurred while riders were splitting lanes in almost 6,000 total accidents between motorcycles and cars to determine how dangerous the practice truly is. They found that accidents involving the practice were more likely to end without injuries to the head and torso of the riders. In addition, it was shown to possibly prevent motorcycles from being hit from behind.


Despite the reckless, dangerous image that lane-splitting presents, drivers who routinely use this maneuver were actually shown to be more likely to wear a full-face helmet, traveled at slower speeds and were less likely to be intoxicated at the time of the crash. They suffered fewer torso and head injuries and were less likely to be killed in an accident.

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