California is the only state where it is legal to split lanes of traffic by riding on the white, dashed line between other vehicles. Lane splitting can save a lot of time on commutes when traffic is backed up and is one of the many reasons why motorcycle riding is so popular in California, along with the year-round riding weather. It is also done to move up to the front of traffic stopped at a stop light. In a study by the Safety Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of Berkeley, researchers recently found that lane splitters were less likely to be rear-ended. However, they were more likely to rear-end another vehicle themselves. They were also more likely to be hit during weekday commutes and peak rush hour. Lane splitting should always be done with extreme caution. Follow these lane splitting guidelines to help ensure you do not end up as one of the 453 motorcyclists killed in California in 2013.
Lane Split Safely By Keeping Your Speed Differential at or Below 10 Miles Per Hour
According to the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, it is unwise to lane split at speeds higher than 10 miles per hour faster than traffic is moving. If traffic is moving at 15 miles per hour, you should be going no faster than 25 miles per hour. The bigger the speed differential, the less time you have to react to vehicles changing lanes or braking.
Do Not Lane Split When Traffic Speeds are Greater Than 30 Miles Per Hour
When you ride at 20 miles per hour, it will take you anywhere from 30 to 60 feet to even start braking or taking evasive action. Give yourself more reaction time by never splitting lanes when traffic is already going 30 miles per hour. The time it takes you to brake to a stop goes up with speed, as do the severity of injuries.
Only Split Number One and Number Two Lanes
Most other road users are not used to motorcyclists splitting the lanes towards the right of the freeway or highway. Avoid on- and off-ramp traffic by staying to the far left in lanes one and two. Also, if another motorcyclist is splitting lanes, avoid splitting a different lane then that rider because cars may swerve or move over for them as they pass.
Use Extreme Caution and Judgment When Lane Splitting
Despite following the rules of the law to the T, you can still get hit. This is true whenever you are on the roadways, and more so for motorcyclists. The risk continues to rise when you choose to lane split. Avoid an accident by only passing on larger lanes. Do not attempt to split lanes when they are narrow. Keep an eye out for vehicles that may change lanes abruptly without signaling, and always be vigilant when passing large vehicles or trucks that don’t have good visibility to their sides. If you split lanes, you need to have excellent bike handling skills, as well as intimate knowledge of your own bike’s width. Does your motorcycle have wide bars or panniers? Lastly, avoid lingering in blind spots and be cautious of grooved lines and uneven road surfaces, as rust or seems can be common in between lanes.
Protecting Your Rights as a Motorcyclist
If you have more questions about safety, your lawful rights as a motorcyclist, or if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in San Diego, Temecula, Victorville, or Oceanside, do not hesitate to call us today. At The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers, our San Diego auto accident attorneys have extensive experience with motorcycle accidents and personal injury cases.