Motorcyclists in California have been enjoying the fruits of lane-splitting for decades now. For a long time, lane-splitting (or the more PC and less abrasive sounding, lane-sharing or filtering) was a gray area in California law because it was neither legal nor illegal, so it was permitted, or rather tolerated so long as the practice was done safely. In 2016, however, lane-splitting became 100% legal – not without limitations, but legal nonetheless.

Following California’s suit, Arizona is the most recent state to propose legislation that would allow motorcyclists to legally lane-share, which no doubt, is one of the best perks of riding a motorcycle. The Phoenix New Times reports that Arizona State Senator David Farnsworth has introduced proposition SB 1007, which would eliminate the wording that currently prohibits lane-splitting. Additionally, SB 1007 inserts provisions to develop educational guidelines that would help regulate and make the practice as safe as possible for all parties.

Senator Farnsworth was once a motorcyclist, but hasn’t owned a bike since 1970 and says he’s not entirely convinced the practice is completely necessary. According to the New Times, he is not particularly “passionate” about the bill, but introduced the proposition after his constituents asked him to and would be more enthusiastic if he saw statistics to prove its safety.

lane-splitting

“I honestly wonder whether it’s safe,” Farnsworth told the New Times. “But I also think, man, what a practical thing for the motorcycle rider, because he’s going to get there a lot faster than I will.”

As traffic patterns continue to get worse all over our country’s cities, lane-sharing is becoming more of an attractive and viable option to reduce congestion, burn less gas and, not to mention, get people to their destinations quicker, as Senator Farnsworth pointed out.

Arizona is not the only state to propose the legalization of lane-splitting, as it joins Washington (SB 5378) and Oregon (SB 385) in the fight to allow the practice, but so far none have passed the legislation into law. As difficult as it may be to legalize lane-sharing in the U.S., the practice is commonplace in most other parts of the world, particularly in the highly urbanized areas of Europe and Asia. However, the motorist culture is admittedly very different here in America. And the same driving culture varies greatly from state to state and city to city, making the legalization of lane-sharing a case-by-case process.

lane-splitting

Most of us remain hopeful that lane-sharing will one day be commonplace in as many states that take it into consideration as possible. After all, as recent elections go to show, we all have a voice, and if we all speak up loud enough, we can be heard. Recent studies from the University of California Berkeley demonstrate that lane-sharing is in fact a safer and more effective riding technique that can be beneficial to riders so long as it’s executed responsibly. Here are some of the study’s key findings:

  • Lane-splitting is safe if done in traffic moving at 50 mph or less, and if motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 mph.
  • 69 percent of lane-splitting motorcyclists were exceeding the traffic speed by 15 mph or less; speed differentials up to 15 mph were not associated with changes in the frequency of injury.
  • Compared to riders who were not splitting lanes, lane-splitting motorcyclists were markedly less likely to suffer head injury (9 percent vs. 17 percent), torso injury (19 percent vs. 29 percent) or fatal injury (1.2 percent vs. 3 percent).
  • Lane-splitting riders were significantly less likely to be rear-ended than non-lane-splitting riders (2.6 percent vs. 4.6 percent).
  • Lane-splitting motorcyclists were more likely to be wearing a full-face helmet than other motorcyclists (81 percent vs. 67 percent).
  • Compared to other motorcyclists, lane-splitting riders were more often riding on weekdays and during commuting hours, were using better helmets and were traveling at slower speeds.
  • Lane-splitting riders were less likely to have been using alcohol.

You can read the full report here, though the findings above are thought-provoking nonetheless, but we will let you come to your own conclusions. One thing to consider, however, is that these studies were conducted in California, where not only is lane-sharing legal, the use of a helmet is mandatory as well. It’s obviously unknown how drivers in other states, unaccustomed to motorcyclists sharing their lane, would react and how helmetless riders would skew the accident / injury reports. Only time will tell…

lane-splitting

On January 8th, just two days ago, another bill, SB 1015, was introduced by Arizona Senator John Kavanagh which aims to achieve the same goal as SB 1007. The difference, however, is that SB 1015 would require riders to wear a helmet if they choose to lane-split. We don’t know where the AMA stands on SB 1007, however they would likely be against SB 1015 due to their support of motorcyclists’ rights to not have to legally wear a helmet in states where it isn’t required, Arizona being one of them. Both bills go up for vote later this month.

All in all, the benefits of legalizing lane-sharing reach further than just getting you to your destination quicker than sitting in a car. Hopefully when, not if, lane-sharing becomes legal and more commonplace around America, it will create more interest and become more appealing for people to learn to ride motorcycles, which in the end would benefit us all, but only if we do it responsibly.

As always, be safe and be smart out there.

  • I cannot imagine Florida drivers ever supporting the idea that a motorcycle should get any special privileges in traffic. Our legislature is still trying to figure out why we voted for medical marijuana more than a year ago despite the fact their gerrymandered backsides don’t approve of our vote and thus they refuse to implement it. Lane splitting? Never happen here.

    • Stephen Zorn

      Grew up in Florida, live in California. Lane splitting is so much safer than sitting in the lane and hoping the care behind you finishes their texting before slamming into you. Gets you there faster and lowers your blood pressure due to the ability to keep moving even when everyone else is stopped. Sure hope you get in the Sunshine State.

    • Gail

      G-o-ogle is paying $97 per hour,wi-t-h weekly payo-u-ts.You can also ava-i-l this.
      O-n t-u-esday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comforta-b-le job I have ever done .. It sou-n-ds unbelie-v-able but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      !gb155d:
      >>>
      >>>> http://GoogleNewAlertNetJobsOpportunity/simple/work ♥♥c♥♥u♥♥d♥♥u♥♥d♥♥y♥♥r♥♥b♥♥b♥♥d♥♥z♥♥n♥♥k♥♥a♥♥i♥♥k♥♥g♥♥c♥♥f♥♥h♥♥q♥♥a♥♥f♥♥i♥♥d:::::!gb155lhuhuh

    • Prakasit

      Motorcycles filter through so you don’t have to get stuck behind one and smell their exhaust. The motorcyclists get to where they are going faster. The cars get to where they are going may be a tiny bit faster. I don’t see the problem.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        The problem is that car drivers in the U.S. are not used to having a motorcycle in the same lane. They feel they have to keep watching their rear view mirrors to see if any motorcycles are coming. In their mind it is dangerous to have a motorcycle in-between cars. The safety margin is significantly reduced. When traffic is moving at 30 mph or higher, cars need the leeway to be able to move right or left without being obstructed by a motorcycle.

        • Ian Parkes

          “They feel they have to keep watching their rear view mirrors to see if any motorcycles are coming.” Really? This is what US drivers are doing? I don’t believe that for a second. Even in countries where it’s legal, very few drivers spare any brain space for motorcycles coming from behind. Nor do they have to. It’s nice if some do spot you and give you more room but most of the time their awareness is irrelevant. It’s up to the overtaking vehicle – the rider to choose a safe path. By the time most car drivers are aware of him or her, the bike rider is past and gone.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Yes, but it scares them so much that they end up doing that just out of nervousness. They don’t want to accidentally hit or kill a motorcyclist that they didn’t see.

      • There isn’t a problem. I love lane splitting, I’ve done it in Europe and California but the attitude of Florida drivers is dreadful. And yes they are stupid so telling them it will work for them won’t work. I hope I can be proved wrong.

    • WalterFeldman

      They will once they’re educated to understand that when motorcycles can lane-split, the lines of traffic get shorter for everyone.

  • QuestionMark666

    The added helmet requirement killed a similar bill a few years ago in Texas when all the ‘Bikers’ refused to back this because they would have to wear a helmet.

    • Joe Smith

      And it’s a shame, as my car has to have ABS, antilock brakes and stability control, but I don’t even have to wear a helmet on my penis rocket. Wear the helmet, let me lane split. Give me liberty or give me a nap!

      • Jon Jones

        Post more stuff, Joe!

    • john burns

      exactly. And that’s why the AMA won’t back it either. Not sure who the AMA is afraid to offend by backing mandatory helmets, but it is costing thousands and thousands of motorcycle sales in megalopolises where people might buy bikes to be able to lane share.

      • Does California have higher bike-per-capita rates than Texas or Florida?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The ‘Bikers’ are not refusing to wear a helmet. They are just saying that it is not the government’s job to force people to wear a helmet. The purpose of helmet laws is to force young riders on fast sport bikes to wear a helmet, but mature and experienced ‘Bikers’ are getting shackled with the same law. Also what is the purpose of linking lane sharing with forced helmet laws? They should be separate issues. People who don’t want lane sharing are linking the two together so neither will get passed.

      • QuestionMark666

        I want a helmet requirement nationwide.
        Helmet laws do not target young sport bike riders, they prevent the stupidity of old know it alls.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Why do you care if the “stupid old know it alls” wear a helmet or not? How does it affect your life?

          • QuestionMark666

            The helmet doesn’t but the anti-social image ‘Bikers’ project has hurt all of the motorcycle industry and part of why Millennial shun motorcycles. That part of motorcycling has for too long defined motorcycle rights and I don’t want to be represented by groups like CoC and ABATE.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            So how is a helmet requirement nationwide going to change that?

          • QuestionMark666

            It will diminish the power of the biker cult and maybe bring motorcycle into broader acceptance.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            So you just want it because the “biker cult” doesn’t want it, despite the fact that such a law may eventually damage motorcycling?

          • QuestionMark666

            California is the ONLY healthy market currently for motorcycle sales in the US. Almost all of the nation’s top volume dealers are there. I know that the reason is because motorcyclists in CA are allowed lane sharing and faster commutes. That makes a motorcycle a useful tool.
            CA has a universal helmet law.

            Helmet laws do not harm motorcycle sales, they probably are more likely to help make motorcycle ownership more mainstream.

            Yes, I believe ‘Bikers’ are harmful to the industry and I would like to see them marginalized.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            The people of each state can decide whether they want a helmet law or not. The federal government does not have to get into it. Just like highway speed limits are decided by each state according to its own conditions. At the federal level you are opening the door to more and more laws being passed which will ultimately make motorcycling so “safe”, you wouldn’t want to ride anymore. Learn from the NRA.

      • major tom

        What!? ‘Bikers’ do refuse to wear helmets because helmets are so not cool. How can one look manly and tough wearing something that hides their hunky loveliness?

      • Ian Parkes

        I’m so tired of people ‘just saying’ that. If there’s anything that doesn’t need repeating it is libertarian tropes. It actually is the govt’s job to set a working framework for its citizens, to protect people, even from themselves which includes taking sensible precautions against obvious risks. It’s no different to the seatbelt law. The only difference is, in the US, there’s stubborn little group who insist on their ‘right’ to wear the uniform of Harley, leather and grey ponytail waving in the breeze, to identify themselves as rugged individualists.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          And why does it bother you?

  • Rob Alexander

    YES! YES! YES! This also alleviates sitting in traffic overheating in the summer – big deal if you ride year round as I do, even when it’s 115 out.

    -Motorcyclist in AZ

  • Joe Smith

    I admit to doing this on the rare occasion, but only in stop and go traffic. And this is in Texas where the lesson teachers are known to try to kill you for horrible infractions, such as passing a slow moving cage in a no passing zone. Mr Crumb please take a bow, from your prison cell. I welcome the ticket I might get and have already been developing my arguments for traffic court. Jury nullification is a real possibility I suppose, but I dream of case in the Texas Supreme Court. Then maybe this will be a reality in my great State of Texas.

  • cage free

    I live in Ca and because of traffic split every time i ride. If you use your head and don’t ride like a squid its safe and saves time. Shouldn’t even be an issue, should be up to the rider.

  • Michael Paul

    The more the better.

  • Don Orton

    Washington’s bill might have a chance. Oregon’s bill is iffy. Neither of Arizona’s bills will make it out of committee.

  • kenneth_moore

    Lane Splitting is one of the very few practical, day to day benefits of riding a motorcycle. There’s probably thousands of riders in Cali who ride for just that reason. I do it in FL when traffic backs up and it’s a godsend.

    If I were a motorcycle manufacturer or m/c dealer association, I’d be lobbying the state legislatures to get lane splitting approved in every state. Or I’d take it to Congress to have it enacted on a national level.

    • Old MOron

      I recall reading a story, pretty sure it was right here on MO, about how Piaggio was going to lobby for lane sharing in the US. I guess they decided not to, after all.

    • txjames

      US Consitution 10th Amendment. Let’s keep driving laws where they belong, within the states.

      The right way to do this isn’t a law that says “Lane Splitting is okay” but rather within the existing lane use rules, have motorcycles be an exception. The reason is we don’t want a fabric of laws that tells us things are okay to do; that is the opposite of Freedom. Laws should be written to prohibit, not permit activity.

  • Arizona is a conservative state, but conservatives, for some reason HATE lane splitting. This will die a quiet death. But thanks Sen. Farnsworth for being a hopeful, open-minded guy.

    • Larry Kahn
    • Travis Donald Stanley

      Agreed.
      AZ was the last of the lower 48 States to join the Union.
      This will never happen. Maybe in a generation or so when MCs are hybrid and electric and less SQUIDS about.

    • major tom

      What!? I’m conservative and so are my MC friends. Ever hear of the motto live and let live? Conservative to the core. Do no harm can and should include lane splitting. Lane splitting was started in CA during a much more conservative era, I’m old enough to remember. You?

      • Lane splitting was not “started” by anyone in CA! Just never banned. Anyway, 32 states have GOP-controlled legislatures and 33 have GOP governors. So why is CA, one of just 7 Dem-controlled states, the only place you can legally lane split?

        • major tom

          It’s a miracle. Inertia counts for something too. 120 years ago? Did they have bikes then? I’m just 77, like Trump I’ve got good genes I guess. My grand dad was featured in Riply’s believe or not: at the time he was the oldest person to get a pilot’s license at 92. Here’s hoping!

          • I remember reading about your grampa, I think! Awesome! Anyway, motorcycles have been a thing in California since at least 1904, when the San Francisco Motorcycle Club was founded.

            http://www.sf-mc.org/

            So if you can remember a time before motorcycles, you’d have to be older than 120.

            As far as I know (I’d love to see proof to the contrary), it’s never been illegal to lane split in the Golden State. We may be communists, but we’re sensible communists.

            Cheers.

          • major tom

            I’m embarrassed and mortified and can’t let an untruth float around attributed to me. I checked with the family historian thinking about this. My grandad was 86 at obtaining his license. Happy and safe splitting.

  • Don Silvernail

    We need this in AZ why? Oh yes, because we have so many mega cities with 10 lane roads. Of all the states where this might fly because of a real need, AZ certainly seems pretty low on the list. None of the people recently moved from Cali. should be allowed to vote on this. And how many cars are going to be going enough under the speed limit that I can pass them going 15mph faster without speeding? Pretending there’s an invisible lane in between the two actual lanes for me to pass is a stretch. Pretending those two trucks on either side of me also see (and respect) that pretend lane requires more faith than I have as a biker here.

    • john burns

      Phoenix is 5th largest city in America according to Wiki.

    • Matt F

      Because it alleviates traffic and is safer for riders. It isn’t meant to overtake cars traveling 65-85mph or whatever your local flow is. This lets you keep rolling between cars during a traffic backup so you don’t get crushed between two clueless Nissan Rogue crossovers.

    • Right, you can’t or don’t want to do it, so NOBODY should be allowed to do it.

      • johnbutnotforgotten

        actually, if they make it legal and you want to do it, why not. But you might want to do it based on actually research, not on one, possibly inaccurate, interpretation of statistics.
        that doesn’t mean there aren’t situations where all the traffic is stopped where i don’t get tempted.
        until i remind myself that in my jurisdiction, its illegal, and why do i think i’m so special compared to the guy in the Nissan Leaf who may actually be doing something about the future of the planet.
        Oh right, i’m riding a Zero.

    • therr850

      You don’t want to do it, don’t. It will be allowed, not mandated. As with all things motorcycle riding, it takes your full concentration and attention at all times.

    • johnbutnotforgotten

      i was somewhat sarcastically going to ask if Arizona had traffic.

      • Grandad

        Hi all as a biker in the UK I have been reading this with interest. yes, its true we can filter here, but this is a low speed activity, usually when the lines of cars are stationary. If I was to lane split cars traveling at 50mph (as mentioned above) I would be open to a charge of careless or dangerous driving and probably enjoying hospital food! A few nutters do do it but do not last long. Filtering is a great benefit but only when the traffic stops or is crawling along (otherwise, why bother?). As another point, our roads are really narrow. The picture of the free way above shows very wide lanes. The biggest barrier to filtering here is the BMW GS rider who holds up all the other bikes as his bike is just too wide to get through the gaps.

        • Ian Parkes

          Agreed. Do it all the time here in NZ. Biggest barrier here too are riders who don’t want to take the gap but sit right on it just in case they change their minds.
          And great point too about the width of the lanes0. Most drivers seem to assume that if a car is sitting in a lane it is full. The whole point is there’s plenty of room to share. (They just don’t want to.)

    • Eric

      You don’t seem to have been stuck in traffic on the 101, 51, 202, I-10, or 1-17 freeways in Phoenix during rush hour…

    • Ian Parkes

      No, you are wrong about that. Anyone disgagreeing with ME should not be allowed to vote.

    • Every single day I sit in traffic on I10 doing single digit speeds, in the HOV lane, for miles. What roads do you travel on here in AZ? The wide gap between the HOV lane and the #2 lane is perfect for lane splitting. So much so that people do it now, illegally, mostly in the summer.

  • Uncommon Sense

    They need to spin lane sharing as a green initiative. Legal lane splitting will do more to encourage people to get out of cars than anything else. When people in congested cities can see they could legally cut their commutes in half just by getting on a bike, more will then start to see motorcycles/scooters as legit forms of commuting.

    • Old MOron

      Agreed.
      But it’s not spin. It’s just common (in this case uncommon) sense.

    • Eric

      That’ll guarantee it doesn’t pass in Arizona. The legislature is far more conservative than the public here. Unfortunately, nobody but the true believers votes.

    • Ian Parkes

      Exactly. Each convert to a bike is one less car so that’s a shorter queue on the freeway for every car driver.

  • MyName

    Typical legislature discussion of lane splitting:
    -Legislator 1: So, let’s talk about lane splitting.
    -Legislator 2: That sounds dangerous.
    -Legislator 1: Yes it does. DENIED.
    (Note: Neither Legislator owns or has ever ridden a motorcycle.)

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Motorcycles are dangerous.

      • Campi the Bat

        Background knowledge and experience is important, though. A gun instructor and an ageing hippie will both tell you that guns are dangerous, but only one of them likely knows what they’re talking about.

        • Born to Ride

          I’m gonna steal that line. Thank you.

          • Campi the Bat

            You’re welcome!

        • Ian Parkes

          Oh yes, guns and their impact are faaar too complicated for a hippie to understand. What trite rubbish.

  • johnbutnotforgotten

    I’ve always had an issue with lane splitting in any situation where the traffic is moving. Given that a collision is a sudden loss of space between two or more objects, any time you give up space you increase the risk of collisions.
    As to why motorcyclists should be given a perk not available to other other drivers, lets look at the claims in article.
    Motorcycles contribute less to congestion: possibly true as they are smaller, but if you are riding solo you take up almost as much linear lane space as a car.
    Motorcycles use less gas: not so sure. until recently the biggest selling sections of the market were 600cc sport bikes and cruisers with engines bigger than my car, both of which use more gas than hybrids (would it be ok to allow a Prius to drive up the center of a group of motorcyclists, as long as the speed difference was less than 15 mph? I didn’t think so)
    Motorcyclists splitting lanes are less likely to be injured than those who dont: Is this stat based on injuries per mile ridden while splitting lanes vs not splitting lanes or purely on injuries per situation? (splitting vs not splitting) If its based purely on injuries per situation it may just mean fewer people split lanes than don’t. (exposure increases likelihood)
    People splitting lanes are less likely to get rear-ended: true (although in BC motorcycles getting rear ended has typically been a low % (at least in BC, although USDT stats seem to back this up, at least for fatal crashes)
    Having more people riding would benefit us all: My biggest fear in traffic is other riders, as they are actually more likely to disrespect my space. And this is in BC where over 60% of new riders take professional rider training, which usually includes in-traffic training. Its also a Province where lane splitting (even with other motorcycles) is illegal.
    In situations where the bike can stop in less than a car length (under 20 mph for trained riders, considerably less for those who still think the front brake will cause you to go over the bars and ABS is for sissy’s) lane filtering may be no more hazardous than any other form of riding in traffic (which is already 15 times as likely to get you involved in a crash as driving a car according to RCMP and ICBC stats in BC)

    • Old MOron

      Read the study. It’s pretty conclusive. Lane splitting is safer.

      • therr850

        Really smart people don’t need to be confused by facts. Ask the donald.

      • johnbutnotforgotten

        Did, actually (its kinda what i get paid for).
        unfortunately, I didn’t see a claim in the review that lane splitting produced fewer collisions.
        all I saw was an indication that people who are lane splitting do it when traffic is going slower (makes sense. Why would you need to lane split if there wasn’t heavy traffic congestion) and people who crash when they are going slower don’t get hurt as bad (kind of a no-brainer). Although i can tell you that totalling a Chevy Citation with your bike at 30 mph hurts like hell (would you like crushed nuts on that Sunday, sir?)
        If they actually compared people who lane split during heavy traffic and people who dont lane split during heavy traffic, per mile ridden, where the median crash speed was similar, then they would have a valid comparison.
        Or if they even gave some indication whether people who were lane splitting had fewer crashes per mile ridden (maybe i missed it)
        i did find it interesting that people who lane split wear better helmets and seem to think a lot about their positioning, which may imply that they are actually smarter, more conscientious riders.
        There were some confusing sections in the survey responses, however. For instance if they are, as they claim “placing themselves in open sections of roadways” then by definition they aren’t lane splitting.
        The review does point out that people who lane split are more than twice as likely to rear end another vehicle (38% vs 16%. again, bit of a no-brainer) but almost half as likely to be rear ended (2.6% vs 4.6%. also). Of course, it also indicated that you are 8 times as likely to rear end someone as to be rear ended whether you lane split or not (which tends to indicate that motorcyclists in general may still believe the myth that they can stop faster than people in cars) and that this likelihood goes up as speed goes up (damn physics). Did i mention that the best way to avoid a sudden loss of space was to maintain more space?
        The conclusion that lane splitting is safer based on this review reminds me a bit of the conclusion that it’s safer to ride during a snow storm because more motorcyclists are killed on clear summer evenings that during snow storms (trust me on this one. riding at night in a snow storm. scary as hell. But, the things you do when you are young and poor and don’t own a car).
        It actually just means a lot fewer people ride during snow storms than clear summer nights, so the exposure rate is way lower. (and some of us who were that stupid got lucky)

        • Old MOron

          Wow, I’ll try to keep up.
          Let’s start with your last analogy, that riding in a snow storm is safer because fewer accidents happen in the snow. You correctly point out that of course there are fewer accidents because there are much fewer riders.

          But that analogy does not apply to the Berkley study. In the study, they did not just count the collisions. If you look at the bottom of Table 1, you’ll see they calculated the rate. Of the riders who were involved in a collision 82.4 % were not lane splitting. Only 16.7% of the collisions occurred while riders where splitting.

          So the collision rate is much lower for riders who split. Additionally, when splitting riders are involved in a collision, they’re “considerably less likely to suffer head injury, torso injury, extremity injury, and fatal injury than riders who were not lane-splitting,” as tabulated in Table 12.

          So both the rate of collisions and the severity of injury are much lower for riders who split lanes. This doesn’t answer questions of causation. As you point out riders who split tend to wear better helmets. Better helmets may explain the reduced rate of head injury, but it doesn’t not explain the overall reduction in the rate of collisions.

          In any case, no study is perfect. But given that of the nearly 6,000 collisions that were studied, 82.4% of them happened while the rider was not late splitting, I’ll continue to split lanes.

          • johnbutnotforgotten

            Yes but agsin, 82% of collision may occur when people arent lane splitting because 82% of the time motorcyclists arent lane splitting

            Sent from my LTe

            ——– Original message ——–

          • Old MOron

            Even if it were true that riders don’t split lanes 82% of the time, that would show that the collision rate is proportional to the amount of time riders lane split. In other words, it would show that splitting is no more dangerous than not splitting.

            But I don’t think that’s the case. If that were true, you would expect the great majority of the collisions to have happened on Saturday and Sunday, when riders are the least likely to split lanes. But the data show otherwise.

            Look at Table 2. Saturday and Sunday account for only 37% of the collisions among riders who don’t split. That’s about 8% more than you would expect if collisions were evenly distributed across days, but 8% is a far cry from 82%.

          • johnbutnotforgotten

            Could be a good point.
            One would expect that if most riders are recreational, more riders would be on the road on weekends than during the week, thus increasing exposure, but perhaps commuters are a bigger percentage of riders in California than here in the great wet north.
            The lower rate of weekend crashes may also just mean that lower traffic density decreases the likelihood of crashes.
            As to the lower severity of lane splitting injuries, i think i addressed that in my last note.
            The review points out that the typical crash speed during lane splitting was much lower, and impact force decreases in proportion to the square of the decrease in crash speed (there’s that damn physics again) so if you are going, on average, 1/2 as fast, your impact force is going to be 1/4 as high (thus fewer injuries)
            One thing that puzzled me was the higher rate of neck injuries during crashes when lane splitting (that and extremity injuries were the only areas where injury rates were higher for people splitting lanes).
            Perhaps, like the higher rate of extremity injuries, its a result of lateral impacts, ,e.g. being sideswiped; and the neck injury rate may also be a result the higher rate of rear ending other vehicles.
            Looked at Ouellet when it came out as part of my research on its potential for use as part of approved motorcycle training curricula in BC, but i’ll have to read it again as i”ve forgotten most of it.
            I note that the study he contributed too most recently will be released this year.
            I also have a copy of the MAIDS report (http://www.maids-study.eu/) on research done in the EU that it would be worth re-reading (lane filtering has been practiced for decades in Europe).
            As to whether or not people choose to split lanes, it’s their decision to make (it’s not legal in my jurisdiction which makes the decision easier for me).
            However I do believe that making the decision based on a clear understanding of the potential risks and benefits makes the practice safer.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Thank you for your chapter length comments, but the discussion is about lane splitting on U.S. highways in AZ, not RCMP in BC where they don’t even let you ride next to a motorcycle. How can you talk about something you have never done? I have been lane splitting for 10 years and 160,000 miles with no issues whatsoever for myself or anybody else. All the issues you raise apply to motorcycling just as much as to lane splitting so you should not even ride a motorcycle. Enjoy your car.

      • johnbutnotforgotten

        so you’re saying i cant comment on anything i haven’t done.
        Like molesting children, or physically abusing my spouse. our serial killing, or jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
        Dont think so.
        You dont have to do something to comment on whether a particular statistical reviews’ conclusions about it are justified based on the review.
        My comments were about the review (the actual topic of discussion) and my analysis is based on my 40 years working full time in motorcycle safety (interestingly, according to the review, most people who lane split haven’t even been breathing for 40 years)
        And why do you assume i haven’t used lane filtering. I’ve ridden on the street in two provinces, 5 states and 4 countries for 47 years (most of those years and countries i didn’t own a car) and close to 1 million miles (although i will admit to not using lane filtering very much after i started working in the motorcycle safety field for the aforementioned reasons).
        By the way, in BC, motorcyclists are allowed to ride side by side (MVA sec, 194(10)) and all the police forces do it (they also have a bad habit of running in to each other.)

        • Sayyed Bashir

          So you are saying that lane splitting is the same as molesting children, physically abusing your spouse, serial killing, or jumping out of a plane without a parachute? You make a great motorcycle safety instructor.

          • johnbutnotforgotten

            Actually, what i said was i didnt need to do something to have the right to comment on its value, and i used some examples of things i (and probably you) dont do that we can have valid opinions on.
            but as you seemed to be more interested in personal attacks and anger than actual discussion, arguing the point is, in fact, probably pointless.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Nothing personal. My point is that you are writing chapter length diatribes denouncing lane sharing (which is not even allowed in your province) based on statistical reports whereas most motorcyclists in CA who commute, lane share on a daily basis without incident and many even bought a motorcycle for that reason. And you keep saying you have been “working full time in motorcycle safety for 40 years”. Doing what? Are you a motorcycle safety instructor? How can you instruct people in motorcycle safety and equate lane sharing to all the horrible things you mentioned? All the dangers of lane sharing you describe also apply to motorcycle riding in general, so why even ride a motorcycle? That’s why I said you should ride a car and tell everyone else to do the same.

          • johnbutnotforgotten

            What horrible things did i equate lane splitting with?
            The only thing i specifically said about lane splitting was, if you choose to split lanes, then you choose to give up space, and that may compromise the amount of time you have to react to other people infringing on your space.
            period.
            end of story.
            Most of my discussion with Old MORon was not about lane splitting, it was about whether the UC Berkeley study supported the supposition that lane splitting is safer than not lane splitting (even the authors of the study admit it mostly indicates that going slower decreases crash rates and crash severity, so lane splitting becomes safer the slower the traffic is going. Physicists, Europeans and Asians have known this for decades)
            And most of my discussion with you has not been about lane splitting, but about whether i should comment of things i don’t do or haven’t done (which is completely separate from the discussion on lane splitting, which we never actually seem to get too)
            You are correct that most of the hazards involved in lane splitting apply to all riding, but as all rider training programs point out (not just mine) the more space you maintain, the more time you have to react to potential hazards, so lane splitting may increase the inherent hazards as it severely decreases the amount of time you will have to react.
            Whether you choose to split lanes, and at what traffic speeds, is largely a matter of your personal risk tolerance.
            My risk tolerance may be lower than yours because in 47 years of using a motorcycle as my primary (sometimes only) means of transportation, i have totaled a brand new car with my motorcycle (big ouch) T boned another that did a U turn directly in front of me without warning and as part of my job i have done crash analysis on a number of fatal motorcycle crashes or crashes that resulted in court cases.
            At some point my risk tolerance may be so low i quit riding.
            For instance I don’t ride in snow anymore, at least not on the street, and i don’t ride if its dark and raining (dark, yes. raining, yes. but not both, because at my age i need almost 10 times as much light to see as i did when i was 25)
            But if i do decide to quit riding (a Clint Eastwood quote comes to mind here) that will be my decision to make (or, legally, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles if i’m too stupid to figure it out on my own).

          • major tom

            I’m lane splitting, picture that, and ahead of me and behind me there is much, much more empty space. And further more my safety is more in MY hands. I’ll worry less about the distracted moron texting behind me because he’s NOT!

          • Ian Parkes

            I’m not convinced by your less space and physics argument – not arguing with physics, obviously, but how they are applied. I just don’t accept that all space is equally relevant. You might have more space fore and aft when following in the lane than side to side when lane-splitting, but you have space where it matters. If the car in front of you stops suddenly, you are far more likely to collide with it, than if you are beside the vehicle. Yes you might only be two feet away laterally but the space ahead of you could be empty for miles, as as that’s your vector that’s all that matters.

          • johnbutnotforgotten

            Although interestingly, the UC Berkeley study found that one place lane splitting had crash rates significantly higher than people who weren’t lane splitting was rear ending other vehicles (apparently, when you are that close, if the other guy starts to change lanes, you don”t have time to react, even if your closing speed is only 15 mph (about 4 mps, or one car length per second)

  • Eric

    Just sent letters of support to both senators; fingers crossed!

  • allworld

    When you consider that studies have shown converting just 10% of 4 wheel vehicles to 2 wheel vehicles you reduce congestion by approx. 40%. Municipalities should be doing everything they can to encourage two wheel commuting. Consider parking issues facing most cities, again get people out of their cars an on motorcycles..
    At minimum there should be “motorcycle only” lanes on freeways, similar to bicycle only lanes, where filtering is not allowed.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The carpool lanes in CA are effectively “motorcycle only” lanes during rush hour (at least in the morning) because most people are going to work by themselves in their car and can’t get in the carpool lane. That’s why I got my Harley 10 years ago. I consider the carpool lane my own private lane.