Lawmakers recently passed a bill that could make riding a motorcycle in California much safer than before. Motorcycle accident fatalities are rising in California, but, if approved, the proposed bill would make so-called lane splitting legal. Experts and riders seem to agree that lane splitting would increase the safety for both motorcyclists and the drivers of larger motor vehicles.
Lane splitting — which is the act of driving a motorcycle between cars — is technically neither legal nor illegal, but rather a murky are of the law. However, this gray area allows for some motorcyclists to act unsafely when lane splitting. Legalizing the practice would create safety guidelines that police would be able to monitor, creating what many believe would be a safer environment for everyone on the road.
Many motorcyclists credit lane splitting with making them more visible to other drivers, an issue that is commonly blamed for serious car accidents. One area motorcycle rider noted that he feels much safer when lane splitting. The controversial move not only makes him more visible but also decreases the likelihood of being struck by a car from behind.
Motorcycle accident fatalities shot up 12.1 percent between the years 2013 and 2014, and even non-fatal motorcycle wrecks are rising. The bill that would legalize and set safety parameters around the practice of lane splitting could potentially decrease the number of accidents and minimize related deaths, although none of that can happen until the bill is officially made into a law. Until then, injured motorcyclists and their families in California can still hold negligent drivers responsible for accidents and the related damages that they cause.
Source: abc7news.com, “CA could formally legalize lane splitting for motorcycle riders“, Elissa Harrington, Aug. 6, 2016