One of the most controversial topics when it comes to sharing the road with motorcycles is lane-splitting. While many motorists are upset at the two-wheeled vehicles that speed past their windows during heavy traffic times, others feel that the maneuver is beneficial for all drivers. Lawmakers in Indiana will soon need to address the issue as states across the country take a firm stance on whether or not the practice is accepted within their boundaries.
The American Motorcyclist Association published a study performed by the University of California Berkeley about the safety and dangers of lane-splitting. After analyzing almost 6,000 collisions with motorcycles, researchers found that 997 of them involved lane-splitting. The cyclists were shown to be more likely to suffer injuries to the head and torso and more likely to be hit from behind when they remained in their lanes rather than staying between lanes.
In addition to injuries that were less serious, lane-splitting drivers were also shown to be more likely to wear full-face helmets and less likely to be intoxicated. Fatal injuries dropped from 3 percent to 1.2 percent when drivers were employing the practice and were often traveling at lower speeds than motorcyclists involved in accidents without splitting lanes.
While injury severity and risks may be lower with lane-splitting drivers, Berkeley News reports that the maneuver is still not recognized as legal in the majority of states. Lawmakers in California, which was the first state to legalize the practice, hope that increased awareness will help drivers be more alert and attentive to these motorcyclists and offer safe methods for those wishing to use lane-splitting.