Some recent researches have confirmed what many bike riders have known for years.
Lane splitting or riding in between lanes of traffic will save a lot of time of the riders, but it is also safer than sitting in traffic and behaving like a car. Many drivers think that it will speed up the traffic for everyone on the road.
It is time for some drivers to understand that lane splitting is queue jumping, and motorcycle riders should have to wait in line just like the rest of the drivers, because riding in between cars is suicidal. It is illegal in most of the US, it is accepted in many other countries in the world, and mounting that lane splitting is safer for the bike riders and it can benefit the car drivers and bike riders.
Safety benefits for the motorcycle riders
One of the most important arguments against lane splitting is that it seems like a dangerous practice in the driver’s eyes. But from the perspective of the rider, this could not be further from the truth.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most common type of traffic accident on the road is a rear-ender and it makes up 40% of all accidents happened in the United States. With the splitting lane, riders will be able to put a shell of stopped or slow traffic around their motorcycles and protect against the inattention of other road vehicles.
In one new Berkeley study that was made with the California Highway Patrol’s assistance, were examined 7,836 motorcycle crashes closely, and some 1,163 of these crashes have happened while the bike rider was lane splitting.
Those riders who were splitting at the moment of the accident, were less likely to be injured than those who were not: 45% fewer head injuries, 32% fewer torso injuries, 21% fewer neck injuries, 55% fewer fatalities and 12% fewer arm/leg injuries.
This is quite possibly because most of those splitting accidents usually have occurred at speeds between 1 and 30 miles per hour or 50 km/h. Some other data shows that the safest way to do the lane split is to drive at less than 30 miles per hour, and less than 10 miles per hour above the speed of the surrounding traffic. Injury rates leap up in all categories when these conditions are violated.
Benefits for other road users
Lane splitting is an unspoken contract between drivers and riders. Riders don’t wait for stopped cars, and they don’t make the cars wait for them. Many drivers are wrong when they see the lane splitting like “queue jumping” that will cause every car to go one further spot back in the line. A filtering bike disappears from the line altogether, the motorcycle only holds up a car when it sits in traffic and behaves like another car.
Filtering bikes go to the front of stopped traffic at red lights, and accelerate away much quicker than the surrounding cars. When they stand at the next stop, they again disappear between the lanes and no car is held up in traffic.
This is a great deal for the rider that arrives earlier than the driver of a car. But every filtering motorcycle rider has a positive effect on the traffic flow and that is great for every other motorist. One 2012 Belgian study discovers that if only 10% of drivers were to swap to motorcycles and filter through traffic, the time of travelling for the remaining car drivers would decrease by some 8 minutes per trip. This great benefit would not exist if bike riders ignored the inherent advantages of their smaller and narrowed vehicle and sat in the line just like the cars.
This study also has found important environmental benefits of lane splitting. That is not because motorcycles emit less carbon, but because every motorcycle that lane splits actively decreases the amount of time that every other vehicle spends in traffic jams.
Next time when some rider wriggles past you in traffic, that is a win-win combination. The rider is saving money and time, and taking care of their own safety, but also they make the journey of everyone faster. So, for your own sake, give them so space.