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Do you lane split on your motorcycle? Is it safe?

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The year-round beautiful weather is one of the reasons people love Los Angeles. Unlike the motorcycle riders in other states, those in California do not have to store their bikes away during the winter months. If you are one of the many in this state who enjoy being on your motorcycle throughout the year, you have probably had your share of close calls with other, larger vehicles.

Perhaps one of the scariest moments on your bike are when you are stuck in traffic that is not moving because of construction, an accident or other reasons. You can never be sure that drivers coming up behind you are paying attention. This is one good reason for the careful use of lane splitting.

Be careful when lane splitting

Lane splitting is when you ride your motorcycle in the space between lanes with traffic on either side of you. It is legal in California, and a few other states are thinking about allowing it too. If you decide to lane split, only do so under the right conditions, and be sure to obey the laws.

While it can move you out of dangerous situations, lane splitting can be risky if you do not follow these tips offered by law enforcement:

  • Avoid lane splitting when visibility is low, such as when it is raining or dark.
  • Traveling much slower or much faster than the flow of traffic can be dangerous.
  • The faster traffic is moving, the greater your risk of accident or injury.
  • Be sure to stay visible when riding near buses, tractor-trailers or other large vehicles because drivers may not see you. 
  • Never ride on the shoulder to pass other vehicles.
  • Try to avoid riding for too long in the blind spots of other drivers.

You can follow all these precautions and still be at risk. Other drivers are not always respectful of lane splitting or even motorcycles in general. Drivers who do not realize lane splitting is legal may try to block your lane or open their car doors to prevent you from passing.

It is important to be alert for these drivers as well as drivers who may move out of their lanes because they do not expect you to be there. If you suffer injuries because of a careless driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries.

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