The topic of lane-splitting is heating up in California, after the California Highway Patrol (CHP) posted guidelines for the legal practice to its website, and then was forced to remove them after a formal complaint that the posted recommendations constituted the CHP making legal regulations.
Now finishing a year-long study regarding the safety of motorcycles splitting lanes in The Golden State, the CHP has found that lane-splitting is no more dangerous than riding a motorcycle in general, provided a rider doesn’t exceed the flow of traffic by more than 10 mph.
This study by UC Berkeley, which was commissioned by the OTS and CHP, also found that lane-splitting motorcyclists were more likely to be involved in a crash during commuter hours than non-lanesplitting motorcyclists.
Rather logically, the study also found evidence that lane-splitting motorcyclists were less likely to be rear-ended, though were more likely to rear-end someone else, than their non-lane-splitting brethern.
The data for this analysis comes from 80 participating law enforcement agencies, whose officers filled out a supplemental information sheet for 8,262 motorcycle collisions.
Researchers involved with the study hope to follow-up with a more detailed analysis, which will include, rider age, gender, motorcycle type/characteristics, and roadway conditions — a part of a larger continuing effort to finally have some concrete science behind motorcycle riding behavior and crash statistics.
According to a different study by the Office of Traffic Safety, 62% of California motorcyclists say that they lane-split on freeways and roads, a rise of 7.5% compared to 2013. By-in-large, lane-splitting is up in California, though it is being done so at safer speeds than before, compared to last year. One could argue that the CHP guidelines that were available online had something to do with that.
Source: Sacramento Bee