Lane-splitting has long been a heated debate when it comes to the subject of motorcycle accidents. The topic has been so controversial, in fact, that just last year The Wall Street Journal reported that the state of California has been the only state in the U.S. to legalize the action thus far, setting a new precedent for the rest of the country. Other states have been following in California’s footsteps to push legislation that will allow motorcyclists to drive between lanes on the open road—an agenda not likely to disappear any time soon. Oregon, Texas, and Tennessee are just a few states aiming to make lane-splitting legal, and many others are close behind.
A Dangerous or Efficient Trend?
The idea behind the practice of lane-splitting is that it allows motorcyclists to reach their destinations faster while contributing to a smoother, less congested commute on the highway. This is considered especially helpful during rush-hour commute times. The drawbacks, of course, have been the largest source of opposition for those against the legislation. Lane-splitting can be dangerous for both the motorcyclist and nearby automobile drivers, as visibility is further limited and the space in which the motorcyclist must navigate is narrow, restricted, and at times obstructed.
Many highway safety officials see the move to make lane-splitting legal in other states as yet another law to discuss, much like the motorcycle helmet laws that have been a hot debate from state to state in recent years. The Wall Street Journal also reported that in 2013, there were 4,668 motorcycle deaths in the U.S., a higher total than ten years prior, making motorcycle safety an even graver issue now than ever before.
Laws that permit practices such as lane-splitting could potentially raise that statistic. Some motorcyclists, however, argue that lane-splitting can actually be safer, as it allows them to drive through cars at a standstill or at low speeds, minimizing the chances of serious collision or fatal impact. Only time will tell what fate each state holds in terms of legalizing motorcyclist rights such as lane-splitting, but one thing is certain: We can all do our best to be proactive and practice safe driving on the highways.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you can take the steps to protect yourself by seeking legal representation. A skilled, knowledgeable Santa Clara County personal injury attorney can help. Call the Law Office of John J. Garvey, III at 408-293-7777 for a free consultation today.
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