Lane Splitting Law Is A Legal Grey Area
By Yaroslav Shakula
There is no absolutely universal legal view on lane splitting, because lane splitting law varies from each state to the next. Even within a single state, lane splitting law tends to be far more complex than many of the other kinds of legislation that restrict how drivers and motorcycle riders can behave. Lane splitting in California is legal in many circumstances, but not in all circumstances, so whether a biker is cited for illegal lane splitting in California has as much to do with what kind of mood a police officer is in as it does with the realities of lane splitting law. Lane splitting law is one of the greyest areas of ambiguity in modern laws that govern the safe use of vehicles, so it is little wonder then that there is a lot of confusion about lane splitting law among driver, motorcycle riders, and even among lawyers and other law professionals.
Even in states where lane splitting is legal, most motorcycle riders who are concerned with being very prudent about their safety and making sure that they are within the confines of the law avoid lane splitting at all because it is such a grey area in terms of law and in terms of safety. Lane splitting law is complex, but the most important decision that a motorcycle rider makes about lane splitting shouldn’t be whether it is legal in a given situation, but rather whether it is safe. Lane splitting is often very dangerous, and even in the cleanest and clearest of circumstances lane splitting can lead to an accident if things go even slightly awry.
Although lane splitting is legal in some states like California, California bikers might find it prudent to take a cue from other states on this matter. The fact that lane splitting is technically legal in California under most circumstances does not mean that it is a safe practice. One of the most dangerous things about lane splitting is that many automobile drivers do not know how to safely interact with motorcycle riders, so lane splitting can make drivers panic and do things that are unpredictable and often cause injury or even death to motorcycle riders who were technically behaving within their legal rights. It is important to remember that legal lane splitting isn’t always safe lane splitting, so although it is important to follow lane splitting law it is even more important to follow your common sense when deciding whether to lane split on your bike or not.
There is a lot of debate among the motorcycle riding community and among drivers about whether current lane splitting law is satisfactory. Some people feel that current lane splitting law is too loose and not restrictive enough about lane splitting. There are even individuals and groups calling for a national ban on lane splitting under any circumstances. However, there are also plenty of individuals and groups who believe that lane splitting can be safely practiced, and that there should be more of an effort to educate motorcycle riders and divers about how to split lanes safely without causing accidents. Whatever your personal views on lane splitting may be, it is almost certainly true that lane splitting law is one of the most complex areas of law surrounding the practices of drivers and motorcycle riders.
Yaroslav Shakula is the editor-in-chief of I Hate This site which is probably the best place for people to vent their feelings and reviews on almost anything.
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