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How to handle lane splitting

Drivers who live in California may be used to driving among motorcycles, and there is a technique motorcyclists practice that drivers should be aware of. Lane splitting is when a motorcycle rides between two vehicles. While this may seem illegal, it is actually legal in the state, and studies show it is safe as long as riders do it correctly. Both drivers and motorcycle operators should understand how to share the road safely together.

According to the American Motorcyclist Association, lane splitting, or lane sharing, is most beneficial for motorcyclists who drive in congested traffic. Sharing a lane with other drivers helps to cut down on rear-end collisions. This results in fewer fatalities as well as a decrease in torso and head injuries. While California permits ride sharing, motorcyclists should also be aware it is not required.

KQED News reports that ride splitting can be dangerous if practiced by inexperienced riders or in certain conditions. Motorcyclists should be aware of the driving conditions, such as the size of surrounding vehicles, the width of the lane, lighting and weather, before attempting to split a lane. Conditions such as higher speeds increase the danger risk. Motorcyclists should take caution and ensure other drivers can see them. This includes wearing bright and reflective gear, staying out of blind spots and using high beams. 

Other vehicle operators should also do their part to keep everyone safe. They should always check blind spots and signal before changing lanes, allow room for motorcyclists to pass and stay alert.


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