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Readers Respond: Should lane splitting be legalized?

Responses: 43


Lane splitting or "filtering" refers to the ability of a motorcycle to slip between traffic, and while some riders swear by it, others consider it too dangerous to consider. While it's legal in most of Europe and many parts of the world, the practice is Illegal in all states except California, where it's generally tolerated... that said, several states are considering legalizing it. Do you think they should?

You must be nuts to split

I'm driving through Los Angeles right now in the passenger seat and I can not believe all of the motor cycles riders driving like a** holes just barely missing every car in this parking lot called the 210 . I have put up with this for years and I have to say, if a bike clipped a car and went down in front of me and my choice is to hit a wall or another car to try and miss the rider in the road....... The rider just drew the short straw !!!!.
—Guest death ride

Lane splitting is a cooperative venture

Lane splitting works so well in Europe since the car/truck drivers there expect lane splitting. Lane splitting has many advantages, especially with regards to rear end collisions (didn't see the bike, just the car in front) and reducing congestion (several bikes together take less space than an equal number spread out in traffic). It is difficult to gauge what may happen on day 1 that lane splitting is made legal, but over time, drivers become familiar with the technique and, road rage aside, learn to use their mirrors when changing lanes and keep to the center of the lane. Overall, lane splitting appears to me (former MSF instructor, but I am not representing that community, just making a safety note) that lane splitting is desirable for all road users. I've used lane splitting in California up to speeds about 40MPH (I'm very conservative with splitting) and had no real issues even on a bike as big as a Honda Goldwing.
—Guest Mark

Federal Highway Administration

The FHA already admits that motorcycle riders are safer moving than stuck in stop and go traffic: http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freewaymgmt/faq.htm#faq15 15. Why are motorcycles allowed in some HOV lanes? Motorcycles are permitted by federal law to use HOV lanes, even with only one passenger. The rationale behind allowing motorcycles to use HOV lanes is that it is safer to keep two-wheeled vehicles moving than to have them travel in start-and-stop traffic conditions. States can choose to override this provision of federal law, if they determine that safety is at risk.
—Guest Doug W


Yes, lane splittng should be legal in all states, it help reduce traffic, and is safer for the rider. Should it be regulated, Yes. I've seen many riders splitting lanes much to fast, but the majority are just above the speed of the cars and trucks
—Guest ImIT

Allow responsible lane splitting

It's not about taking advantage to get ahead but one less box contributing to traffic. I'm sorry so many asshats ruin it for responsible lane splitters and hope they're a minority. We're fortunate in the US and get a car at 16. Most other country's laws, taxes and economies are such that most DRIVERS start on small bikes. Since many ride before driving, they understand how motorcycles work, specifically, their power to weight and nimble handling. Not to be confused with previously mentioned asshats. It's not my intention to go ahead of others out-of-turn; just minimize OUR commute. One less car on the road. It is safer. If a driver rode a motorcycle for more than a minute they'd understand MC riders have to be completely focused at all times. Texting? Phone calls? Radio stations? No. Every second must be on task because we've got a lot to lose. Cars SHOULD also be ON. I'm glad I have the option to split lanes and when the US wakes up everyone will agree with responsible splittin
—Guest Brotha Rubba


Lane splitting should be legal for many reasons, but here's a few. First, we can all agree that rear end collisions are one of, if not the most common type of collision. If you're rear ended on a motorcycle (especially if there is a car in front of you) severe injury, or death, as well as your bike being written off, are very likely. In a car, not so much. Second, not being able to lane split only adds to the problem of traffic congestion, especially in large cities, since each motorcycle effectively takes up the same space as a small car. This not only makes the motorcycle rider wait in traffic longer, but also every motorist behind them. Finally, it's not my problem if me lane splitting (safely and legally, of course) aggravates you. As a motorist, it's your job to stay calm, collected, and safe, so that you make rational decisions and not endanger someone else because you dislike their form of transportation and/or any privileges they receive.
—Guest Baker

Of course

It should. Anyone that learns to ride a motorcycle after theyre comfortable wouldn't have it any other way.
—Guest Jojo

The real question is, why isn't it?

This is a no brainer, lane splitting should be legal EVERYWHERE. I don't understand why it isn't. I actually lane split the other day as this car was tailgating me. Where ever I went, he went, kept speeding up behind me. I split two cars at the next light, a cop came out of nowhere, and pulled me over here in NY. I told him about the tailgater but he obviously didn't see it and told me to tell it to the judge. I gave him my license, reg, and insurance, and he came back to me and handed everything back, and told me he has his motorcycle license, and he's happy to see I actually have it, and he saw I was absolutely clean with nothing on my record or license, and came back and told me he believes me, and told me to ride safe. This is a perfect example of why it should be allowed. I got two car lengths away from the tailgater which most likely saved my life from at some point he would of hit me. It's a shame I was pulled over it, but the truth set me free, and the cop knew I was honest.
—Guest Stephen

Hell NO!!

Lanesplitting is dangerous, stupid and indefensible. Physics prevails here, and the willingness of cyclists to try and share a lane with 4,000lbs of steel at any speed only speaks to the recklessness of most riders. Accidents are guaranteed. Engaging in this idiocy is simply evolution in action.
—Guest Fairsay Goodepointe

Hell NO!!

Lanesplitting is dangerous, stupid and indefensible. Physics prevails here, and the willingness of cyclists to try and share a lane with 4,000lbs of steel at any speed only speaks to the recklessness of most riders. Accidents are guaranteed. Engaging in this idiocy is simply evolution in action.
—Guest Fairsay Goodepointe

Lane splitting

Have you ever sat in traffic under a blazing direct sunlight, full riding gear for safety, no air conditioning, traffic at a standstill. If you haven't, because you are car bound, or because you live in a state where traffic jams are almost non existent...come to california and you'll understand the attitude. Car bound, to get a feeling of what we go through without air conditioning? Roll up the windows, turn on the heat in the summer time for 10 minutes. Now imagine that for an hour or more. Wouldn't you travel down that nice open lane between cars to get some air, cool Off the bike, and eat up some road while everyone else is sitting comphy in their car with the AC on? granted idiots going all out doing this should be cited for going too fast for Conditions and often are, some guys scare the Sh** out of me...but so do Drivers. Why the sudden hate against white liners? If your envious get a bike. For those of you throwing around statistics like truth, show me Who Created them.
—Guest James H

Beat The Heat / Traffic

I live in Ca I am grateful for the "tolerance" because my bike would quickly overheat in these moving parking lots. Certainly need a strong campaign to make other motorists aware of our presence on the road. Ca. has done a fairly good job of this.
—Guest jatkowski

Hell yeah,,,,,

It wound get motorcycles out of traffic faster and would make everyones commute faster...
—Guest kencryst

No Way

First off there are way to many wanna b's and idiots that don't know how to ride as it is. The show off's. You think i want them in the same lane as me. You need to stagger your bikes
—Guest tvyvial


I thank lane splitting would be good,people would have to be educated to let cycles do this.there is always someone that dosent want anyone ahead of them.I tried to do this on several occasions and some wise guy open his door,not pretty.
—Guest Larry Davidson

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