Three devoted motorcyclists at RideApart have put together a video that goes soup-to-nuts through the practice of lane splitting (called "filtering" in the UK) – where motorcycles are ridden safely in between the cars in traffic. It's illegal in 49 states, California being the exception, and in numerous countries.

The riders say that lane splitting is safe, it aids the flow of traffic and having increased freedom of movement gives them more control of their own safety when being around cars in traffic. Car drivers often don't like it, but when it comes to the issue of actual safety versus perceived safety, the evidence appears to support lane splitting. One of the riders in the video cites a Belgian study that found that fatalities in which a motorcyclist was rear-ended by a car were 30 percent lower in California than in Texas and Florida, the difference being that lane-splitting is illegal in those latter two states.

On top of that, the California highway patrol vouches for its legality and CHP officers do it, a study by the US Department of Transportation declared that "lane splitting is safer than sitting in stop-and-go traffic" and according to a lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accidents the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that "most accidents are the fault of motorists [car drivers]."

Have a watch of the video below, and then take the poll and let us know where you stand... or ride.





I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 173 Comments
      XT6Wagon
      • 1 Year Ago
      depends on what you mean by lane splitting. If you mean the people who keep to 10-15mph above slow moving traffic, fine. If you are talking about people who still do 50mph or more through stopped traffic... well... no. And Someone should take the bikes away from riders who lane split in 70mph traffic. Take it away and set it on fire right infront of their eyes.
        cdwrx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @XT6Wagon
        Watch the video and you'll see the way they define lane splitting and that they put all the responsibility on the rider - where it belongs. Studies show 4x more motorcycle accidents happen from being rear ended than from lane splitting (even doing it badly) so, as motorcycles go, its a safer way to go.
      Quen47
      • 1 Year Ago
      I ride in San Francisco, and lane splitting when at a light is absolutely safer- something I did not believe until I started riding. No question about it- one of the scariest things about riding is the prospect of being rear ended by some clown texting while driving. I did once see a guy in front of me on a Vespa repeatedly cut off by a weaving girl in a Jetta who was angry about him getting to the front of the traffic queue. I guess lane splitting is dangerous when enraged drivers try to exact revenge against us for constantly being at the front of the line.
      A_Guy
      • 1 Year Ago
      A driver looks back before lane changing, nothing in view (in addition to blind spots), lane splitter flies up lane, car assumes its safe to change since they already looked, collision occurs. Who is to blame? Add all the idiots darting over quickly in traffic and people abusing the lane splitting law, sounds like a death wish to me. I think the danger heavily outweighs any potential good cause that could come from it.
        rem
        • 1 Year Ago
        @A_Guy
        The driver is because he didn't use a turn signal. It's a good idea to use a signal prior to making a lane change regardless of whether someone is lane splitting or not.
          rem
          • 1 Year Ago
          @rem
          If the bike is doing 30 mph more than the cars, I agree - but at a reasonable 10-15 mph, 3-5 seconds is plenty to slow the bike down. There's a difference between signalling PRIOR to a maneuver and signaling DURING a maneuver.
          A_Guy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @rem
          That really does not change the unfolding events I listed. This would all happen very fast. The likelihood of a quick turn signal making a difference is low. Turn signals offer no guarantees.
        Serge
        • 1 Year Ago
        @A_Guy
        Well, you didn't use a turn signal... unless the bike in your scenario is going 30mph faster than traffic, said biker will have time to react if you use a turn signal BEFORE starting to switch lanes. Now if the biker was going 30+mph above traffic speed, there's no helping stupid.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have been riding for 16 years, no accident in 14 years. LEGAL lane splitting is safe. The people who don't think its safe are probably recalling non-legal lane splitting events. For example, you can't lane split at speed, that is illegal everywhere I know of. When traffic is stopped or near stopped you can lane split, but your speed differential in most places can not be more than 15mph. That means if traffic is stopped, you can't zoom by at 35mph, that is illegal. European statistics, where lane splitting is the norm everywhere as far as I know, demonstrate that LEGAL lane splitting is very safe and beneficial for both the cars and naturally the motorcycles. Encouraging motorcycle traffic also helps reduce our dependence on imported oil (even hyper bikes average about 35mpg combined city/highway), reduces traffic congestion, reduces parking issues in the inner city, reduces road wear and tear, and more. One thing motorcyclists need to do though is adopt a culture where we don't tolerate illegally loud pipes. Nothing is more infuriating than getting a splitting headache from a straight pipe Harley that is ear piercingly loud causing massive noise pollution in the area.
        Gordon Chen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        Read my story above. My coworker\'s bf had a clean record, but some dumb driver drifted into him. In the end, the motorcyclist was blamed. He lane splitted legally, and ended up hurt and blamed.
          Armon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Gordon Chen
          What is your point, Gordon? Citing ONE example proves nothing.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Gordon Chen
          He's taking a risk of this when he splits lanes. It is avoidable by not splitting lanes. I'm sorry he got hurt, but whether it was legal or not he did increase his risk and he did pay the price. Even if it wasn't his fault.
          cdwrx
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Gordon Chen
          I was rear-ended when I chose not to lane split. So there. We're tied.
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        me too, and only time I had to put the bike down was when I got cut off by a moron coming across 3 lanes at the last moment to take an offramp....few raspberrys and I found out several years later 3 cracked ribs, I was put in a position where I dint have much choice, but was OH SO CLOSE to avoiding the issue completely.....as for pipes, theres volume ( its good to be heard ) and theres OBNOXIOUS....and I beleive volume ordinances are being instituted....
      Oscar
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fine, but do so at your own risk.
      keivmx
      • 1 Year Ago
      I want to thank all the drivers in Los Angeles who are mindful and considerate of motorcycle riders. (Even car drivers can complain about the bad ones for days) I save a minimum of 10 hours a week on my commute by riding a motorcycle. That's over 20 extra DAYS of free time I gain each year. If you are thinking about riding, I'd highly recommend you take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course. They provide classroom instruction and even a motorcycle that you ride for two days on a closed course. You'll quickly find out if it's for you or not. Riding is vastly different from what you might perceive it to be.
        CarNutMike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @keivmx
        I don't ride anymore but I can't imagine NOT riding if I were stuck commuting in the LA area. I'm surprised more people don't.
      Matthew Artelt
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm a motorcyclist. I voted that it makes sense, but that's only part of the story. I didn't split lanes for the first few years I rode but one summer day with temps over 110F on the 15 by Glen Helen Pavilion it was either let my radiator boil over (temp gauge was over 250F) or possibly suffer heat stroke, or split lanes, and so I split lanes. I have ever since. It is without question dangerous but something can be dangerous AND STILL MAKE SENSE. So the poll is a little flawed. Also, the result on a car-biased website as opposed to a motorcycle-biased website will vary. Of course on here the majority of folks voting won't be riders so the poll will sway against them.
      superchan7
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a car driver, I can understand lane splitting at a mild speed differential. I can also imagine riders feeling a little less risk of getting crunched between two cars in panic stops. Just don't clip my mirrors!!
      Mazdaspeed6
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm a rider and I think we should be allowed to lane split. One problem is some riders go too fast. The other is drivers do not like other vehicles going in front of them, so some actually intentionally drive close to the line in addition to those who don't know how to drive in the center of the lane. It's like when 2 lanes converge, yet 2 semi's block the freeway for 2 miles even though its proven thats actually worse for congestion. And then there's those who change lanes without signals or using their mirror.
      James
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lane splitting is actually legal in Kentucky, at a red light. Motorcycles are allowed to go to the front of the signal. Just like anything, one can lane split safely or dangerously. With laws allowing motorcycles to have the right of way in such instances, it would raise awareness that motorcycles and vehicles are different modes of transportation that by chance use the same roadway. You should not treat a motorcycle or a bicycle or a pedestrian or an 18-wheeler as a car just because they are all on the same roadway.
      Bass
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hello everyone, I use my bike everyday to commute to Paris (a 17 miles round trip). Every bikers does lane splitting when the traffic is heavy. It's illegal but there's a tolerance by police forces since everyone does it for years. Politics decided to launch a scientific study to decide whether or not they should make a law to allow it and the answer was yes, it will soon be legal to do it because the study proved that crash rates was pretty low and when accident happened, they were mostly not lethal because of the low vehicles speed involved in such crashes. Now, it takes a bit of experience to do it safely and most french car drivers in big cities do make space between the 2 outer lanes for motorcyclists when the traffic is heavy (and drive looking at their mirrors...). And I just want to remember everyone that 70% of lethal accident in France take place on an empty clean road by a nice weather. Your worst enemy on a bike is yourself.
      ravingricefarmer
      • 1 Year Ago
      i very very rarely see cars moving aside for motorcycles to splitlane in high traffic highways. i take it as a responsible driver to let them pass, moving a side just a little bit and they seem to appreciate it as they show thumbs up as they pass. its the responsibility of drivers to know their surrounding in front, side and back of them and react accordingly to it. in the case of riders overspeeding between cars, **** them.
        cdwrx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ravingricefarmer
        I always try to acknowledge a courteous driver who makes room for me. I can't always safely remove a hand from the bars, so it might be as simple as a head nod, but know that it is appreciated.
    • Load More Comments