“We compared the proportion of collision-involved, lane-splitting motorcyclists with injury across several body regions by whether the lane-splitting was done only in traffic flowing at 30 mph or less and that the motorcycle speed should exceed the traffic speed by no more than 10 mph,” the crash study stated.“We found that the proportion with each injury type was high when the lane-splitting was consistent with neither speed component, was lower when it was consistent with one speed component, and was lower still when it was consistent with both speed components.”The speed components mentioned in the report closely align with the lane-splitting guidelines posted on the California Highway Patrol website in 2013 and removed this summer after a complaint from one Sacramento resident.“These findings bolster the position of motorcyclists and traffic-safety officials that responsible lane splitting is a safe and effective tactic for riders, particularly in heavily congested areas,” said Wayne Allard, vice president of government relations for the American Motorcyclist Association. “The AMA endorses these practices and will assist groups and individuals working to bring legal lane splitting or filtering to their states.”California is the only U.S. state where lane splitting is permitted. State law neither prohibits nor specifically allows the maneuver.In many countries, lane splitting and filtering are normal practices for motorcyclists, Allard said. Particularly in the highly urbanized areas of Europe and Asia, motorcycle and scooter operators are expected to pass between conventional vehicles and advance to the front of the group.Among the findings in the California studies:
- Lane-splitting riders (2.7 percent of crashes) were less likely to be rear-ended by another vehicle than were other motorcyclists (4.6 percent);
- Lane-splitting motorcyclists involved in crashes were notably less likely than other motorcyclists in crashes to suffer head injury (9.1 percent vs. 16.5 percent), torso injury (18.6 percent vs. 27.3 percent), or fatal injury (1.4 percent vs. 3.1 percent) than other motorcyclists.
- The proportion of motorcyclists with a head injury was 6.3 percent for those lane-splitting consistent with the “safe and prudent” traffic speed guidelines, 10.7 percent for those lane-splitting in traffic flowing at 30 mph or less but exceeding the traffic speed by more than 10 mph, 9 percent for those lane-splitting in traffic flowing faster than 30 mph but exceeding traffic speed by less than 10 mph, and 20.5 percent for those who were lane-splitting in traffic flowing at more than 30 mph and who were exceeding traffic speed by more than 10 mph.