Is lane splitting safe?

Spring is just around the corner, and for countless Tennesseeans, that can only mean one thing: adventures on the road. There is no activity quite like motorcycling; with the fresh breeze whipping through the wind and bright, sunny skies ahead, it is easy to see why so many cyclists flock to the state's breathtaking valleys. When it comes to safety, some aspects of motorcycle riding are simply indisputable, but are others safer than some might think?

In March 2015, Tennessee was on the brink of seeing change in lane splitting laws. However, as WATE News reported, the Senate sponsor decided to withdraw that bill that would have made such a method legal. At the time of the article's release, California was the only state that allowed lane splitting, but since then numerous states have made efforts to make that law more lenient. Using a study from The University of California, Berkeley, WATE shared that although such driving practices could reduce cyclists' chances of being rear-ended by other drivers, it could make rear-ending other vehicles more likely. 

Car enthusiast magazine Car Throttle also speculated on the safety of lane splitting, referring to the aforementioned Berkely study that claimed such driving strategies were, indeed, safe. Car Throttle predicts that other states will follow California's lead in legalizing lane splitting and considers the following benefits of this driving practice:

  • Higher speeds make safer lane splitting 
  • Convenience in travelling 
  • Safer practices such as helmet use 

Not all motorcyclists practice lane splitting safely, but Car Throttle points out that when cyclists lane split at 50 miles per hour and under, this method can be safe. Natural cons to lane splitting include untrained drivers and uncooperative motorists. Of course, there is an inherent risk to riding a motorcycle alongside motor vehicles, but with the right judgment, lane splitting could become a legal activity across the nation. 



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