Posted Oct 24th 2014 7:00PM
In some parts of North America, the concept of a motorcycle buzzing between lanes of slower traffic is a foreign concept, but it's an accepted practice in others. Each year since 2012, The Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California, Berkeley, conducts a study to check acceptance and safety of lane-splitting in the state, where the act is legal. The latest study seems to indicate that riders are better off splitting lanes than ever before.
The latest study seems to indicate that riders are better off splitting lanes than ever before.
Among California motorcyclists, lane-splitting is becoming increasingly accepted. In the study, 80.6 per cent of riders report doing it on freeways, about the same as before. However, of them, 37.3 per cent of them say it happens "Always" compared to 30.9 per cent in 2012.
On non-freeways, 71.4 of riders split lanes, up 10.3 per cent from 2013. Of them 32.9 per cent say it happens "Always," up 7.6 per cent from a year ago. Furthermore, 62.1 per cent of people split on both types of roads, up 7.5 per cent form 2013.
With more people splitting lanes, the question of its impact on safety arises, and the study indicates that the act is getting less dangerous, too. The UC Berkeley study shows 4.7 per cent of riders on freeways were hit by a vehicle while lane-splitting in 2014, down from 8.6 per cent in 2013 and 11.8 per cent in 2012. Non-freeways have seen a similar decline to just 2.0 per cent in 2014 compared to 7.4 per cent last year and 8.3 per cent in 2012. Motorcyclists saying they nearly hit a car or had one try to block them are both lower this year, as well. Drivers are seemingly also finding the practice more acceptable, too.
This year's study includes info from 1,660 respondents, including 951 drivers and 709 motorcycle riders, and it paints a fairly positive picture about the safety of lane-splitting. The entire 51-page study can be read here in PDF format, and scroll down for a report about the study from CBS News.
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