In many areas, traffic can become very congested. Motorcyclists may choose to take advantage of the compact size of their vehicles by riding in the areas between road and highway traffic lanes. While that may be an effective way for cycle riders to defeat frustrating traffic, it’s also dangerous. The practice in the U.S. is being imported as it is much more common in other countries that face higher levels of congestion as well as a higher number of motorcycles.
Lane splitting offers a number of positives:
- It can reduce traffic congestion
- It allows motorcycles to keep their air-cooled engines from stalling
- It helps cycle riders to avoid road surface irregularities such as potholes and uneven surfaces
- It reduces incidents of cycles being rear-ended, a dangerous source of cyclist injuries
- It creates a speed differential between cycles and other, larger vehicles
- It can sometimes stir hostile, defensive tactics from drivers of other types of vehicles
- It can startle drivers who don’t expect cycles moving past them, invading their lanes
Greater awareness of this cycling tactic is key to creating driver habits that recognize the need to look out for motorcycles and to take greater care by maintaining longer following distances and watching for motorcycles when changing lanes, braking and making turns. Insurance can be effective in dealing with the consequences of accidents, but it is far more effective when accompanied by driver awareness that helps reduce or eliminate accidents from occurring.