The Truth About Lane Splitting

by | Sep 7, 2017

In spite of research showing that lane splitting by motorcyclists reduces the risk of rear-end collisions and injuries to riders’ torsos and heads, lane splitting remains illegal in Tennessee. Lane splitting involves a motorcyclist pulling up between vehicles instead of behind them, which helps to prevent them from being struck from behind while also reducing congestion. When lane splitting is not done in the correct way, it can increase the risk of accidents and cause incidents of road rage. While there are pros and cons of the practice, when lane splitting is done in a safe manner it may reduce the risk of motorcycle accidents. When accidents are caused by negligent motorists, a personal injury attorney may help the victims.

Lane Splitting Findings

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley reviewed data from 6,000 motorcycle accidents from June 2012 and Aug. 2013. Of those, 997 involved motorcyclists who were lane splitting when they crashed. Lane splitting was found to be the safest when the motorcyclists did not drive more than 15 mph faster than the vehicles around them and when they were traveling less than 50 mph. Nine percent of the lane-splitting motorcyclists suffered head injuries while 17 percent of motorcyclists who weren’t lane splitting suffered injuries to their heads. Nineteen percent of lane-splitting motorcyclists suffered torso injuries as compared to 29 percent of motorcyclists who were not lane splitting. The lane-splitting motorcyclists were also less likely to have been injured in rear-end crashesas compared to riders who were not lane splitting.

Tennessee Lane Splitting

At the urging of motorcyclists, the Tennessee House of Representatives had a bill introduced in 2015 that would have legalized lane splitting in the state. The bill listed several advantages that would have been offered if lane splitting was legalized, including better visibility, better focus, reductions in rear-end crashes and reductions in traffic congestion. The bill was not taken up and died before it could be considered. Therefore lane splitting is still illegal in Tennessee despite its potential to prevent motorcycle accidents.

When motorcyclists are injured in accidents, they often suffer debilitating injuries because of the minimal protection that they have from the environment around them. A personal injury attorney may help injured victims with their accident claims.