Opinion: Sharing lanes with motorcyclists is unsafe

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A motorcycle lies wrecked on its side after an accident with an automobile. (Photo courtesy of Optimal Claim | Wikimedia Commons)
By Ashley Hayner 

California is the only state that legally allows motorcyclists to share lanes with other drivers. 

It is said that the benefits to owning a motorcycle are great gas mileage and the ability to bob and weave your way through traffic. This method helps motorcyclists reach their destinations on time regardless of the amount of traffic. Sometimes they even arrive earlier. But in doing so, lane splitting can cost drivers harmful injuries or even death. 

When motorcyclists speed and filter through lanes, it can potentially startle drivers in their cars. This can cause drivers to get angry and possibly result in road rage and unnecessary violence. Or, startled drivers might mistakenly step on the gas and ram into someone else, causing yet another accident. 

At stop lights, motorcyclists are known for creeping up to the light from behind the row of stopped cars. This may have happened to you as a driver at some point. But when drivers are eager to drive off immediately once the light turns green, the sudden movement of cars speeding off can cause a motorcyclist to lose balance and fall into traffic. 

The biggest concern for many drivers ii lane splitting is when a motorcyclist bobs and weaves through traffic, riding over the white diving lanes. 

Lane splitting poses many dangers. When lane splitting at high speeds, motorcyclists risk losing balance when hitting unexpected bumps. The motorcyclist can be hidden in drivers’ blind spots. Quickly changing lanes and ramming into a car that is also changing lanes can cause bodily injury to both drivers.

Scratches and bumps can be repaired and vehicles can be replaced, but the main concern here is the safety of all drivers.

Riding too fast causes riders to overreact and get frustrated when only seeing a sudden flash of light zooming by. 

Since it is legal to share lanes with motorcyclists in California, all driving parties should be alert and mindful of everyone on the road. A motorcyclist holding up traffic because they are doing stunts on the freeway is hazardous and disrespectful. So is acting like you are going to run a motorcyclist off the road. 

When driving at high speeds, splitting lanes is a recipe for disaster. Motorcyclists do not have time to see unexpected lumps and bumps in the road due to uneven surfaces that have not yet been fixed. Doing this at night is even worse due to low visibility, as is doing this during wet weather.

Banning lane splitting and filtering would help lower the rate of motorcyclists killed each year. Right now, the total deaths involving motorcyclists averages around 500 each year and has increased by 11 % since 2016.

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