UC Berkeley Conducts Lane-Splitting Study

June 2 2015

UC Berkeley study says… A recent University of California Berkeley study indicates that motorcyclists who lane-split in heavy traffic may be less likely to be struck from behind and are less likely to suffer head or torso injuries.

Researchers from the Safe Transportation Research and Education Centre (SafeTREC) reviewed approximately 6,000 accidents involving motorcycles between June 2012 and August 2013, including 997 in which the riders were lane-splitting at the time of the crash.

Among the conclusions reached by the researchers, “Lane-splitting is legal and is widely practiced by motorcyclists in California. Of the almost 6,000 collision-involved motorcyclists we studied, nearly 1,000 were lane-splitting at the time of their collision. When we compared motorcyclists who were lane-splitting with those who were not, 16 we could see that the lane-splitting riders were notably different. Compared with other motorcyclists, lane-splitting motorcyclists were more often riding on weekdays and during commute hours, were using better helmets, and were traveling at lower speeds. Lane-splitting riders were also less likely to have been using alcohol and less likely to have been carrying a passenger. Lane-splitting motorcyclists were much less often injured during their collisions. They were considerably less likely to suffer head injury, torso injury, extremity injury, and fatal injury than riders who were not lane-splitting.

We also found that the manner in which motorcyclists split lanes varied greatly. Most riders exceeded the speed of the surrounding traffic by a small or moderate amount. For example, 69% of riders were exceeding the traffic speed by 15 MPH or less. A significant number were traveling at excessive speed: 14% had a speed differential of 25 MPH or greater, and 3% had a speed differential of 40 MPH or greater. Lane-splitting in such a manner is likely to increase the risk of being involved in a traffic collision. Lane-splitting is safe if done in traffic moving at 50 mph or less, and if motorcyclists do not exceed the speed of other vehicles by more than 15 mph.”

You can follow this link for the complete report, www.ots.ca.gov/pdf/Publications/Motorcycle-Lane-Splitting-and-Safety-2015.pdf

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