Your well-being is our priority.

Your well-being is our priority.

Is safe “lane splitting” for motorcyclists an oxymoron?

Bay Area motorcyclists do it all the time — and it is usually quite legal as long as certain rules are followed (and common sense is used). However, the hazards of lane splitting to motorcyclists can be quite severe.

But to fully understand the dangers, one must first understand what constitutes lane splitting here in California.

Defining the term

According to California Vehicle Code Section 21658.1, lane splitting means riding your motorcycle in between lanes of slower-moving or stopped automobiles in their lanes on roads, highways and streets.

Bikers ride this way because they can, basically. It’s one of the perks of traveling light on a small, two-wheeled vehicle, evading huge traffic jams that the larger cars and trucks must endure.

Why it’s so dangerous

The fact that something is legal is not a license to do it at any time or place. There are times when it is somewhat safer to split the lane and get free of the clutch of bumper-to-bumper traffic — and times when doing so is to risk life and limb.

Also, it’s important to remember that lane splitting does not mean that you can cruise along the shoulder of the highway, which is illegal here in our state.

Drivers aren’t looking for lane splitting bikers

Despite the fact that you and your buddies are breaking no laws, don’t expect the average motorist to be on the lookout for you to cruise by. They are not looking out for you and might make surprise moves that could leave you permanently disabled in a motorcycle crash.

If you are injured in a lane splitting accident, you may need someone to be your legal advocate in your fight for compensation for your damages, losses and injuries.