Lane splitting is safer: study

If we could lane split in Canada, like California, you can bet you'd see a lot more motorcycles on the 401.

Lane splitting – it’s something we all long to do, even if the local constabulary frowns on it.

But, if a cop pulls you over when you’re gleefully filtering through traffic, here’s something you can tell him: You’re doing it for safety purposes.

According to a study published on the RidetoWork.org website, lane splitting doesn’t raise risks out there on the streets, it actually lessens them. Study author Steve Guderian, a San Francisco-based rider and transportation safety guru, says it’s all about rear-end collision risks; lane-splitting riders are less likely to be rammed from behind by a car, and they’re also less likely to run into the back of a car themselves.

Guderian backs up his theory by comparing accident statistics from California – where lane splitting is legal – to other states with similar riding conditions. The numbers show that Californians are less likely to be hit or killed in a rear-end collision.

Want to know more? Check out Guderians study here.

5 thoughts on “Lane splitting is safer: study”

  1. I would imagine there would be serious “growing pains” when first implementing lane splitting…I know drivers here in Alberta would agressively try to stop you from doing it…the “you’re not passing me!!” mentality…that’s the same reason the “gaps close” when you turn on your signal to merge or change lanes…drivers here suck! (in the big cities, Edmonton & Calgary)

    I don’t think you would have a problem in the smaller towns, but there is no traffic to speak of…it would help with the traffic jams a little (not enough bikes on the road to make a big difference to the cagers)

    Maybe if “filtering” was legal it would encourage people to get out of their trucks & SUVs and get a bike/scooter for riding in the city…that would be a big impact on traffic!!

    Later.

    1. It’s a proven statistic that if 10% of car drivers switch to motorcycles then the overall traffic where lane splitting is legal and in practice will decrease by about 40%. Also in California there is 30% less deaths caused by cars rear-ending cyclist

  2. I was recently in California on my bike… and of course had to try this legal activity.  I have to say, at bumper-to-bumper traffic riding up alongside was a little unnerving, til I saw bikes flying up and filtering by ME!  Then you realize that everyone is aware and expects it.  So no problems.  I could then relax and it made for a most happy 20 minutes through Oaklands as opposed to 2 hours of waiting in the 107 degree sun.

    It was also great when traffic was flowing, but not quickly enough.  Just zip in between and off ya go!

    I’d LOVE for this to be brought up here.  Less congestion is an obvious benefit.

  3. This is not just legal in California, it is common practice in Europe, like UK, Italy, France, Spain and also in South American cities and in Asian countries where bikes are in a thousands. 
    I know there is in Canada the mentality of ” you are not passing me ” ; and that is ignorance and arrogance. Shame on you, cowboys. I live in Alberta and I know that. All we can do is Resignation. Who is going to convince old-fashion politicians to change the laws.

  4. That isn’t a study, it is a badly written high school paper. It does not prove that lane splitting is safer – correlation doesn’t equal causation. A proper study of statistical data would involve ANOVA, hierarchical regression, or linear regression. If you want to conduct a proper study, you should ask an expert in stats to conduct an analysis for you. An expert would be someone who has a PhD in statistics, or possibly economics, or mathematical modelling.

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