Ins and outs of lane-split­ting

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Le­gal­ize lane-split­ting,” Ed­i­to­rial, May 2

One would ex­pect that when a col­li­sion oc­curs be­tween two mov­ing ve­hi­cles, one of the driv­ers is re­spon­si­ble for the ac­ci­dent as a re­sult of not obey­ing one or more traf­fic laws. Le­gal­iz­ing lane split­ting — as AB 51, passed re­cently by the Cal­i­for­nia As­sem­bly, would do — will cre­ate a legal dilemma.

If a col­li­sion oc­curs while a mo­tor­cy­clist passes a car us­ing the same lane and com­plies with the law (not ex­ceed­ing 50 miles per hour and not trav­el­ing more than 15 mph faster than traf­fic), who is re­spon­si­ble for the col­li­sion? Nei­ther the mo­tor­cy­clist nor the car driver broke the law.

Avi Ziv


Thank you for your ed­i­to­rial sup­port­ing the le­gal­iza­tion of split­ting. As some­one who (ap­par­ently suc­cess­fully) has been prac­tic­ing this fine art since 1967, there’s a sim­ple “rule” that the mo­tor­cy­clist needs to fol­low:

When lane shar­ing, pro­ceed at a speed that al­lows you to safely glance in the rear-view mir­rors and re­turn your gaze for­ward. It’s about 10 to 12 mph faster than traf­fic. Higher than that, you don’t have time to re­act to a sud­den change in traf­fic con­di­tions.

As an aside, I want to per­son­ally thank the count­less mo­torists who daily move over in their lanes to make way for mo­tor­cy­cles. To you it may be a small thing, but to us it is a priceless cour­tesy.

David Hill

Her­mosa Beach

I’m sick and tired of won­der­ing each day as I ride in the car­pool lanes if I’m go­ing to get killed by a lane-split­ter or if I’m go­ing to kill one.

Lane-split­ting in car­pool lanes is ex­tremely risky. Start with the speed dif­fer­en­tial be­tween HOV and regular lanes, add in a markedly smaller mov­ing ob­ject go­ing faster than oc­cu­pants in ei­ther lane, and to make it even spicier, throw in the scofflaw num­skulls who spas­ti­cally cross the line and cut into the HOV lane, and you’ve got a recipe for dis­as­ter.

Bar­bara Jack­son


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