California legislators commissioned a study to determine the reasonability of legalizing lane-splitting- with certain restrictions and guidelines- for motorcyclists. The comprehensive study, carried out by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, indicates that lane splitting might actually be safer for motorcyclists than not lane-splitting.
The researchers examined reports on 6,000 traffic accidents involving motorcycles that occurred between June 2012 and August 2013. Of those accidents, nearly 1,000 involved lane-splitting. The research indicated that motorcyclists who were injured in accidents when they were lane-splitting, suffered less serious injuries than their counterparts who were not lane-splitting at the time of their collisions.
Authored by Professor Thomas Rice of the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, the Berkeley study imparted that a comparable “speed differential” outlined in the bill proposed by Quirk was reasonably safe for motorcyclists. Rice’s study determined that speeds greater than 50 mph or speed differentials of more than 15 mph posed a heightened risk for riders that increased proportionately as the speed increased.
Additionally, the study found that injuries to the head, torso, and extremities were substantially impacted by both the traffic speed and the motorcycle speed differential. Although the motorcycle speed differential was a stronger indicator of injury than the speed of the surrounding traffic.
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The study also indicated that motorcyclists who practiced lane-splitting were overall safer riders than those bikers who did not lane split.
Rice ascertained several reasons for this from data collected at accident sites by California Highway Patrol officers. Lane-splitting riders were more likely to wear better helmets and were less likely to speed or drive while alcohol-impaired.
Details of the 5,969 accidents studied indicated that one-quarter of those involved Harley-Davidson motorcycles, followed -in order- by bikes manufactured by Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. Over 90 percent of motorcyclists involved in collisions were male, sixty percent were less than 45 years of age, and only 80 percent of riders were properly licensed.
Motorcyclists in Colorado are not yet able to split lanes when riding in traffic. Yet, if more studies like these show that lane splitting is safer for motorcyclists, Colorado may adopt lane-splitting laws in the near future. Until then, motorcyclists must be extra careful during congested traffic so that they aren’t accidentally rear-ended.
Contact Our Pueblo Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love is injured in a motorcycle accident in Pueblo, Colorado, it is important to discuss your accident with an experienced Pueblo motorcycle accident attorney. Call Pueblo attorneys at Smith & Smith, today for a FREE CONSULTATION – (719) 544-0062.