Originally Posted by mach1mustang351
The way I understand it lane splitting became legal in California because of the Olympics in 1984. It was nearly impossible to make it around the city with the increased traffic, couriers rode bikes and were able to split lanes to keep the commerce rolling... may not be true. Something I was told.
At age 8 in 1955, standing between my Dad's legs holding onto the Pontiac's streering wheel I can recall motorcycles passing between cars.
Lane sharing, splitting traffic or filtering has never been ill-eagle in California.
"Lane splitting" is what someone does when he or she rides their motorcycle in between slow-moving cars on a freeway. The article says that this practice goes way back to the days when all motorcycles had air-cooled engines, and needed to keep moving to prevent overheating.
I suppose there's some truth to that, though today, many air-cooled motorcycles don't overheat when stopped on freeways.
The reason why California remains as the only state in the union to allow lane-splitting is because of safety.
Several years ago, lawmakers in Sacramento drafted a bill to make lane-splitting illegal, thinking it would save more lives. However, the California Highway Patrol lobbied against the bill, on grounds that it cause more bikers to die.
That is, if motorcyclists were forced to wait behind slow moving or stopped vehicles, they run the risk of getting rear-ended by other vehicles. This happens all too often on freeways, where drivers fail to pay attention to stopped traffic up ahead. Rear ending a motorcycle is almost always fatal for the biker.
That's why the CHP wants bikers to split lanes, to protect them from drivers not paying attention.
The CHP used accident fatality data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to show that a frequent cause of deaths in motorcycle accidents in other states are car drivers rear-ending motorcycles.
That's why the California State Legislature changed its mind and allowed lane-splitting to remain legal.
I put about 30,000 miles each year on my two motorcycles. I've witnessed many "rear-end" accidents between two cars on the freeway. When a car gets rear-ended, the driver usually survives. But when it happens to a motorcycle, the biker almost always dies. If lane-splitting were legal in all 50 states, a lot more people would be alive today.