Looked at this several years ago and it did not get the support I thought it would. Below is a list of countries and several states in the US that either allow it or turn a blind eye.
What are your thoughts? I am looking for some rational either way.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Debate over safety and benefits
Proponents state that the practice relieves congestion by removing commuters from cars and gets them to use the unused roadway space between the cars.
In the US, transportation engineers have suggested that motorcycles are too few, and will remain too few, to justify any special accommodation or legislative consideration, such as lane splitting. Unless it becomes likely that very large number of Americans will switch to motorcycles, they will offer no measurable congestion relief even with lane splitting. Rather, laws and infrastructure should merely incorporate motorcycles into normal traffic with minimal disruption and risk to riders.
Potentially, lane splitting can lead to road rage on the part of drivers.However, the Hurt Report indicates that, "Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause."
Lane splitting is not recommended for beginning motorcyclists, and riders who do not practice it in their home area are strongly cautioned that it can be risky if they attempt it when traveling to a jurisdiction where it is allowed. Similarly, for drivers new to places where it is done, it can be startling and scary.
Another consideration is that lane splitting in the United States, even where legal, can possibly leave the rider legally responsible. In California, it is legal only if done safely: "'Safely' is always very much a judgment call. The mere fact that an accident happened while a rider was lane splitting is very strong evidence that on that occasion it wasn't safe to do so...If you've been involved in an accident you will have a hard job convincing an insurance adjuster that the accident was not completely your fault."
When the 2005 bill to legalize lane splitting in Washington State was defeated, a Washington State Patrol spokesman testified in opposition, saying that, "it would be difficult to set and enforce standards for appropriate speeds and conditions for lane splitting. And he said that officials with the California Highway Patrol told him that they wished they had never begun allowing the practice." The California Highway Patrol's official policy is that lane splitting is "permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner".[
California's DMV handbook for motorcycles advises significant caution regarding lane splitting: "Cars and motorcycles each need a full lane to operate safely. Lane sharing is not safe. Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable. A car could turn suddenly or change lanes, a door could open, or a hand could come out of a window. Discourage lane sharing by others."
The Oxford Systematics report commissioned by VicRoads, the traffic regulating authority in Victoria, Australia, found that for motorcycles filtering through stationary traffic "No examples have yet been located where such filtering has been the cause of an incident."
In the United Kingdom, Motorcycle ROADCRAFT, the police riding manual, is explicit about the advantages of filtering but also states that "The advantages of filtering along or between stopped or slow moving traffic have to be weighed against the disadvantages of increased vulnerability while filtering".
After discussing the pros and cons at great length, motorcycle safety guru David L. Hough ultimately argues that a rider, given the choice to legally lane split, is probably safer doing so, than to remain stationary in a traffic jam. However, Hough has not gone on record as favoring changing the law in jurisdictions where it is not permitted, in contrast to his public education and legislative efforts in favor of rider training courses and helmet use.
A literature review of lane-sharing by the Oregon Department of Transportation notes "a potential safety benefit is increased visibility for the motorcyclist. Splitting lanes allows the motorcyclist to see what the traffic is doing ahead and be able to proactively maneuver." However, the review was limited and "Benefits were often cited in motorcyclist advocacy publications and enthusiast articles."
A frequently asked question by motorcyclists is "Is lane splitting legal?" The legal confusion in Australia described above is not exceptional. In California no law explicitly and clearly prohibits lane splitting, and significantly, it has become the traditional policy of law enforcement, the courts, and the public in California to tolerate it when it is done safely. However, those engaged in unsafe behavior, including unsafe lane splitting, can still be cited for violating certain sections of the vehicle code.
Other jurisdictions have similar or identical legal codes on the books, yet their authorities have, over time, interpreted the law as prohibiting lane splitting in all cases, even when done safely, and so riders are cited for it. Colorado and Nebraska are examples of jurisdictions where the law does explicitly prohibit lane splitting, while permitting motorcycles to ride two abreast, and making an exception for police officers
Lane splitting is permitted in the following countries:
A CalTrans sign on the 91 eastbound in Anaheim, cautioning drivers to be on the lookout for bikers that may be in their blind spots Austria
Netherlands (jurisprudence assigns responsibility in case of accidents to the car driver )
United States California has no laws explicitly prohibiting lane splitting, and is the only U.S. state for which official statements state that lane splitting, when done safely, is legal. California is not the only state for which there is no traffic law that explicitly prohibits lane splitting, but officials rely on other laws to regularly interpret lane splitting as unlawful. For example, New Mexico does not address lane splitting by name, but has language requiring turn signals be used continuously for at least 100 ft (30 m) before changing lanes, as well as other codes which may be cited by an officer. Many other states have identical codes, derived from the Uniform Vehicle Code.