Drivers and motorcyclists in West Virginia may be aware that lane-splitting is technically not allowed in the Mountain State. In 2016, California legalized the maneuver whereby motorcyclists can travel between lanes, and it is currently the only state to have done so. However, this could soon change as seven states, including Massachusetts, Arizona, and Washington, are deliberating over lane-splitting bills.
Lane-splitting has its share of advocates and opponents. The former claim that lane-splitting will reduce commute times for both motorcyclists and drivers. As for safety, a 2015 study completed by the University of California Berkeley concluded that lane-splitting can reduce a motorcyclist’s chance of incurring head and torso injuries and even lower their risk for a fatal crash. Bikers will also avoid getting rear-ended by distracted drivers.
The same study also shows that lane-splitting is “relatively safe” if traffic is moving at 50 mph or less and if the biker goes no more than 15 mph over the speed of other vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages further research into lane-splitting for its possible benefits.
Opponents point out that lane-splitting motorcyclists are in danger of colliding with vehicles that are changing lanes. There’s also the concern that bikers will not be properly educated on lane-splitting safety once a bill is passed. For these and other reasons, AAA and law enforcement agencies are especially opposed to the passing of such bills.
Unfortunately, both vehicle drivers and motorcyclists are capable of negligent behavior. When a motorist is hurt by a reckless driver, they may want to file a claim for damages. The lawyer can hire investigators to build up the case and negotiate for a settlement out of court.