Many New Jersey drivers have witnessed motorcyclists who drive between lanes of traffic, a practice known as lane splitting, and questioned how safe it is. Surprisingly, one study found that when motorcyclists are navigating a congested road, splitting lanes may actually keep them safer according to Cycle World.
When motorcycles are in heavy traffic, especially when the surrounding vehicles are continuously stopping and going, the chance of them not being visible to other drivers increases. This leaves them more vulnerable to rear-end collisions, which often lead to serious body head injuries.
In fact, the study found that riders who do not split lanes were much more likely to be in a rear-end accident than lane-splitters. It was also found that splitting lanes is particularly safe when motorcyclists do not grossly exceed the speed of traffic and remain under 50 miles per hour. Splitting lanes was also found to help ease traffic congestion and reduce fuel consumption. The study examined thousands of motorcycle crashes over a 14-month period.
While there is no law in place in New Jersey that specifically prohibits motorcycle riders from splitting lanes, the practice may still result in a ticket according to NJ.com. Technically, riders who go between lanes are failing to keep to the right and may be cited. In addition, the state’s driver’s manual advises riders not to drive between vehicles that are stopped. Motorcyclists may be putting themselves in danger if a car decides to changes lanes but fails to see them. It remains to be seen whether legislation will be passed to make the practice legal in New Jersey under certain conditions.