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Should Lane Splitting Be Legal?

Should lane splitting be legalized in Rhode Island and Massachusetts? Lane splitting, also known as white lining and lane filtering, refers to riding a motorcycle in between two lanes of traffic, close to or on the white lines separating the lanes on roadways. To date, only California has legalized the practice.

I’m personal injury attorney, Mike Lombardi. Lane splitting is illegal in almost all states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts; however, there are a lot of discussions about whether this contentious practice should be legalized.

It may protect motorcyclists

Many motorcyclists driving in congested areas say one of their biggest fears is to be rear-ended and then sandwiched between the moving vehicle and the vehicle stopped in front of them. They believe lane splitting would afford them protection from this.

Those in favor of it also feel the government is exceeding its oversight, telling people what to do and not to do. Supporters believe lane splitting reduces the number of serious accidents. With traffic congestion, a big concern in many areas, they also see it as a way to reduce backups.

Fewer injuries in California

A study in California, conducted before lane splitting became legal in 2016, found that the fatality, head injury, and torso injury rates among lane splitting motorcyclists driving 50 miles per hour or less was actually lower overall.

Why most drivers are opposed

Various surveys show that most drivers are opposed to lane splitting. Those against lane splitting believe it to be very dangerous, since passenger car drivers frequently don’t check their mirrors to see if there is a motorcyclist riding next to them. Subsequently, the driver could move out of his lane and hit the biker, resulting in a sideswipe crash.

More challenges

Proponents also feel that it startles drivers in that the bikers tend to ride too fast for safety. Lane splitting can also create angry reactions from drivers who say bikers have come too close to them on highways while weaving in and out of traffic. They have even taken off their side mirrors in some cases.

We believe there are pros and cons to the lane splitting question and strongly feel that open minds and education will be needed for opposing sides to consider it.

Nonetheless, no matter how safely you ride, motorcycle accidents do happen. If you’re a victim of a motorcycle accident, please give me a call or text me at Mike Lombardi Injury Attorneys, so we can discuss your case. We would love to help you.

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