What Californians Should Know About Lane-Splitting

Authored by:

Attorney William Green from Delfino Green & Green Law


William Green
Mr. Green has made a career of championing the rights of the most vulnerable members of society against the most powerful corporations, government entities, and insurance companies. Where most attorneys take on “a case,” Mr. Green takes on clients and their cause.

Reviewed by:


Delfino Green & Green
For over 30 years, the highly skilled and experienced attorneys at Delfino Green & Green have been protecting the rights of individuals throughout California. We work hard to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions that caused injuries, insurance companies responsible for their promises to pay disability benefits, and employers accountable for their commitment to protecting their employees in the workplace.


Most Californians have seen lane-splitting at some point. You’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and a motorcyclist zooms past you, utterly unphased by the deadlock. While most Californians see lane splitting, few realize the impact it has on traffic and the environment.

Precedent and Prediction

California is the only state to formally legalize lane-splitting. However, it is not the only state to allow the practice. A handful of US states, including Texas, NewMexico, and Montana, do not specifically mention lane-splitting in their legislation.

While lane-splitting is rare in the US, it is normal in Europe and Asia. Traffic engineers claim lane-splitting cuts down on traffic congestion, carbon emissions, and commute time. There’s even evidence to suggest lane splitting is safer for motorcyclists than driving in-lane with cars and trucks.

Studies and Statistics

Scientists from UC Berkley evaluated more than 5,000 motorcycle crashes to determine whether lane splitting is safe for motorcyclists. Results showed that motorcyclists lane-splitting had no additional risk at speeds under 50mph. They also did not have a significantly higher risk of injury unless they were driving 15mph above the speed limit.

Lane-splitting motorcyclists generally suffered fewer rear-ending accidents as there were rarely vehicles directly behind them. The study also suggests that lane-splitting significantly reduces the risk of bodily harm. Lane-splitting reduces motorcyclist head injuries by 50% when compared to in-lane driving. Likewise, lane-splitting riders experience fewer torso injuries, limb injuries, and (most importantly) fewer fatalities.

Between outcomes from other nations and scientific studies of our own drivers, the evidence is overwhelming. Motorcycle riders are at less risk of accident and injury when lane-splitting than when driving in-lane.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced attorney from Delfino Green & Green to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call 415-442-4646.
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