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Would lane splitting reduce motorcycle crashes in Pennsylvania?

Have you ever seen a motorcyclist riding between the lanes? This is known as “lane splitting.” Though it may look strange, and it is not currently legal in most of the U.S., there are arguments that lane splitting is a safer alternative for riders, according to the American Motorcyclist Association.

As the AMA says on its website, one of the most potentially dangerous situations for riders is when they get caught in heavy traffic. Though a traffic jam is slow-moving, a motorcyclist is vulnerable to stop-and-go traffic, distracted drivers and potentially bad road conditions. Even a relatively “gentle” hit from a four-wheeled vehicle can cause a spill and lead to serious injury for the rider.

California is currently the only state where lane splitting is legal. Research from that state suggests lane splitting has prevented numerous motorcycle crashes there. A 2015 report from the University of California-Berkeley concluded that riders who split lanes while in heavy highway traffic are much less likely to be rear-ended, get killed in a wreck or suffer brain or torso injuries than would have occurred had riders been forced to stay in a lane.

Besides California, many countries in Asia and Europe allow lane splitting for motorcycles and scooters. In fact, riders are expected to go between lanes of car and truck traffic and merge at the front, the AMA says.

Whether lane splitting will ever come to Pennsylvania remains to be seen. For now, riders must do what they can to protect themselves from reckless an inattentive motorists. When they do get hit, they may need to take legal action to get the compensation they deserve.

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