The American Motorcyclist Association supports the efforts of Tennessee motorcyclists and politicians to enact a law during this legislative session that would permit riders to travel between cars using the maneuver commonly known as lane splitting.
H.B. 1102, introduced by state Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville), would permit lane splitting when traffic is traveling at 45 mph or less and the motorcyclist does not exceed posted speed limits. Lane splitting would not be permitted in marked school zones when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation.
“Research and evidence suggest that lane splitting may reduce a motorcyclist’;s exposure to collisions, which is why the AMA supports H.B. 1102 in Tennessee,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations. “Motorcyclists’; safety is our utmost priority.”
Perhaps one of the most dangerous situations for any motorcyclist is being caught in congested traffic, where stop-and-go vehicles, distracted and inattentive drivers, and environmental conditions increase the risk of physical contact with another vehicle or hazard.
Reducing a motorcyclist’;s exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can be one way to reduce front- and rear-end collisions for those most vulnerable in traffic. A 2014 study conducted in California — where lane splitting is allowed — supports this assertion by demonstrating that motorcyclists engaging in responsible lane splitting were less likely to be rear ended, suffer a head injury or be involved in a fatal crash.
Other potential benefits include an increase in conspicuity because the motorcyclist is moving relative to other traffic; a reduction in motorcyclist fatigue from constant shifting and braking in stop-and-go traffic; a lessening of the risk for engine damage for air-cooled engines; a reduction in motorcyclists’; exposure to ambient heat in the summer and car exhaust year-round due to less time spent in traffic.
Motorcycle lane splitting is a common practice in many countries throughout the world — particularly in the highly urbanized areas of Europe and Asia. Long recognized as a way to alleviate traffic congestion and reduce the risk of crashes, the practice nevertheless remains largely prohibited in the United States, with California currently being the exception.
The AMA is working with CMT/ABATE Inc. to make responsible lane splitting legal in Tennessee.
More information about the AMA’;s position on lane splitting can be found here: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/PositionStatements/LaneSplitting.aspx.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’;s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’; interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.