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Lane-splitting may lead to serious injuries

Few things beat the thrill of flying down an open Indiana highway behind the handlebars of a motorcycle. Still, according to state traffic statistics, while motorcycles are present in just 2% of accidents in the Hoosier state, rider deaths account for 13% of all traffic fatalities. For any motorcycle enthusiast, those are scary statistics. 

Lane-splitting has been a controversial subject for decades. This riding style occurs when a motorcyclist rides his or her bike between lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, often on or near the dotted line. While lane-splitting is illegal in Indiana, many riders do it. Unfortunately, the technique may lead to serious injuries. 

Surprising motorists 

Lane-splitters regularly argue that the activity helps protect them from distracted drivers. After all, if a motorist is not paying attention, he or she may slam into the back of a motorcycle. While moving to the far side of a lane may decrease this risk, it may also surprise other motorists. That is, drivers may not expect to have a rider buzz pass them between other vehicles. Naturally, a surprised motorist may reflexively jerk the wheel in the opposite direction, causing an accident. 

Moving into blind spots 

If you have been driving for any time at all, you know about mirror blind spots. Looking over your shoulder before changing lanes is often an effective way to avoid an accident with a vehicle that does not appear in your mirrors. When riders split lanes, though, they may quickly move not only into a driver’s blind spot, but they may also position themselves in a place where drivers cannot see them even when turning their heads. 

Positioning effectively 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that lane-splitting can be useful in educating motorcyclists about effective positioning. While lane-splitting may be dangerous, riders can position themselves further over in the driving lane. This may increase rider visibility to other motorists. Still, for this approach to be effective, riders must not pass between stopped or slow-moving lanes of traffic. 

Lane-splitting can be risky for both motorcycle riders and drivers. While avoiding the activity is likely a good way to stay safe on Indiana roadways, you may want to use the best aspects of it to enhance your safety every time you ride.

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