Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers introduced proposed legislation to commission a study on the potential benefits of lane splitting. While lane-splitting is currently illegal in Colorado, Christopher Nicolaysen, a motorcycle accident attorney with Springs Law Group in Colorado Springs, says that passing the bill could mean both benefits and risks for riders.
Lane-splitting is when motorcycles overtake or pass a motor vehicle by driving in the same lane or between rows of vehicles. HB 23-1059 would require the Colorado Department of Transportation to collaborate with the Colorado State Patrol to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of legalizing lane splitting. The resulting study report would be due to the state House of Representatives by the end of the year, after which further discussion on the matter is expected to occur.
“Lane-splitting has been a divided topic in Colorado,” Nicolaysen said. “And if this bill passes, motorcyclists will see some conveniences but also some risks.”
Rider Benefits of Legalized Lane-Splitting
Nicolaysen says that legal lane-splitting would benefit both riders and those driving in vehicles on Colorado roads by:
- Reducing congestion during peak traffic hours — Lane splitting can help reduce traffic congestion, allowing both riders and cars to reach their destination faster.
- Lowering the risk of rear-end crashes — It can help prevent rear-end collisions, common in slow-moving traffic.
- Increasing visibility for motorcyclists — This reduces the likelihood of being struck by a car changing lanes.
- Giving riders more control over their vehicle — Lane-splitting allows riders to maintain control over their motorcycles in slow-moving traffic, avoiding the risk of overheating or stalling.
“Lane-splitting can improve the safety and efficiency of motorcycle commuting, making it seem like a desirable option for many people on the road,” Nicolaysen noted.
Risks and Hazards that Lane-Splitting Creates
Despite some potential perks, lane-splitting also poses several risks and hazards to motorcyclists and other drivers, Nicolaysen added.
Makes Riders Less Visible to Other Drivers
Firstly, it can be difficult for drivers to see and anticipate a motorcycle riding between lanes, increasing the risk of collisions.
Could Lead to Aggressive or Dangerous Road Interactions
Additionally, some drivers may feel threatened or frustrated by motorcyclists lane-splitting, leading to aggressive or reckless behavior. Lane-splitting can also be dangerous in heavy traffic or high speeds, as there may not be enough space to maneuver safely.
May Increase Instances of Injury in Motorcycle Accidents
Finally, motorcyclists who lane-split may be more likely to experience injuries in the event of an accident due to their increased vulnerability.
“While lane-splitting can benefit motorcyclists, it also presents several potential risks and hazards,and those risks must be addressed by our state’s legislation before passing the bill,” Nicolaysen said.
Keeping Riders and Other Drivers Safe on Colorado Roads
Nicolaysen says motorcycle safety and preventative measures should play a big role in the legislature’s decision regarding HB 23-1059.
Motorcycle accidents are unfortunately common in Colorado. In 2020, there were 140 motorcycle fatalities in the state, accounting for roughly 22% of all traffic deaths. In addition, over 2,000 motorcycle crashes were reported in Colorado in 2020, resulting in thousands of injuries.
“Motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities in Colorado highlight the importance of improving motorcycle safety measures,” said Nicolaysen. “It will be up to the Colorado legislature to determine whether legal lane-splitting will make our roads safer.”
Springs Law Group has two offices in Colorado Springs:
- 1880 Office Club Pointe, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
- 24 S. Weber St., Suite 375, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
About Springs Law Group
Springs Law Group is a Colorado law firm with a talented team of Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys. Serving areas like Castle Rock, Denver, Colorado Springs, and other regions of Colorado, Springs Law Group handles a range of personal injury practice areas, including motorcycle crashes, car accident injuries, dog bites, insurance claims, and liability injuries.
The firm and some of its attorneys have earned various certifications, awards, and recognitions, including an Avvo Rating of 10.0, a Super Lawyers Rising Stars for 2022 award, and Google’s Top Rating for Colorado Attorneys.
Schedule a free consultation with Springs Law Group, located at 1800 Office Club Pointe Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 and 24 S. Weber St., Suite 375, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.
About Springs Law Group Injury Lawyers
Springs Law Group is a Colorado law firm with a talented team of Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys. Serving areas like Castle Rock, Denver, Colorado Springs, and other regions of Colorado, they handle a range of personal injury practice areas, including car accident injuries, dog bites, insurance claims, and liability injuries.