One of the questions you might have asked yourself numerous times while driving is lane splitting. Is lane splitting legal in Alberta? The general idea is that it is illegal to do it anywhere across the world.
But that is not the end of the discussion here. It is similar for lane splitting as well. There are two sides to a coin.
This article will look into lane splitting in Canada, especially in Alberta. By the end, we will know if it is a good thing to split lanes as a motor vehicle driver.
What is Lane Splitting?
The practice of riding a motorbike (or bicycle) through lanes or rows of slow-moving or stopped traffic traveling in the same direction is called lane splitting. Lane sharing, stripe riding, filtering, and white lining are used to describe this practice. Riders can avoid traffic congestion, save time, and potentially be safer than halting behind stationary vehicles.
Another term that goes side by side with lane splitting is lane filtering. Moving amid traffic that is hardly moving (less than 30 km/h) or not moving at all is referred to as lane filtering. It can also refer to the use of space on the outside edge of one-way traffic.
Why Should You Consider Lane Splitting?
Motorcyclists and cyclists in developing and other countries use lane splitting and filtering. Many countries are densely populated and crowded urban areas allow use for practical purposes. There are often considerably more motorbikes, bicycles, and scooters in these countries sharing the road with other cars.
Thus, moving around the busy streets in those countries can be quite challenging. Motorbike drivers prefer splitting lanes every now and then to save time and travel quickly. But the main question is- is lane splitting legal?
Common Lane Splitting Guidelines
Every country has a general guideline for motor vehicle drivers. As a motorcyclist, you can consider following them while riding a bike. This includes following the rules while splitting lanes.
It would be best if you only considered lane splitting when you are traveling at a speed of 10 MPH or less. This speed limit allows riders to react to sudden and uncertain situations. A greater speed means higher risks associated with riding a bike on the streets.
When the vehicles on the road are moving at a speed of more than 30 MPH, you should not consider lane splitting. The danger level rises as the traffic speed increases. For instance, it takes a rider to react to dangerous situations 1 or 2 seconds extra while driving at a 20 MPH speed. Those minor seconds matter a lot when you are driving a vehicle on a busy road.
It is a much safer option if you consider splitting between the first and second lanes. That is primarily because other drivers are usually aware of motorcyclists switching those two lanes. In addition, you should never consider lane splitting near the ramps and exit routes.
Finally, it is highly advisable to check the surrounding environment before lane splitting. It would be best if you took the weather, street dimensions, your vehicle condition, and the overall road into account. This will help you stay alert for any kind of unexpected movement while lane splitting.
The Good Sides of Lane Splitting
Lane splitting can be a good thing for many motorcyclists. Here are a few benefits of lane splitting:
Safer for Motorcyclists
This is undoubtedly the first thing that can come to anyone’s mind. Are motorcyclists safe during lane splitting? Certainly so! The chances of being rear-ended decreases during lane splitting.
Saving Time on the Road
It saves a lot of time to split lanes while riding a bike. This also reduces congestion as the complete road can be utilized.
Protection from Environment
This can be true in certain circumstances. Suppose it is raining heavily and sideways. Motorcyclists will be much safer by being beside a car by lane splitting.
Other Drivers Know Your Presence
Let’s face it, a huge truck or bus driver doesn’t always pay complete attention to small bikes. The best way to draw attention to them is by lane splitting. This can help you avoid sudden traffics and accidents on the road.
The Few Bad Sides of Lane Splitting
The other side of the coin for lane splitting is its disadvantages. Here are a few to consider:
Exposure to Dangers
The space between two traffic lanes is very minimal. In this space, many things can happen. For example, a car might open its door without a prior Signal. Or someone from the car might have his or her hands outside the window. This kind of thing can be difficult to anticipate for a bike rider.
The Fault of Motorcyclists During the Collision
It will surely be your fault if you get involved in a minor or major collision. Motorcyclists are usually at fault during such incidents. So, be prepared!
Increased Possibility of Road Accidents
When two or more automobiles are in close proximity, the risk of road rage increases. Many drivers are hesitant to share their lane, and some will resent motorcyclists for cutting in front of them. It can become a big roadside fight between bike riders and car drivers.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Canada?
Lane splitting and lane filtering are not yet permitted in Canada. Several organizations have continued to lobby their municipal and provincial governments to legalize lane splitting and lane filtering. Maybe lane splitting can be safer for a bike rider. And on top of everything, it can save time for everyone. Thus, it’s a continuous fight to make lane splitting legal in Canada.
Lane splitting in Canada can be dangerous if not done with caution. Riding a bike on a busy road is always challenging and risky. So, if you are a regular lane splitter, it might be time to understand the law first. You can also be the judge to understand the good and bad sides of lane splitting and act accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is lane splitting?
Lane splitting means riding a motorcycle between lanes of slow-moving cars on the road. Bike riders might also split lanes when there is long traffic and no car is moving at all.
Is it legal to lane split in Canada?
Lane splitting in Canada is completely illegal. But the fight is still on to make it legal for bike riders.
Where is lane splitting legal?
Lane splitting is illegal in Canada. But it is not strictly forbidden. It is legal in some parts of the US to split lanes during high traffic.
Can motorcycles lane split in Alberta?
Lane splitting is illegal in every province in Canada. And that includes Alberta as well. But the authorities are starting to minimize strictness over the practice.
Why should lane splitting be legal?
There are many good sides to lane splitting. That includes saving time, traffic congestion, and others. Thus, lane splitting should be legal in Canada.