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Nearly A Fifth Of All Motorcycle Accidents Involve Lane Splitting

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) -- Every day on average in the Bay Area, someone gets hurt riding a motorcycle on the highway, or city streets.

"We see them in backups all the time, every single day – motorcycle down," KCBS Traffic Anchor Kim Wonderley said.

Many of those accidents involve lane splitting - the term commonly used to define a motorcyclist's use of the space between two vehicles on the highway. While it can be very dangerous, it is, strictly speaking, not illegal.  In fact, a bill awaiting Governor Jerry Brown's signature will make the practice legal. Under that law, it would be up to CHP officers to decide if riders split lanes safely.

But, even CHP officers admit it can frightening.

"Anything that happens out there, a motorcycle will always be at the losing end," CHP motorcycle officer Tim Laveesting told KCBS.

Laveesting responds to lane splitting accidents several times a year. But, his Superiors in Sacramento don't how many there are statewide. Because when the CHP reports on a motorcycle crash, they don't always keep track of what caused it. The Highway Patrol told KCBS they are working to change that.

A U.C. Berkeley study analyzed nearly 6,000 California collisions involving motorcycles in 2012 and 2013.

17-percent of all accidents involved lane splitting. Most were during commute-time traffic.

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