AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Police call lane splitting dangerous and unpredictable. Even when traffic is at a standstill a motorcycle can present a hazard to others and, in the case of a recent crash in Aurora, to themselves.
“Motorcyclists will never win in any type of collision,” Denver police officer Kurt Barnes said, who was on motorcycle patrol for the last 10 years.
“I think a lot of times people just don’t really anticipate what that motorcycle is going to do,” Barnes said.
He said the agility and speed of a motorcycle might help its operator get around but it can be a hazard on the road.
“Nobody wants to be in traffic. Traffic is very frustrating,” Barnes said.
Traffic came to a standstill on Mississippi Avenue and Abilene Street Saturday night, after a three-car crash.
Further down the road, near Blackhawk Street, Aurora Police said a motorcyclist was lane splitting to cut through traffic.
“Lane splitting is probably about one of the most unsafe and unpredictable things a motorcycle can do,” Barnes said.
Barnes said lane splitting can lead the rider into another vehicle that stayed in its own lane or merged into another.
“They’re not anticipating a motorcycle coming up,” Barnes said.
The unpredictability of lane splitting by a motorcyclist can lead to damage or worse, and police said one party is responsible.
“I really think that the responsibility falls 100% on the motorcycle,” Barnes said.
The hazard to their own safety notwithstanding, it’s also a matter of simply following the rules.
“In Colorado, it is unlawful to split lanes,” Barnes said.
The law in the state is as follows: Lane splitting is classified as a class A traffic infraction punishable by a fine and potentially points put on your driving record.