The relatively narrow width of a motorcycle on the road allows its
rider to employ many strategies not available to drivers of other
Motorcyclists can choose their position within their lane
to avoid road surface hazards, other vehicles, pedestrians or
other mobile hazards, intrusions, or potential intrusions into
Motorcyclists may seek positions where they are in view
of other drivers and pedestrians.
Motorcyclists may select a position that maximizes their
view of the road and traffic ahead.
All states permit motorcycles to use high occupancy vehicle (HOV)
lanes with a single rider on the motorcycle. Limited studies evaluating
this practice have shown no traffic or safety problems (Jernigan,
A motorcycles narrow width can allow it to pass between
lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars on roadways where the lanes
are wide enough to offer an adequate gap. This option can provide
an escape route for motorcyclists who would otherwise be trapped
or struck from behind. There is evidence (Hurt,
1981) that traveling between lanes of stopped or slow-moving
cars (i.e., lane splitting)
on multiple-lane roads (such as interstate highways) slightly
reduces crash frequency compared with staying within the lane
and moving with other traffic.