ONTARIO (CBSLA.com) — Recent deadly motorcycle crashes in the Inland Empire have reignited the controversial debate of lane-splitting, which involves the legal act of bikers riding between cars on freeways.
A 40-year-old Corona man was killed on Monday when his bike clipped a vehicle on Highway 91.
The victim was then thrown off his motorcycle and run over by the trailer of a semi-truck.
Biker Robert Gutierrez told KCAL9′s Tom Wait he was involved in a lane-splitting accident on the 5 Freeway in Santa Ana when the driver of a van made an illegal lane change.
“I was splitting lanes and he was coming out and I was like, ‘Oh, should I avoid him or not?’” he said.
California has no laws preventing lane-splitting—only guidelines from the California Highway Patrol that specify the safest way to do the technique.
A 2012 study by the state and UC Berkeley researchers showed almost three-quarters of bikers lane-split, with only about 15 percent reporting they were involved in crashes.
“Don’t drive a car if you’re not going to signal. You signal, I’ll slow down and let you change lanes,” said biker Rocky Palumbo.
“I feel like it’s dangerous. I see a lot of younger guys doing it and they don’t realize what can happen,” said driver Lisa Simpson.
The state’s Office of Traffic Safety is conducting a review of motorcycle crashes and will note how many involve lane-splitting.