ORLANDO, Fla. -- This week's question has to do with lane splitting -- the act of riding your motorcycle between lanes of slow or stopped traffic.

James Fermon writes:

"When my family came into town several weeks ago, we noticed several motorcyclists lane splitting and I realized when asked I had no idea whether it's legal in Florida to do this.  Why do motorcyclists do this?  Is it safer for them?"

Most motorcyclists will tell you that there is a right way to lane split and a wrong way to do it.  

However, whichever way it's done is illegal in Florida.

"I'm a supervisor and I check many reports here in Orange County that actually have something to do with lane splitting," said Sgt. Derrick Rahming of the Florida Highway Patrol.  "They don't necessarily say it in the report but you can definitely tell that the person was doing something they shouldn't have been doing rather than staying in one lane like they should."

We also spoke with Mehmet Sokman, owner of 2 Wheels Heaven off of Forsyth Road in Orlando. Sokman is a professional racer himself.

In his opinion, lane splitting is safer than the alternative.

In my country, I'm from Turkey, I know three people that have died, Sokman said. "They were just waiting at a traffic light and got hit by a car."

So is lane splitting safer? That's up for debate.  However, a recent UC Berkeley study concluded that "lane splitting is likely to result in a reduction in injuries." 

In fact, lane splitting is only legal in California.  Will other states follow? 

Riders like Sokman hope so.

"There should be some rules to do it," he said.  "You should educated people to do that.  But it's one hundred safer than not splitting lanes."

The Florida Highway Patrol says that for now it's business as usual.

"I think that it's going to become a law eventually," Rahming said.  "Just right now it hasn't started as of yet.  But as of right now, we are going to treat it as it is.  Lane splitting is illegal."

Thanks for your question, James Fermon!

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