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Readers React

Pros and cons of legalizing lane-splitting

To the editor: One would expect that when a collision occurs between two moving vehicles, one of the drivers is responsible for the accident as a result of not obeying one or more traffic laws. Legalizing lane splitting — as AB 51, passed recently by the California Assembly, would do — will create a legal dilemma. ("Legalize lane-splitting, with some caveats," editorial, June 2)

If a collision occurs while a motorcyclist passes a car using the same lane and complies with the law (not exceeding 50 miles per hour and not traveling more than 15 mph faster than traffic), who is responsible for the collision? Neither the motorcyclist nor the car driver broke the law.

Avi Ziv, Calabasas

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To the editor: Thank you for your editorial supporting the legalization of splitting. As someone who (apparently successfully) has been practicing this fine art since 1967, there's a simple "rule" that the motorcyclist needs to follow:

When lane sharing, proceed at a speed that allows you to safely glance in the rear-view mirrors and return your gaze forward. It's about 10 to 12 mph faster than traffic. Higher than that, you don't have time to react to a sudden change in traffic conditions.

As an aside, I want to personally thank the countless motorists who daily move over in their lanes to make way for motorcycles. To you it may be a small thing, but to us it is a priceless courtesy.

David Hill, Hermosa Beach

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To the editor: I'm sick and tired of wondering each day as I ride in the carpool lanes if I'm going to get killed by a lane-splitter or if I'm going to kill one.

Lane-splitting in carpool lanes is extremely risky. Start with the speed differential between HOV and regular lanes, add in a markedly smaller moving object going faster than occupants in either lane, and to make it even spicier, throw in the scofflaw numskulls who spastically cross the line and cut into the HOV lane, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

Barbara Jackson, Cerritos

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