The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Lane splitting and Filtering should be legalized.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 933 times Debate No: 72260
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




When riding a motorcycle of standard size you tend to find that the other vehicles on the road lose sight of you. Cell phones, GPS, passengers, and even watches distract drivers into accidents every single day. The most common collision associated with these distractions is a rear ended impact (most commonly at a traffic stopping point). Collisions in closed or caged motor vehicles are never good, yet the more severe collision type is found when an enclosed vehicle hits an open vehicle. In these accidents, people tend to be crushed or have their necks broken due to the pressure change. These accidents are not acceptable for the crowd that truly uses open cockpit vehicles as a daily driver. So what do we do to prevent our death? We filter. To filter is to go between motor vehicles or around on the right hand side at traffic stopping points to prevent a feared (most likely fatal) rear end collision. My stance is that bikers should have the right to protect themselves by filtering or lane splitting when the need is there. Where it is not illegal to operate a phone and drive it should at least be legal to filter.


As my opponent has not set up any regulations regarding the context or boundaries of the debate, I will do so myself. The BoP rests on myself as the Con position. I must effectively prove that there are more dangers to legalizing lane splitting and/or filtering than there is dangers existing in the status quo. To begin this debate, I would like to give some clarification by providing definitions of key words in the resolution, defined in context of the current debate.

Lane splitting: Lane splitting refers to a two-wheeled vehicle moving between roadway lanes of vehicles that are proceeding in the same direction. More narrowly, it refers to overtaking slow or stopped vehicles by traveling between lanes.

Filtering: synonymous to lane splitting, but also referring to passing on the outer edge, not necessarily exclusive to between driving lanes.

With these terms define, let’s begin the argumentation.

American entrepreneur Robert Ringer was once quoted in saying, “Reality isn’t the way you wish things to be, nor the way they appear to be, but the way they actually are.” This quote is directly applicable to the scenario presented in the resolution. True reality shows harms, rather than benefits, regardless of wishes or appearance. I will provide the following contentions to prove that lane filtering/splitting should continue to be illegal.

C1: Lane splitting/filtering is inherently dangerous.

Jeff Barlett, Consumer Reports, May 4th, 2014
“14.9 percent [of lane splitting riders] either hit a vehicle or were they themselves hit. About half (45.2 percent) said they nearly hit a vehicle—no surprise given the tight squeeze often associated with lane splitting. Of those involved in an accident, 34.6 percent said they struck a car side mirror, 11.1 percent had minor injuries, and 9.9 percent suffered severe injuries. When lane splitting, a quarter of the motorcycles (24.1 percent) reported going 5 mph faster than other traffic. A larger 42.1 percent travel 10 mph faster than traffic, and 20.5 said they go 15 mph faster than traffic. Lane splitting is common in California, and while drivers see it as dangerous (63 percent either somewhat or strongly disapprove of it), motorcyclists continue this time-saving technique despite the risks.”

Dangers resulting from lane splitting and filtering are increasingly evident. Further, public majority is against the legalization of such an action.

C2: Lane splitting/filtering can disturb other drivers.
Charles Fleming (journalist) Los Angeles Times, July 30th, 2014
“Evidence suggests drivers are uncomfortable with, or irritated by, lane-splitting.More than three-quarters of drivers interviewed for a 2012 study [COTS] said they thought lane-splitting was unsafe. Almost half thought it was illegal. Two-thirds said they disapproved.”

It’s obvious that a majority of individuals disapprove of lane splitting, and feel unsafe when affected by it, as line-splitters are difficult to spot, thus increasing the risk of wrecks. With viable and credible sources to back up the reasons why lane splitting should stay illegal, let’s move on to my opponent’s case.

My opponent begins by claiming that many things distract drivers of vehicles, and that endangers bikers. While true, he/she is missing a couple of key components; the first of which being of how the distractions are dangerous to others besides bikers. Anyone in the path of a distracted or preoccupied driver is in a sketchy situation. The second point, however, is that lane splitting cannot solve for the problem. Legalizing lane splitting refers to legalization for lane splitting at any time. When a wreck is looming, any motorcyclist would lane split to avoid collision, and would not be punished by a fine, citation, etc. Lane splitting creates a dangerous situation, particularly for the young and inexperienced.

In conclusion, lane splitting would only do harm to individuals and does not require being legalized for bikers to avoid accidents. Thank you. :)

Debate Round No. 1


Seeing that all vehicles can suffer from potentially life threatening scenarios at any given time while travelling, it would be fair to say that not all potential collisions can be seen. As someone who actively hyper-focuses on driving when doing so I can say that you do not even begin to see a majority of your own close calls. The safety of bikers should not rely solely on their vision but safety precautions as well. While enclosed vehicles are guided by safety measures upon their creation, bikes do not have harm prevention built in. That is something that can only come with riding experience. If enclosed vehicles have safety buffers, riders deserve some too.

The uncomfortably of other drivers should not be of concern when changing lanes. If a driver is not capable of driving within his or her own lane competently, they should not be driving. It is safe to say that the space between two vehicles can on a majority of occasions on roadways hold a motorcycle without issue or contact. As a driver and a rider I can say that I feel uncomfortable with the vague laws regarding blind spots on SUV or vehicles with length. However, there is no debate to made over my nerves. If nerves were what made laws I believe we would not be seeing the types of vehicles meant for destroying corn fields stacked up on tractor trailers going down I-44.

Collision avoidance being the purpose of passing a law enabling filtering, the point of hazards within filtering are necessary for the debate. My argument is that when one gets an M class license (whatever class rating it is for motorcycle in the state in question) they have to undergo a skills test that ensures they are capable of riding a motorcycle through tight courses and challenging cones. That being said, any rider who has a license is well equipped in skill, enough so to pass between the not so narrow gap between cars. More importantly is that they are armed with the power of judgement. This ability which is granted to all on the road is inherently important. Licensing of an individual proves they have obtained this and can make proper judgement in traffic. This being said, motorcyclists should not be causing problems when riding. If there is an issue and outside source other than the act of filtering should be investigated. In my belief, a majority of these wrecks have partial if not entire blame on the vehicle changing lanes, as often it is that vehicle that did not check their own rear-view and door mirrors before switching (an illegal change).


While my opponent has brought up some good points, he has failed to address arguments I made to his initial case. Please take that into consideration. Let's begin this rebuttal.

My opponent's has made three points in this rebuttal, first of which concerns accidents themselves and inability of drivers to completely avoid them. This is a statement we can all agree on. However, my opponent has yet to prove how legalizing a dangerous practice (being lane splitting) will prevent these accidents. Furthermore, I have shown the dangers, general public displeasure with such a practice, and credibility to all of these aspects. Though we cannot totally predict accidents on our own, we shouldn't legalize something that has been proven to be fallible and even deadly. Besides this, it is essential to realize that lane splitting doesn't preserve motorcyclists' safety, but rather creates a more dangerous situation for the driver.

His second point is in regards to the concern of drivers, and their "inability" to travel safely in the presence of lane splitting. Basically, my opponent says that if a driver cannot deal with lane splitting, he/she should not be driving. This, however, eliminates a learning experience (which every driver must have to become a good driver) and younger individuals driving. Furthermore, it is not unnatural or wrong in any way, form, or fashion for a driver to become nervous when a motorcyle lane splits beside it. In reality, there often isn't much room between the two vehicles in the first place. Adding another moving object, regardless of size, is an added danger to the driving experience. It has also been proven that most motorcyclists speed in order to get through the gap quickly. Any moving object is more difficult to control at higher speeds, thus ramping up the chance of an accident.

In his third and final argument, my opponent finally details his intentions for the debate, and more clearly presents the plan he has in mind for this legalization policy. However, he fails to point out that courses as such, and tests, would cost money. The last thing our economy and government needs is to pay money to an inherently and most definitely proven dangerous practice.

I would lastly like to point out that my opponent has brought forth no evidence to back up his claims or validate his statements. On the other hand, I have given my arguments by using credible sources in my case, and referring back to them throughout this rebuttal. Thank you for a great rebuttal, Pro, and good luck in the rest of htis debate. :)
Debate Round No. 2


My apologies as I had thought I had made a few things quite clear. Firstly, on your last rebuttal point, these tests are not new. They are in practice as we speak and they are mandatory everywhere. There would be no monetary issue to be found whatsoever.

On your second issue you mention that there is a learning experience. That is something I cannot deny. All drivers must learn to drive somewhere. However, it is seen as commonplace that until you know how to operate safely you drive on a parking lot. Of course this isn't a written rule but it is one that is for the most part considered. Regardless of preparedness, you should be able to keep your vehicle in the middle of your lane at all times. Changing lanes should be simple as well.

I had thought it was rather self explanatory how lane splitting works. We both defined it, and on top of that I labeled that lane splitting is a safer alternative from the standard sitting at the back for motorcyclists. You sir are very correct on that I have not sited any sources. I think that if you have to site a source for a debate of this caliber you must not know much on it (aka: you don't need to win the debate just because I didn't give you any sources of quotes that are just that. Quotes). This truly is a great big issue for me. This one hits home.


Thank you for a response, most debates end in forfeiture. :)

My opponent's first point explains that he had made things clear. However, just because this legislation is being tested (mandatory or otherwise) doesn't make it permissible or plausible in society. He also claims that there would be no issues found with this legislation. But as the evidence I brought up earlier shows, there is problems with the system. (And yes, evidence matters. I will explain later.) These issues include, but are not limited to: public disapproval, nervousness of drivers, and heightened risk of accidents. Any of these three should be concerns when implementing or legalizing something such as lane splitting/filtering.

My opponent's next argument regards lane splitting itself, and how it works. He correctly mentions we have both defined it, and obviously know what it entails. However, simply labeling lane splitting as a safer alternative gives no credibility. The reason being is this: my opponent has not once explained HOW lane splitting is safer than motorcylcists just sitting in the back. Yes, he has made blatant claims that it is, multiple times. Everything true must be proven. Thus, without proving with a logical argument or evidence (which gives needed credibility) lane splitting cannot be truly considered a safer or even safe alternative. Because of this, my opponent has not fulfilled the resolution or the BoP. As the BoP rests primarily on myself, I have in fact proven that there are more dangers to lane splitting than the status quo while my opponent has not made any feasible arguments as to A) why lane splitting is safe, or B) why the status quo is not effective enough.

My opponent basically concedes to the point about necessary learning experience. However, he still argues that individuals must practice in a parking lot prior to driving on roads. While true, there is another vital part of experience that every driver must learn; driving in traffic. While parking lot driving can get you comfortable behind the wheel, everyone must learn to deal with traffic and other drivers arround them to sufficiently drive. Lane splitting, especially to individuals in the aforementioned phase, can be hazardous and even deadly.

In regards to evidence, and the provision of sources, I would like to set up a model example of how arguments made without evidence are permeable and transparent. Let's take McDonald's as a frame of reference. I can say that "94% of American's consider McDonald's a dangerous restaurant." However, that doesn't make the statement true. On the other hand, if I said "In his book "'Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Eric Schlosser explains the mentality behind fast food establishments' aggressive marketing towards children. According to Schlosser, they try to immediately seek dependance from kids at an extremely young age. Schlosser references another book written by James U. McNeal, called "Kids As Customers," in which McNeal explains that fast food companies want children to see them as a "mom or dad, grandma or grandpa." If companies find a way to foster this relationship with a child at a young age, it is more likely that the child will establish belief and trust in the company.' (Huffington Post Article, March 13, 2014)" you could look it up and find that it is actually a valid source, one that has credibility and valid points. Also note that the majority of writers are experienced and experts in their field. Their "quotes" are backed up with studies and polls, just as the evidence I provided. None of them were merely quotations, but mainly statistics regarding the subject under dispute.

To opponent: I am aware by your profile picture that this subject is important to you. However, you have not provided any legitimate explanations as to HOW, specifically HOW, lane splitting makes a less dangerous situation for the biker. I have enjoyed debating you, and wish you luck on further debates. :)

Thank you for your time. :)

Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Interesting debate on a topic I knew very little about. Con won this debate in arguments as he brought up 2 main key points and he even backed his arguments with evidence which added to his credibility. Pro ended up dropping the second point and that alone gives Con the debate.