A Sergeant assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, died in a PMV-2 mishap 16 April 2022 in El Paso, Texas, at 2352 local. The Soldier reportedly was attempting to change lanes at a high rate of speed by splitting between two vehicles on the roadway. He lost control, struck the rear of another vehicle, and was thrown onto landscaping rocks. The Soldier was pronounced dead at the scene. It is unknown who notified 911. The Soldier was not wearing a helmet, and it is currently unknown if alcohol or drugs were involved. The Soldier completed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic RiderCourse I (BRC-I) in May 2018: however, he did not complete the Advanced RiderCourse within 12 months of finishing the BRC-I. The safety/unit points of contact are waiting for local law enforcement to release its final report.
Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 25 Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-2 mishaps. This mishap was the 14th off-duty PMV-2 fatality of FY22.
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist passes one or more vehicles between two lanes, often the area of the road where the road line is painted. It is also known as white-lining to seasoned motorcyclists. Typically, motorcyclists will use lane splitting to avoid stopping in heavy traffic.
Currently, “lane splitting” is only legal in seven states, and a state House bill is pending approval in an eighth. It is illegal in Texas.
The California Highway Patrol states the following and provides the general safety tips below:
“Although lane splitting is legal in California, motorcyclists are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when traveling between lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Every rider has the ultimate responsibility for their own decision-making and safety.”
These general safety tips are provided to assist you when riding; however, they are not guaranteed to keep you safe:
• Consider the total environment when you are lane splitting (this includes the width of lanes, the size of surrounding vehicles, as well as current roadway, weather, and lighting conditions).
• Danger increases at greater speed differentials.
• Danger increases as overall speed increases.
• It is typically safer to split between the far-left lanes than between the other lanes of traffic.
• Try to avoid lane splitting next to large vehicles (big rigs, buses, motorhomes, etc.).
• Riding on the shoulder is illegal; it is not considered lane splitting.
• Be visible – avoid remaining in the blind spots of other vehicles or lingering between vehicles.
• Help drivers see you by wearing brightly colored/reflective protective gear and using high beams during daylight hours.