By on October 27, 2014

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Motorcycles passing through slow traffic on either side of the rider is a rarity in the United States, where only California officially gives it the thumbs-up when conditions are safe to do so. A recent study of lane-splitting further confirms the safety and acceptance of the practice.

According to Autoblog, the study — conducted every year since 2012 by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California, Berkeley — reports 80.6 percent of riders split lanes on freeways, 70.4 percent on non-freeways, and 62.1 percent on both.

As far as safety goes, 4.7 percent of riders told UC Berkeley they were hit by a vehicle on the freeway, down from 8.6 percent in 2012. Non-freeway riders saw the biggest drop in lane-splitting accidents, falling from 8.3 percent in 201 and 7.4 percent in 2013, to just 2 percent this year.

Finally, the rate of acceptance has gone up among drivers, with 46.3 percent believing lane-splitting to be legal on both freeways and non-freeways, up 9.7 percent from last year’s 36.6 percent.

This year’s study surveyed 1,660 — 951 drivers and 709 riders — from 35 cities in 12 counties in around the Bay Area and Southern California.

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140 Comments on “UC Berkeley Study: Lane-Splitting Safety, Acceptance Increase In 2014...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    Knowing how few drivers signal before changing lanes, I know it gives me the willies every time I see it when I’m driving in CA.

    • 0 avatar
      lOmnivore Sobriquet

      A car driver has to turn his front wheels if he’s about to any change from going straight.

      That’s the thing to look at, permanently when riding a 2-wheels doing these practises.
      I did it for 7 solid years on the circular highway that surrounds Paris. Pretty packed as you can guess. Actually the nearest danger came from the flux a 2-wheelers doing the same, and at commuting hours it is a steady flux too, with different speeds, different machines, from/to different journey lengths.

      I was some kind of a courrier so did it all day long, 6 day a week, 7 years. Rode the lovely Vespa PX 125 ccm, a real workhorse which you can load things on (try that with any ‘roadkiller venom super motorbike’…) Very fun to ride too (2-stroke right on the wheel with solid transmission.) Lazy breaks…

      About riding between lanes, once you keep checking all the front wheels of the cars, nicely lined up normally, permanently so, and ckeck not getting busted from the rear by some suburbing superbiking employee from or to his office, already (or still) in the mood of his wild looser traffic outter highways speeds, just keeping some 5-10(maximum!)km/h above the cars’ speed whatever it might be, is safe.

      The real gamble is about that front foor suddenly opening in full traffic, for no reason, and that you cannot forsee. Which never happens. (?)

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        A few bikers I know complain about the size of the driver and passenger side view mirrors. On a car that the driver can’t track straight, the open space narrows considerably for the rider, though not for the bike. One Cali old timer called the early 1970s the “golden age of biking”, because there were fewer cars and drifting drivers, and passenger side mirrors were rare. Another factor in lower accidents is the crackdown by the military on motorcycles. Fewer aggressive young soldiers and sailors on motorcycles had to help.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Yes, we love this. Spend 9 months rolling out in Iraq looking for IEDs with all manner of defects that should have deadlined my truck only to come home and have to jump through 37 hoops just to ride my KLR650. In all honesty the PITA that the Army makes it is one of the reasons I sold it and frankly this sort of thing is one of the reasons I won’t be around a day after I hit 20.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        My Comment was eaten! Bigger side mirrors, more drivers drifting in the lane, Fewer motorcycles allowed on base.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Two replies disappeared! Come on, wordpress, let’s meet in the alley and settle this once and for all!

        • 0 avatar

          Lane-splitting has been allowed in the country (Netherlands) I reside for ages, but only when freeway traffic advances at a slow pace. I have never even heard of a serious accident that involves a motorcyclist maneuvering through freeway traffic. It requires discipline and in particular a biker with a keen eye that knows when to pass cars. Perhaps in the future (with all cars featuring lane assist), freeway lanes can be made smaller, or a dedicated ‘small lane’ can be used by motorcyclist and narrow track vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Thanks TTAC for retrieving my comments. Now I can look at them and guess what triggered the electronic Gestapo. Right away, I see I used the forbidden word “s*de”. I wonder why it’s so bad?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “when conditions are safe to do so”

    This seems like a big unknown. Having been I biker on and off my whole life I’ve never done this, although tempted. Besides being illegal most everywhere it also seems a little douchy to do

    • 0 avatar

      Lane-splitting has been allowed in the country (Netherlands) I reside for ages, but only when freeway traffic advances at a slow pace. I have never even heard of a serious accident that involves a motorcyclist maneuvering through freeway traffic. It requires discipline and in particular a biker with a keen eye that knows when to pass cars. Perhaps in the future (with all cars featuring lane assist), freeway lanes can be made smaller, or a dedicated ‘small lane’ can be used by motorcyclist and narrow track vehicles.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “when conditions are safe to do so”

    This seems like a big unknown. Having been I biker on and off my whole life I’ve never done this, although tempted. Besides being illegal most everywhere it also seems like a butt-head thing to do

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “when conditions are safe to do so”

    This seems like a big unknown. Having been I biker on and off my whole life I’ve never done this, although tempted. Besides being illegal most everywhere it also seems like a jerky thing to do

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Having been I biker on and off my whole life I’ve never done this, although tempted. Besides being illegal most everywhere it also seems a like a but-head move

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Maybe it’s becoming more acceptable, but as a biker on and off most of my life I’ve never done this, although tempted. Besides being illegal it’s kind of a jerk move

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      It’s about as much of a jerk move as walking through an open door, despite the existence of Elephants that may not be able to do so.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I’ve never understood why some consider lane splitting a jerk move. I’m a “cager,” yet when I see a motorcycle lane splitting I figure that is one less car occupying space in front of me. What’s the problem?

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    A study based on interviews and lacking real accident data?

  • avatar
    highrpm

    The one idea that I wish could catch on is Filtering. Imagine lane splitting but only when traffic is stopped. You are essentially riding in between the stopped cars to get to the front of a traffic light.

    Something like this would save a ton of time on commutes. I can imagine it being a huge incentive for more people to get into motorcycling.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      You assume that a “ton of time is wasted” in those situations. If so, the better solution is to fix the lights so it isn’t a waste. You also assume it is good for more people to motorcycle. Despite being smaller, they tend to pollute more, and safety is much worse for motorcyclists than car drivers regardless of interview results.

      When driving through CA, what I notice is that the whole “when safe to do so” is a pointless caveat. I saw plenty of lane splitting, but not a single instance of it being done safely. Also, I only got stuck by one accident, and it was due to a motorcyclist splitting lanes. That’s also my experience from spending time in other countries where lane splitting is the norm. I fully realize that’s just anecdotal experience, but it certainly doesn’t help me be persuaded that lane splitting is either safe or beneficial.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        If all it takes is futzing with lights, why bother having multilane roads? In the real world paralellization works. As in, you can get more human commuters though a given section of roadway, if each of them takes up 6×2 feet of road space, than if they take up 15×6.

        Just like in software design, paralellization is harder to reason about and achieve than simply running everything in a single thread, one after the other. Which is why it’s perhaps safer to keep those not sufficiently competent to do so, in cages.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Wouldn’t parallelization argue for narrower lanes? A six foot wide car in a standard 12 foot wide lane is a waste, assuming people can drive straight at 65 mph.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            It would. Four 3 foot wide bike lanes replacing one 12 foot wide cage lane……..

            In The Age of Incompetence, assuming people can……., is always a bit overoptimistic.

      • 0 avatar
        lOmnivore Sobriquet

        “…and safety is much worse for motorcyclists than car drivers regardless of…”

        Of course.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Filtering…

      Watch the mirror and throw your door open at the right moment. Motorcycle filter.

      “Gee, Officer, I thought I saw my engine smoking and wanted to get out and look. I had no idea this jackass was coming.
      He’ll pay for my door, right?”

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        People have died from doorings. This is not funny.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        When your engine is smoking you should pull over and get your car to a safe place.
        What you are suggesting is incredibly immature.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Monkeys being stupid enough to believe opening doors in the middle of traffic is a good thing to do, is why monkeys belong in cages sucking smog for hours. While those of us higher up the evolutionary ladder get to where we’re going on time and in a somewhat more evolved fashion….

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        The only questin with that logic would be if you watching your mirror constitutes premeditation and that is a question for the jury.

        Not sure how this would differ from a motorcyclist seeing someone smoking in traffic and tossing a baloon full of gasoline in there since everyone knows smoking kills.

        Idiotic.

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      Oh yeah, great reasoning, let’s encourage newbies by encouraging one of the more dangerous maneuvers. Sorry, filterers are just as much D-bags as those who split lanes. Just on Friday while riding my non-motorized bike, I had to avoid one of those filterers just two cars from the intersection. With black tinted helmet, no mirrors, he pulled between the cars and tried to get around them on the right. Our front wheels were 2 inches apart when I stopped. F you and your filterers, I say.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Fortunately for you, and seemingly unfortunately for most police officers involved in shootouts with bad guys; the net effect of 2 inches is no different from 2 miles.

        Anyway, I can pretty much guarantee you that on average, people who filter on motos pay much closer attention to the whereabouts and movements of other trafficants than the average cager. The guy you ran into may have been an exception, if he didn’t see you. But those who filter without seeing stuff, won’t be bothering others for too long, so it’s a bit of a self limiting problem.

        IOW, filtering does not equal “not paying attention.” Which is what your nemesis seems to have been guilty of.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Filtering and lane splitting is the same thing. The practical difference between a car being stopped, and moving 0.0000000000001 mpg, is nil.

      Given two distinct words at our disposal, it makes more sense to use lane splitting to describe splitting on freeways, and filtering on surface streets. As in; filtering is doing what bicyclists are doing at the same speed as motorcyclists, only without any protective gear. And even in police states so oppressive that their degenerate little constituent dronelings cheer their overlords on for arresting someone simply for being sufficiently competent to get to where he’s going faster than the average caged snail.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Being an old and bitter buck, I can’t say I am onboard with lane splitting. I have always contended that when on two wheels, you have to act like you are on four wheels so that you will be SEEN by those on/in four wheels. I nearly killed a guy here on the East Coast because he was lane splitting and I did not see him. He was upset with me but you can’t have it both ways. In certain circumstances I can sort of see the benefit but not at highway speed. Cars are always jockeying from lane to lane to avoid slow downs and if a motorcycle pops up during one of these maneuvers, it’s bye bye. Not worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      You should probably look around your car to see if someone’s there before switching lanes. I cut my driving teeth in the Northeast so I know how it is up there. If anything that should have made you that much more vigilant/space-aware.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This. They can wait in line like everybody else. It would be similar to using the hard shoulder as your own lane if you had a small car. Not ok. The center dotted line is not your personal through way.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        So basically, your rationalization against lane splitting = “if I have to suffer, everyone has to suffer”

        LOL

        The shoulder is for emergency vehicles and stalled cars; the space between lanes generally isn’t. Down where I am there is about a car and a half of space between cars in adjacent lanes- plenty of room to maneuver on a bike in standstill traffic. So the shoulder analogy doesn’t work here.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      You checked your mirrors, put on your turn signal and waited a few seconds, right?

      Because although my intuitions as a rider are typically correct, in that drivers are complete imbeciles who will do the absolutely stupidest possible thing at any given opportunity, that does not mean that I’m a mindreader. Assuming the worst has kept me an accident-free rider for >20 years.

      • 0 avatar
        Stumpaster

        No, that’s not how this is done. You are in 2 lanes of traffic, and you see there is no car in the lane next to you, you can move into that space, with turn signal and all that jazz. But just because some D nozzle decided that he is entitled to a third lane does not make it a third lane. Plus, when he gets hit, it really is a hit by HIM from behind. i.e. no keeping a reasonable distance to a vehicle ahead of him, which in most states results in an insurance surcharge.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I have been rear ended on a bike sitting in traffic. Had lane splitting been legal this would not have happened as I would have pulled forward and the jackwagon would have instead rear ended the car. Fortunately he had time to slow down and everyone was OK except for my Kawasaki.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’ve been ‘ Threading The Needle ‘ for 40 + years now and agree ,it saves time and reduces traffic but a few ASSHOLES insist on zooming past way too fast and scaring the Cagers plus other @$$hats in cages and trucks , think it’s funny to deliberately cut you off .

    Everywhere in the entire world except America , accepts lane splitting .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      In Brazil its as common as the sun rising in the east. However given the general grid lock and shear number of people on scooters/bikes (cheap transportation = very popular) they pretty much don’t have a choice. Still very worrisome to have bikes clipping your mirrors constantly. The locals even have a name for them: “crazy dogs”. They beep their little horns to warn drivers when they pass each car or bus(!). The main thing I remember from spending two weeks in Brazil on a project were the buffet restaurants, soccer (sorry fOOOOTbAAAAlll) on TV constantly and the insane traffic. I’ve been all over the world including Russia and Italy – but Brazil takes the cake for motorbikes always lane splitting. It appears to be the only way to ride a bike over there.

  • avatar
    Timtoolman

    I’m sorry, but this is completely moronic. How many times have you seen this with bicyclists weaving in and out of lanes, right before getting clobbered by a car? I will admit to taking advantage of faster lanes, especially when the poke in front of me is distracted and, um, poking along. I’ve seen other drivers do the same, and it involves a quick decision. Now, add some hotshot motorcyclist, weaving in and out of lanes. Already, he is hard to see. Suddenly, as you the driver, go to make a quick lane change, some guy on bike with incredible acceleration, shoots between lanes and gets run over.

    YOU’RE at fault, because it’s legal for him to shoot between lanes? I’m all for getting there faster, but everyone knows what “safely splitting lanes” involves. You want to give bikers an advantage? Give them their own skinny lane.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Lane splitting is not “weaving in and out of lanes”.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      So what you are saying is that you’re the type who makes “a quick lane change” without checking your mirrors or blind spots. Any accidents you cause shouldn’t be your fault, right?

      The funny thing is that your proposed solution is to give bikers “their own skinny lane.” How is that different from lane splitting? They effectively get their own lanes, and you need to be careful when you cross these. It’s a basic driving skill.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Lane-splitting works where there is a culture of acceptance and where almost everyone behaves accordingly. Unfortunately, the United States is not such a place. I long ago gave up riding my motorcycle in traffic, but I did lane-split on occasion (until I got a ticket in almost-stopped traffic on the NJ helix at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel). I see too many riders lane-splitting at speed differentials greater than 10 mph and at overall speeds greater than about 15 mph (which are my personal maximums for the practice).

    As much as I love motorcycling, there’s way too much bad behavior on two wheels for me to have much sympathy for those riders when things go wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      That ticket in the Lincoln Tunnel was essentially for your own safety. By your admission, “Lane-splitting works where there is a culture of acceptance and where almost everyone behaves accordingly.” As lane splitting is not legal in NY, there is no culture of acceptance and drivers do not behave accordingly. NY drivers are not looking for lane splitters because they aren’t supposed to be there.

      • 0 avatar
        bk_moto

        While it’s true that lane splitting is illegal in New York, I would disagree generally with you on the culture of acceptance. I have been riding a motorcycle in NYC for almost 10 years now and when traffic is stopped I will sometimes filter or lane split between the cars. Within the city limits, this is widely accepted and tolerated, sometimes even police officers will wave me through. Car drivers often even go out of their way to make a little more room for me to get through which I greatly appreciate.

        Very rarely have I had a driver try to close the gap on me as I approached, but it has happened. When it does happen, I wait patiently for them to close the gap down real tight, then when traffic inevitably stops, I just go around them on the other side of their car since the space is now huge and they can’t move. Then I merrily carry on my way.

        That said, the NYPD Highway Unit definitely does not approve of lane splitting and when on the highways within NYC it’s them you have to watch out for more than the motorists.

        Now, once you get outside of NYC proper, yes the general public’s attitude toward lane splitting gets a little less permissive.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    ITT: drivers display their ignorance, jealousy and misdirected anger at motorcyclists.

    ~8 comments in, we have already had

    – a display of a complete lack of understanding of what lane splitting is
    – a joke about injuring/killing motorcyclists for riding between lanes
    – several stories of folks blaming motorcyclists for their own bad driving almost causing accidents.

    As a ~28 year NYCer who drives and rides bikes with and without motors, I’ve heard it all, and most of it is wrong. Motorcyclists pay road taxes and are also human beings who have a right to live. Lane splitting hurts nobody when done correctly- I used to do it all the time in NYC, on my bicycle and motorcycle, when traffic got too thick; and cops would often wave me by to do it. They know that sitting on a hot bike in traffic SUCKS, and can see right away if someone is lane splitting reasonably.

    IMO the guidelines for reasonable lanesplitting are pretty simple…. traffic shouldn’t be moving faster than ~20 MPH, and the rider shouldn’t be doing more than ~15 MPH faster than traffic. In my thousands of miles riding in NYC, I only had two incidents: one, where one of TTAC’s B&B swerved into my lane intentionally in a jealous rage, and another where I misjudged space and scratched some really hot lady’s Mercedes ML. If everyone is taught to be aware of and on board with it it’s totally fine, as the increasing awareness and safety of it in California shows.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      You’re sitting on top of a few hundred pounds nearly completely exposed in an arena populated by 2-ton and larger vehicles piloted mostly by people who would rather be (and probably) are, doing anything but paying attention.

      Lament this situation all you want, but that’s the way it is. No amount of campaigning is going to make a difference to those drivers, they walk away from those accidents that cripple and kill motorcyclists.

      It’s a choice that has consequences. Good luck teaching the public to behave in a way that makes you feel safer about your choice.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        You are right, riding a motorcycle is taking on added risk. Raising awareness about motorcyclists on the road, as well as what is and isn’t legal for them to do, helps lower that risk. You can’t reach everybody, but again, this campaign in California shows that you can reach enough people to make a difference. Pretending as though the car driving public doesn’t have a share in the responsibility of motorcyclists’ safety, I’m guessing out of some dislike or anger at motorcyclists is silly. If someone kills a motorcyclist out of negligence the courts dont say ‘well you get off because they were on a motorcycle’./

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        So you are cool with Soccer Mom’s driving Excursions because you know, it makes them feel safer.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I would love to see the culture change. I’ve always tried to be a responsible motorcyclist (primarily because it increases the odds of survival). But as a I get older, I have less and less sympathy for the awful behavior I often see on two wheels. The worst is the sportbike that closes at a delta-v of over 40 mph to zip into some small gap which gives precious little time for even the most attentive driver to notice and prepare. Unfortunately, this is what most drivers think of when they hear the term “lane splitting”. California has had legal lane-splitting for many years, most drivers are used to it. And even so, only now are the statistics improving.

      BTW, when I got that ticket (which I deserved because I was in violation, I don’t dispute that), the cop had the nerve to equate my 5 mph lane splitting with the sort of behavior described above. So I know the frustration that sane lane-splitters face. In the end I decided that it simply wasn’t worth it to continue the practice. Not long after that I gave up riding in traffic.

      Having said all that, I share your alarm at the attitude displayed by some of the commentariat.

      • 0 avatar
        sco

        As a 25,000 mile/yr NoCal commuter I’ll add my 2 cents:

        1. recognizing the legality of splitting lanes under certain circumstances is not what I would call “acceptance” of the practice
        2. the circumstances allowed (traffic moving no more than 20 mph and biker going <15 mph faster than traffic) are a total joke – most bikers that pass me meet neither of these criteria
        3. in 10-15 mph traffic it is very hard to pick up a biker moving between lanes if the biker is moving at 50 mph. In fact its challenging to see bikers splitting lanes at any speed, even if you're looking for it.
        4. I have been passed several times at high speeds by bikers on the shoulder-no idea why these individuals would chose the shoulder vs the legal lane split
        5. I have also been hit (in my lane) by a lane splitting biker who apparently temporarily lost control, regained control, then kept going. Had he gone down and/or got killed, I would have felt responsible for his carelessness.

        As a former motorcycle owner, I don't have a problem with bikers slowly splitting lanes in stopped traffic. But its clear to me that few bikers can abide by the current rules. So I "accept" lane splitting, but I don't support it.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Why can’t you support responsible lane splitting? I doubt anyone supports 50mph differentials, not to mention literally crashing into cars, but that’s no reason not to support splitting at all.

          I mean, the fact that some yahoos drive through school zones at 120mph, is a strange reason for not supporting driving, period…..

          • 0 avatar
            sco

            I don’t have any problems with the law as it is currently written and am more than willing to share the inter-lane space with bikers. I do however have problems with the inability of bikers to abide by these rules to the extent that from my experience (commuting on Highway 101 north of San Francisco), the rules don’t seem exist at all for the majority of bikers. That being the case, and given the great difficulty in enforcing these rules, I think we need a different plan. Maybe bikers in other parts of the state are more responsible? I don’t know

          • 0 avatar

            On I95 here in South Florida, there are a whole lot of motorcyclists who go about 120mph plus when the fastest traffic in the far left lane is going around 80-85.

            They show up zooming past you before you can even register they exist.

            I’m the last person to condemn speeding – I am an unrepentant speeder for the most part – but I don’t think there’s any question that lane splitting is horrendously unsafe with this high a speed differential.

            This happens on a daily basis late at night (say 10-11 pm and beyond) on I95. The freeway at that hour has relatively uncongested traffic, but all lanes are in use. So if I happened to be changing lanes at the wrong time, I don’t see how I could avoid one of these guys hitting me – I don’t even think I could see them before they hit.

            As long as this continues to happen, I’m going to feel pretty negative overall about motorcycles.

            D

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            @David Dennis

            not condoning what you describe in any way, but in a car, all yo have to do is blink before changing lanes. If the bikers are dense enough to still barrel into you, you ca probably assume they wanted to be wheelchair and coffin riders all along…..

            Changing lanes without blinking, OTOH…

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Frankly, I don’t really care what idiot cagers think, since they can’t see me anyway (which I have to assume, for my own safety) then they can’t see me thread the needle.

        BTW, idiot cagers _will_ fail to see you even if you’re standing still in traffic, and rear-ending on a bike is no fun. The safety reason to lane-split is for that: cager fails to see you at a stop or crawling in traffic, and fails to stop before hitting your rear wheel.

        My policy is to keep as much space between me and cagers as possible, at all times, preferably at least 1/4 mile in front and behind, while doing within 5mph of the speed limit. If I come up on a slow clump of cages, I will assertively get through it as quickly as possible and put it as far behind me as I can in order to get back into the ‘sweet spot’.

        • 0 avatar
          mik101

          I have tons of friends that drive motorcycles, but none of them have the attitude towards “cagers” that you do. Your attitude is the reason why most cagers probably couldn’t care less what happens when you’re being a two wheeled idiot.

          See what I did there? You get what you give.

          • 0 avatar
            Charliej

            mik101, bikers have their views about cagers because most cagers are to damn stupid to be allowed to drive, but there they are. Back when I rode, a biker stopped when the car ahead of him stopped to make a left turn. This is on a two lane suburban road. The pick up behind the biker did not even hit his brakes before hitting the rider and the car ahead. The rider was killed, the driver of the car injured. The pick up driver was also injured. He got off with a ticket. No man slaughter or reckless homicide. Daddy was a cop and that is how justice is done in the South. I rode for over fifty years. I went down on the street twice. Once when I ran over a nail and the front tire went flat. And once when a woman ran a stop sign right in front of me. I hit her in the drivers side on the B pillar. Hit her hard enough to total her car. She went to the hospital I went home. Just before hitting, I jumped as high and as hard as I could. I landed in the road on the other side of her car. I skinned my knuckles on my left hand, other than that I was stretched everywhere, but no broken anything and not many bruises. But, she could have killed me if I was not paying attention. Cagers never pay attention. That is why they do things like turn left in front of semis. Saw that one with my own eyes. Or maybe try to cross a railroad track without looking for a train. Never saw that personally, thanfully. Riding is as safe as you make it. I liked to ride fast. My last bike would go from sero to sixty in about three seconds. Running at sixty in third gear, just twitching your wrist would give you one hundred right now. I rode like that on deserted back country roads. In traffic you have to be cautious. Staying clear of cagers is the safest thing to do. Filtering to the front at lights and then accelerating away is best. Always being aware of what is around you is vital. Prosecuting cagers who turn in front of bikes would help too. Too damn many cagers seem to hate both bicycles and motorcycles. I don’t know why, but it is a fact. I guess that they resent anyone who is obviously having fun on the road, while they are stuck in their cages. Oh well, not everyone is suited to be a biker. Too many live in fear of actually living.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          If you referred to me as a “cager” in person, I’m not quite sure whether I’d laugh in your face or spit in it.

          Ah, I’d probably just laugh. It would be a waste of perfectly good saliva.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          Wow, Doctor Ken. You managed to get Spock riled.

          That’s some asshattery, that is.

  • avatar
    319583076

    There is at least an order of magnitude more risk involved in choosing to ride a motorcycle over driving a car. That is a choice that the motorcyclist makes and a risk that he assumes.

    It’s akin to bringing the proverbial knife to a gunfight.

    Good luck.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      So, anyway, 319… *which* Chrysler product are you maybe gonna buy?

      Challenger, right?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      That doesn’t absolve drivers of their share responsibility for that rider’s safety, or diminish the measured effect of increased safety stemming from increased motorcycle awareness. Just because someone is on a motorcycle doesn’t mean they aren’t owed the same courtesies and respect as someone in a car.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        That guy who got killed attacking NYPD officers with a hatchet?

        Why did you abrogate your share of responsibility for him?

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I didn’t get a license or take an oath to protect cops. And in any case I don’t even live in NYC anymore. You are not very bright; that was a goofy deflection, a silly assumption, and terrible analogy. You wanted acknowledgement, you got it, I’m done responding to you.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            “You are not very bright”

            No, but it IS my birthday!

            60 years of people saying “But his brothers turned out so well…”

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        I agree with you, in theory. In practice you know that most drivers don’t care about anyone else’s safety or rights. The difference between driving a car and riding a motorcycle becomes that in the former, you stand a chance of surviving without crippling injuries much more so than the latter, where you could very well end up dead.

        I don’t agree with it, but that’s the way it is. Your right to the road while ride a motorcycle doesn’t mean a whole lot when you are dead. That is the reality of riding in the US. It’s your choice and I’m not advocating that it should be taken away. But I won’t sympathize with you. All of those idiots are trying to kill me just as much as they’re trying to kill you.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Not sure what this has to do with my point or this article. Not sure where I asked for sympathy either- I’ll say explicitly now that I’m not; why would I want sympathy for a risk I take on 100% voluntarily? I do ride defensively and accept the responsibility and risk I take on when I jump on my motorcycle. But that doesn’t mean we should abandon any attempts to raise awareness about motorcycling; especially if we are seeing such efforts are working to make the roads safer and less congested.

        • 0 avatar
          frozenman

          I used to use my motorbike as much as possible, ride to work and during bad weather, etc. But now drivers have are more aggressive and distracted than ever before, my commuter bike has been replaced with the weekend only retro machine for recreation only. Bikes in heavy traffic are a death wish choice if you can afford a car, IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          At surface street filtering speeds, as well as the traffic speeds “responsible” (which is 95+% of it) lane splitting is done at, the chances of being crippled by an accident, is very slim.

          I’ve never had an accident on a moto, but sometimes feel like I spent my entire youth barreling into cars on bicycles at similar speeds with no safety gear, and all that tends to happen is you get banged up a bit. And learn to not ride carbon framed bikes….. After a while, it gets so common I didn’t even get mad at the drivers anymore; they’re obviously just retarded incompetents stuck suffering their entire little lives as cage apes anyway, and being mad at a mosquito for stinging is kind of futile…..

  • avatar
    sproc

    Living and commuting in California for several years, I came to grudgingly accept and respect lane splitting. The vast majority of riders seem to do it safely and carefully, in slow traffic and passing with a low speed differential. However, at least once a week, someone reenacting “Biker Boyz” would shoot past me contending for a Darwin Award.

    I think part of the problem is that to best of my knowledge, CA state law does not prohibit lane splitting, but it also doesn’t explicitly allow it. This means there’s no legal definition of safe lane splitting. I’m all for simplified and fewer traffic codes, but this is one area I think a clearly defined legal standard would be better for riders and drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      “I think part of the problem is that to best of my knowledge, CA state law does not prohibit lane splitting, but it also doesn’t explicitly allow it. ”

      This is exactly correct. The CHP actually tried issuing lane splitting guidelines that were similar to what other commenters have already suggested as a best practice – I think it was traffic speed of 30 mph or less and keeping the speed differential within 10 mph. Someone complained about the CHP issuing guidelines when there are no laws specific to lane splitting, so the CHP had to withdraw their guidelines.

      http: //www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        I don’t think that is accurate. CHP removed the guidelines because people thought they were law, I.e. if you split above 30 you were breaking law which was not true.

        Now CHP bikes talk about unsafe lane splitting…those guys take the cake.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Search on youtube “Suzuki Hayabusa” and one finds plenty of videos of some crazy russian guys doing 100+ MPH lane splits….

    Gives a new meaning to the phrase, “crazy Russians”.
    Next thing you know, Putin will be doing similar stunts.

  • avatar

    Lane splitting seems dangerous. There is no law saying someone in a car has to keep enough space between himself and the car next to him for a motorcycle to safely pass. I say we keep lane-splitting illegal, and enact a law to ban tan Buicks from the (non turning) leftmost lane. Problem solved.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      On my commute, the leftmost lane is blocked by Corollas, Camrys and pickups (usually with unsecured loads). Tan Buicks are in the right, merging at 30 mph below the speed of traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Luckily for bikers, people competent enough to comfortably maintain sub 3 feet distance between themselves and the vehicle next to them while traveling down the road, have already figured out bikes make more sense than cars in crowded environs……

      heck, aside from the B&B, cagers can’t be relied on to figure out a way to get their tires within three feet of a curb when parallel parking. While drivers in low visibility cars like ‘Vettes and Porsches, as often as not end up parked crossways across two clearly demarcated parking spots even in a wide open parking lot.

  • avatar
    Dan

    In most general terms, safe and polite driving behavior means going with the flow. Difference in speed causes wrecks. Close gaps cause wrecks. The unexpected causes wrecks.

    Unlike the picture to start this article, add any kind of curves or even traffic drifting within the lane markings and it’s awfully easy to hide a 400 pound bike behind a pickup, van, Suburban, box truck. Until he pops back out, now two cars behind you and closing at 20-30 mph.

    Not safe, not polite.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      In my years of riding and lane splitting in NYC, only problem I had was some jerk intentionally swerving into my lane. Actually, now that I think about it, I wasn’t even lane splitting at that time, so no, I’ve never had a problem with it. A smart rider will maintain a speed that will enable stopping in time, and not lane split at all if traffic conditions don’t look good. For example, in NYC, the intersection of major highways like the LIE/GC/VWE generate a lot of folks changing lanes. In those areas I keep to my lane. But if it’s OK, I go.

      Also, motorcyclists have much better visibility than drivers, which helps with seeing ahead to judge what people do. And for the most part, when traffic is slow, people don’t really change lanes all willy nilly. Again I drive and ride, and admittedly am a bit aggressive (like any good NYC driver is), and I still look back/around before I change lanes.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Plenty of dumb to go around on both sides of this argument. I was sideswiped by a lane-splitter once (in California, in slow moving, heavy traffic). I was in my lane, the lady in the car next to me was in her lane. The bike came along, bounced off her car, bounced off mine (rental, with the extra insurance, hahahaha), and off he went. But I don’t judge all bikers by this one idiot- lots of my friends ride and they apply common sense and self-preservation. The “look twice for motorcycles” bumper sticker campaign is overall a good thing, but yet again the exception that proves the rule is when I see a car wearing one of these stickers and wandering onto the shoulder… riiight pal.

    Other from the B&B have posted above covering what are “reasonable” speeds and combinations of speeds that can make for “safe” lane splitting, the basic laws of physics, and the self-incurred added risk to ride on two wheels. I generally agree.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Lane splitting is never safe. IT is up to the rider to take a responsible attitude. Never pass cars faster than 5MPH and look at the wing mirrors to make sure you can at least see the drivers head. Look for distracted drivers and learn the signs that a car is about to switch lanes.
    I don’t believe it should be illegal but it should only be done in very slow or stopped traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      In <10mph traffic, lane splitting is safer than sitting there waiting to be rearended by an inattentive moron. Frankly, I would rather pass someone as fast as possible to minimize any potential for sideswiping, plus, they're more likely to see you if you do. They may be pissed off, but they'll have seen you.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        I hear you. The speed difference is difficult to specify but you need to consider the time it takes you to assess cars ahead and to respond to that unpredictable lane change that will happen. Not too slow but not to fast either. Other factors would be the bike you are riding, some are more nimble and stop faster than others.
        It’s about being honest with yourself about your and your bikes abilities.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Coming up on cars at a low speed differential is safer. But once you have started the pass, it’s safer to get it done with as soon as possible. In dense traffic, the former does limit how aggressive you can get with the latter, though.

        As a bicyclist, it’s easy to see driver’s point of view when you are on a faster road. Going 15mph on a bike, it is a bit unnerving to have cars come at you from behind at 75. That kind of differentials does make it hard to look out behind you before you make a lateral move of any kind.

        But motorbikes have such great power to weight, that coming up behind cars only 5-10mph faster than them, allowing plenty of time for them to see you if they plan on a lane change, still allows you to be past them in pretty much a blink by just twisting the throttle.

  • avatar

    I sympathize with anyone who is stuck behind slow traffic, I get annoyed too. The main issue with lane splitting I think is that it dramatically elevates the amount of skill and attention required to safely navigate, not just for the motorcyclist, but for every pair of vehicles they pass.

    Imagine the dumbest person you know. They are able to follow the current traffic rules well enough, that chances are that even they have been able to avoid accidents for years on end. Driving is very easy, as long as you are not drunk or looking at your phone. Enabling motorcycles to thread the needle would significantly raise the skill level required to drive for everyone on the road.

    One thing (NOT the only thing) that keeps laws from being perfect is that they have to be One Size Fits All. Even if a motorcyclist underwent extra training so they could get the Lane Splitting box checked on their license, they would still be splitting lanes with the general populace, who don’t have that training.

    Often I think, “My car has excellent brakes, excellent tires, and excellent handling. I am an excellent driver (maybe not…) If it is legal for a Taurus with sagging shocks and bald tires to go 65mph, I should be allowed to go 85mph.” The issue is that even if the state were to grant extended privileges, I share the road with people who may not be paying attention, or who may have a loose tie rod, or poor brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Well said. I agree with you 100% on all points.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Again, lane splitting has nothing to do with driving at 65+ MPH.

      And dumb drivers are way less of a threat than AGGRESIVE drivers, who are the ones most likely to switch lanes during a lane-splitting maneuver.

      The average driver is also not rationalizing their safety by the worst common denominator. The average driver, at least down here in NC, stays in their lane and goes with the flow of traffic, which makes it perfect for lane splitting.

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      I disagree with your assessment. Lane-splitting does not require any more skill from car drivers to safely navigate. They will be fine with the abysmally poor excuse for driver training that exists in this country already. All they have to do is drive in a straight line and manage to keep their car somewhere in between those dashed white lines 12 feet apart. Even the dumbest person I know can manage that.

      I don’t think it necessarily requires more skill on the part of the motorcyclist, though it certainly does require the ability to accurately estimate the width of your handlebars which is something you get accustomed to naturally as you put miles on your bike in the same way that one gets familiar with the dimensions of his or her car after some time behind the wheel.

      Riding a motorcycle in a straight line is the easiest part of motorcycling – as evidenced by the morons riding 120 mph down the highway on sport bikes. Any idiot can ride a motorcycle fast in a straight line. Riding a motorcycle very slowly is the most difficult part of motorcycling, requiring a lot of concentration and clutch/rear brake manipulation to do it well and without putting feet down like a n00b. But over, say, 15-20 mph, a motorcycle is quite stable and is easy to ride straight in the space between cars.

      There are a few rationales for lane-splitting which I will put forth here. Some are of varying validity than others so see what you think. I will define lane splitting as moving in between lanes of stopped or nearly-stopped traffic. I’m not talking about splitting at 90 mph between 60 mph traffic (that’s crazy!), I’m talking about moving at say 20 mph between stopped or nearly stopped traffic.

      1) There are a lot of motorcycles out there that are air-cooled. While air-cooled cars typically have active cooling systems consisting of fans to blow cooling air over the hot bits which work even when the car is stopped and idling, air-cooled motorcycles generally don’t have this. The cooling systems are entirely passive, relying solely on air flow over the cylinders and heads and maybe an oil cooler if so equipped. It is possible for certain of these bikes to overheat to the point of engine damage if idling for a long time in stopped traffic on a hot summer day. This is becoming less of an issue as time goes on due to more and more bikes becoming liquid cooled with electric radiator fans. Those bikes of course can idle along all day just like cars with no ill effects.

      2) Taking the motorcycles out of the travel lanes and putting them between lanes frees up that space for cars. It gets you one motorcycle length closer to your destination multiplied by how many motorcycles do so. Think of it as one less car between you and your destination.

      3) From a motorcyclist’s perspective, splitting lanes moves the danger from behind them, where they can’t control it, to in front of them where they can better control it. If I’m splitting lanes, I’m moving at a reasonable speed and scanning ahead for cars inching over, making lane changes, or watching for that d-bag who’s staring into his mirror with anticipation because he can’t wait to show the world that he’s the biggest asshole on the road that day. Of course there are no guarantees in life, but as a motorcyclist I feel I have a better chance at managing things that unfold ahead of me than I do those unfolding behind me. I have been rear-ended on a motorcycle before and it’s not a lot of fun.

      It’s interesting that some of the commentary seems to come from car drivers who are upset that the motorcyclists can pass them while they are stuck in traffic. My answer to that is don’t take it out on the motorcyclist because he bought a smaller, nimbler vehicle. No one held a gun to your head and made you buy a car. If you wanna pass through traffic by splitting lanes, you too can buy a motorcycle and join the fun! :-)

      That, along with good fuel economy, is one of the few objective advantages to motorcycling compared to driving. The disadvantages include safety, frequent tire replacement, no weather protection, all that expensive crash gear you have to buy, and that you can only take one lady home from the bar instead of three. So let us have that one thing. :-)

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I live in So. Fla and motorbikes riding through slow traffic, on bike lanes and on sidewalks are common everyday things, I just figure the local bikers have Carte Blanche to do as they please w/o law enforcement interference. As a trooper told me once, “I see them doing a hundred on the turnpike, I am not gonna risk my life and of other motorists chasing them, if they want to kill themselves, let the.”

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      +1 for So. Fl cops. :)

      Bikers really ought to stay off sidewalks, though. They may be soft targets in a car filled road, but a 500lb steel ram isn’t particularly soft when hitting a pedestrian.

      The idea that motorbikes, and even bicycles in most places, should be forced to behave as if they were cars, is simply laziness and lack of understanding on behalf of those writing and enforcing laws. Being light, short, maneuverable, narrow, and of little threat to anyone but yourself, does mean you can go places larger vehicles can not. Nothing wring with that.

      Here in SF, riding a bike in the Bus/Muni lane during rush hour, is completely unproblematic, since as soon as a bus shows up, you can tuck in close to traffic in the regular lane; hence not blocking the 75 people trying to get home. In a car, no matter how small, you cannot do that. So it makes sense that cars cannot use the bus lane, but bikes can. Of course, if you drive one of those registered-as-bikes trikes, there needs to be flexibility enough at the enforcement side to not let you get away with the “I’m on a bike” excuse. But the way to do that, is not to ban bikes from bus lanes, but rather to ban vehicles too wide/big to be able to duck out of the way when the bus comes; number of wheels be damned…..

      Etc., etc…. Just like allowing kids to play with inflatable dinghies in the pool, is practically very different from allowing larger boats in there..

  • avatar
    craiger

    I’ve been driving and riding in NYC for 30 years. I’ll ride the middle if traffic is moving so slowly that it’s almost impossible for cars to suddenly change lanes, and even then I go slow enough to be able to react in time if I see a car even drifting.

    If traffic is moving fast enough that cars could suddenly change lanes without warning, then I don’t split lanes. Since you’re probably not in stop-and-go traffic at that point, then why take the risk?

    I ride what is probably one of the most uncomfortable sportbikes on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      This- the convenient but statistically insignificant anecdotes, hyperbole and unrealistic situations folks are presenting don’t jive with reality.

      Everyone remembers the jackholes who lane split at 30-40 MPH faster than traffic, but nobody remembers or thinks about the dozens-hundreds of law abiding riders they come across every day, until they turn left in front of one and cause a wreck.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Behaving like an idiot on a motorcycle is not a case of the only one being harmed is the idiot.

    1) How much of my (and your) money will it take to pay medical expenses for someone injured doing this? Even if the rider is insured, the payments from an insurance company come from premiums; that’s my (and your) money. How much will it cost in lifetime support for someone crippled as a result of this behavior?

    2) What happens to the driver who, in a moment of less than total inattentiveness, signals a lane change, briefly looks back, doesn’t see anything but cars/trucks, and changes lanes into the motorcyclist splitting lanes? How many days, weeks, months will that person spend in court proving they were not negligent? How much will they pay in lawyer’s fees? If they are reasonably sensitive to other people, how much time/money will be spent in therapy etc. to get over the moment when they changed lanes and saw a motorcyclist smacking into their side window?

    Someone above said it right, the key to staying alive on a motorcycle is being predictable. Blowing down between cars on the freeway is not predictable. No driver expects to see motorcycles coming in between lanes. Keep this practice illegal.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Again, California shows that if you make it legal and give everyone a heads up, it’s not dangerous.

      Stop trying to rationalize your irrational anger at motorcyclists being able to lane split, while you can’t. All you have to do in your car to enable lane splitting is

      – stay in the middle of your lane
      – look behind you and make sure you are clear to change lanes
      – not look to kill motorcyclists lane splitting

      Hardly anything different from what you’re supposed to be doing now, or what most drivers do now anyway. An inattentive driver is not going to switch lanes in bumper to bumper traffic so this whole speculative scenario doesn’t really jive with real life.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        You forgot: USE YOUR TURN SIGNALS! Cars have blind spots. Give everyone a heads up before you change lanes. Even the people you know aren’t there because you can’t see them.

        Signed,

        a responsible, accident-free former lane-splitter

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      Hey, don’t let the facts stand in the way of a good grudge!

      http:/www.ots.ca.gov/pdf/publications/lanesplittingreport.pdf

      Here is a recent traffic study conducted by UC Berkeley investigating motorcycle crashes with regard to lane-splitting. The study showed that overall, lane-splitting was safer for motorcyclists than not doing so. This was based on post-crash analysis, not predictive modeling. It also showed that those motorcyclists who were lane splitting were more likely to be licensed, more likely to be wearing full-face helmets, less likely to be carrying passengers, less likely to have been using alcohol, less likely to be rear-ended (obviously), and less likely to suffer head, torso, or fatal injury.

      To address your point 1, based on the data it would seem that your money is less likely to be used to pay medical expenses for someone lane splitting than for someone not lane splitting.

      As to #2, that situation happens all the time and not just with lane splitting. Drivers often are distracted and turn left in front of motorcyclists, or smash into other cars or pedestrians. I would argue they are in fact negligent in those instances. Put down the phone, put down the cheeseburger, put down the makeup, and remain aware of your surroundings. You have one job and that is to drive the car. Everything else can wait.

      In a Belgian study from a couple years ago, it was found that lane splitting by motorcyclists reduces travel times for all road users. Shake your fist if you must even as the lane splitting motorcyclist shortens your commute. The more lane splitting motorcyclists, the shorter your commute! Rage!!! (See below)

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/motorbikes/9272532/Why-commuting-by-motorcycle-is-good-for-everyone.html

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        The aggressive motorcyclists on here seem to think that non-motorcyclists somehow carry a grudge against lane-splitters because they make better time. That’s stupid; what I see is that people think it’s an extremely hazardous practice (there may be data that refute that); that once you allow it under very specific circumstances it opens the door for high-speed lane-splitting; and that successful lane-splitting depends on too many things all going perfectly well all the time. I added my comment to attempt to refute the statement “if I choose to take the risk, and I get hammered, that’s only my business, not yours”. I’ve heard that reasoning about a lot of behaviors. I pointed out that given the existence of health insurance, it is not accurate. If your behavior lands you in the quadriplegic ward, one way or another it will come out of my pocket. And everyone else’s.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Instead of legal lane-splitting, why don’t we enact a Federal law that any two-wheeled motor vehicle can use the breakdown lane at any time, but with a maximum speed of 35 mph?

    This would encourage more people to ride motorcycles (and thus reduce congestion), but would reduce the odds of low-speed car-bike collisions. And the 35 mph speed limit means there’s no advantage to riding up the berm unless traffic has stopped.

    It wouldn’t do a thing to alleviate the feelings of the butthurt, jealous cagers on here who can’t stand the idea that cyclists are able to keep moving while the cagers sit stuck in traffic.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    There have been a few studies of this subject, none of which find lane splitting to be a problem.

    I don’t understand what the fuss is. If it works well enough, then allow it. The resentment that some hold toward this practice is not a good reason to prohibit it.

  • avatar
    craiger

    I wouldn’t want to ride in the breakdown lane. There’s far too much debris there usually.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    I commute 12 miles each way across Los Angeles every weekday on a motorcycle, and I lane split rush hour I-10 almost the entire route. When done properly, it’s not the crazy scene being portrayed by the comments I’ve been reading so far.

    1. I don’t lane split if traffic is moving faster than 40 mph
    2. I don’t lane split at a speed differential greater than 20 mph
    3. I don’t lane split sections of the 10 where the lanes are too narrow
    4. I always give a thankful wave to drivers who are kind enough to scoot over to give me a little extra room

    I equate lane splitting to the checkout line at the grocery store. If I’m in line with a cart full of 43 items and you come along after me with a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, I’m going to happily let you go ahead of me. I ride with good protective gear, a great helmet, on a well-maintained moto with ABS.

    Sure, it’s a risk – riding a motorcycle just is. But I’ve also read a study where motorcycle accident data in California were compared with Arizona and Florida, and the conclusion was that in California, the reduction in the number of motorcycle riders rear-ended in traffic since lane splitting became legal more than made up for the number of riders involved in lane splitting accidents.

    Personally, I’m FAR more afraid of being run over by an inattentive driver behind me who didn’t see me stop than I am of someone moving into my lane while I slowly putter on through traffic.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I turned left from a stop sign and didn’t see a biker until I was committed. He was westbound and I turned west in front of him. I could’ve stomped on the brakes and let him go, but he was far enough back to where it wasn’t a safety hazard. He has hugging the white line on a sweeping right-hander, so he made himself and his rider, invisible till the last second. Tall scrubs.

    So he makes a clean pass on my left, split the double yellow, then cuts in short, just inches from my truck!

    I didn’t think much of it, but what’s with the attitude? He wasn’t thinking much about their safety, so it was surprising he got PI$$ED when I “split” into his lane later (at 50 mph), when they were stopped waiting at a signal, for the arrow.

    He shot out after me without hesitation. There’s no need for a “discussion” at speed, so I immediately pulled over and waited for them. I was thinking of the safety of his gf more than anyone at that point. It had to be a gf, b/c what wife would stand for any of this? And he was showing off.

    He just slowed a bit and slapped my mirror as he speed off. It was just an F-150 pedestal mount. No damage, like he was hoping.

  • avatar
    319583076

    So the truth is coming out – Matt Foley, stuki, Dr. Noisewater, and even sportyaccordy. Non-cyclists are sub-human stupids that need “cages” and deserve to inhale smog while cyclists are benevolent geniuses who do no wrong and have the world itself beat.

    This is the same crap that bicyclists spew in these threads.

    You are all self-absorbed and you’ve transitioned from arguing to arrogantly demanding that the majority modify their behaviors in order to make your lifestyle choice safer for yourself. And you’ve managed to do it by using offensive, derogatory terms that alienate those whom you’re trying to convince. Who was smart again?

    Good luck.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Don’t lump us all together. I haven’t used any derogatory terms or “demanded” anything “arrogantly”. And what behaviors is anyone demanding folks modify? People should be looking before changing lanes, not changing lanes aggressively in slow moving traffic, and not looking to cause accidents to spite other motorists anyway. I can’t speak to the others, but stuki is the only motorcyclist who has been antagonistic from what I’ve seen. You on the other hand came into the thread with a chip on your shoulder, and your abrasiveness has steered the conversation into the negative combative conversation you were “expcting” (read: hoping for). Congrats?

      Don’t forget, everyone on here who rides drives too; silly that one would be an enemy or an ally depending on what vehicle they choose to use on the day you see them.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      How does it hurt you if a motorcyclist splits lanes and gets where he’s going faster than you do? It’s not like he’s in a car, trying to drive up the berm, then force in front of you and slow you down. He is removing himself from the traffic jam. He is one less vehicle in your way. He is MAKING YOUR LIFE BETTER.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Nobody gets to take cuts. No matter how few wheels you have.

    The fact that California permits it should be enough to discredit the notion.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      This is a juvenile attitude , I am surprised you’d say such a thing Pete .

      -nate

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        I’m with Nate. “Cuts” or “No Cuts” is really, really stupid. This attitude is why people can’t merge properly. The funny thing is – the exact same people who get incensed about merging at the point of the merge and call it “cutting” no doubt cruise up the on ramp to merge into traffic fully expecting that traffic to move over for them, regardless of their speed and/or traffic conditions – all while ignoring the Yield sign on the ramp.

        Why is it so difficult for people to understand that the rules and courtesies of a society are the sole thing that make society work? And why can’t anyone seem to follow said rules?

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Nate, I’m a flawed individual :-)

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          So , who isn’t ? =8-) .

          I really enjoyed reading this : ” 60 years of people saying “But his brothers turned out so well…”

          =8-) .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Heh… I’ve never forgiven my older brothers for stinking up our bedroom.

            Or for making me take the top bunk and then kicking the mattress from underneath.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    “Finally, the rate of acceptance has gone up among drivers, with 46.3 percent believing lane-splitting to be legal on both freeways and non-freeways, up 9.7 percent from last year’s 36.6 percent.”

    They “believe” lane-splitting is legal? I guess 53.7% of those polled don’t know the rules of the road. Lane splitting isn’t something you believe in or accept the legality of any more than you believe that you have to stop at red lights.

  • avatar
    xargs

    I have been lane splitting in NorCal traffic for 25 years. I have had a couple of close calls, but I have no problem with both the assumed risk and the attitudes of my fellow motorists…

    The whole ‘us vs. them’ ‘cager vs donorcycle’ stuff is pointless and stupid on all sides – whatever it takes for you to feel self-righteously superior, have at it.

    My rules of thumb, successful for many many years: Keep the speed differential down (10-15 mph), keep your scan up, assume you are invisible. Don’t be the dickhead Harley rider revving your ‘loud pipes save lives’ (bull) next to people to get them to move over. There are few hard and fast rules beyond that – speeds are variable, situations change.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    A while back , a fellow ride told me ” you’re _not_ a ‘ Biker ‘ Nate ~ you’re a Motocyclist .

    There is a difference , I don’t wear a chrome helmet nor henna tattoos , I make a concerted effort to extend Road Courtesy to every one all the time , no matter how I’m Motorvating at that moment .

    California _does_ have a lane splitting law , it’s called the ‘ Available Lane Space ‘ and can be used by Motos , cars and even truck as long as you’re within the available lane space .

    Speed cripples yes ~ I was parked at a red light on my Moto when a cager rear ended me exceeding 50 MPH and crippled me for life , I am lucky to be alive much less still walking and riding .

    Me I lane split but slowly and if a cager cuts me off , I simply fall back and either work around or wait ~ I ride and am ready to die at any given time but not in any hurry to do so .

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY PETE ! (any anyone else here too) , I hope all and sundry have many more Birthdays to come and learn some basic manners and how to live in a polite society .

    Those numbskulls who refuse to use mufflers and ride like @$$holes well , I have NO EXCUSE for them but I also don’t want to kill them with my cage or truck .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      stevelyon

      Well said, Nate. Glad you survived that hit – sounds like you got lucky.

      And I’d like to wish Pete a Happy Birthday, too.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        _WAY_ lucky ! .

        My L1 vertibrae looked like splinters . When I asked the Doctor how bad ? he said ” think of a shot glass dropped on concrete ” EEK .

        Then there was (is) my neck ~ in December they removed three vertibrae and hand mounded new ones using bits of my old ones , a generous helping of cadaver bones , all ground up and mixed with some sort of glue and a titanium plate with 6 (? maybe 8) self tapping screws .

        I can’t believe I’m not paralyzed , my Doctors can’t believe I still ride .

        My birthday is next month , I hope to take a nice ride in the Mountains that day .

        Motocyclists are O(.K. , Cagers are O.K. (I’m one too) , @$$holes are just that .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Nobody would buy any scooters in Europe if this was not tolerated.Even 75 year old riders don’t have safety concerns with lane splitting. It makes space for cars.

  • avatar

    I feel I have genuinely learned from this comments section today.

    Here is a hypothetical. I am cruising down the highway in a car. I am maintaining my lane and going straight. There traffic is heavy, but moving, maybe 10-15mph slower than the speed limit I see some debris a little late, because I am about the minimum safe distance behind the guy ahead of me. I swerve 2 feet to the left to avoid the debris (or pothole, or dog, whatever) WHILE STAYING IN MY LANE. I believe this is perfectly legal, and reasonable. What if a motorcycle had just started splitting lanes and I hit him?

    I believe if a police officer saw it, I would be in the clear with the current laws, but without some good witnesses it would be hard to prove innocence. If they made lane splitting legal I may be up a creek. It just seems wrong to require you to look behind you so frequently if you are maintaining your lane.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelyon

      As far as I know the law here in CA, it’s my responsibility as a lane splitting motorcyclist to avoid you and any maneuver you might make in your lane, until the point when I’m ahead of you, then it becomes your responsibility to avoid me.

      I lane split at speeds that give me time to react to things like this that happen – and they do. Truck tire treads are the most common hazards I see people swerving to avoid.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      This is a pretty unlikely scenario. In my opinion, as a motorcyclist, that motorcyclist should not have been lane splitting. ~10-15 MPH under the speed limit on a highway where I am is anywhere from 40 to 60 MPH- speeds at which a miscalculation for a motorcyclist would simply be deadly, and speeds at which lane splitting is wholly unnecessary. The motorcyclist would be at fault just due to being reckless.

      I think the scenario is unrealistic though for a few reasons.

      – if there is debris on the road, everyone will be swerving around it, which a good and alert motorcyclist would be able to see well in advance.
      – if you have to swerve 2 feet over towards a lane with a car next to you, you’d be coming dangerously close to that car, approaching motorcyclist or not. 2 feet over is borderline not being in your lane; that’s a potential mirror snap or collision.

      Lane splitting would be appropriate at speeds more like 30-50 under typical highway limits, with a speed differential no bigger than 15 MPH. I.e. if you are doing 20, a motorcyclist would be doing 35 tops, giving you plenty of time to decide whether to wait for them to pass or slowly drive around the obstacle (as swerving at 20 MPH or below is pretty much impossible).

      Incidences of motorcyclists blowing by folks at a 40-60 MPH speed differential are not what lane splitting is about; it’s getting tiring having to defend against such improbable & reckless scenarios presented as what’s being advocated for.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks. I live around Cleveland Ohio. I hear the traffic here is much more sparse than other places, especially parts of California or in New York City. When I see lane splitting, it is always the dangerous kind, usually involving a wheelie. That is likely a big part of why I have a negative attitude towards it, another case of the idiots ruining it for the rest of us. I will have to see the safer version of lane splitting in action.

  • avatar
    Noble713

    Ugh. This is a particular pet peeve of mine. The sports bikers aren’t usually the problem, but Okinawa is full of scooters and mopeds. Especially younger inexperienced riders who can’t afford cars.

    Few things are more frustrating than pulling up to a stop light as the first car and then having a pair of 15hp Vespas lane split their way to the front and stop in front of you. Now my 300+ hp car is stuck behind mopeds that do 0-60 in 2 minutes, and I can’t lane change around them because the nearly-as-slow kei car in the next lane is driving just fast enough to block me in. >_<

    I'm probably still irritated about the accident I had with a scooter last year. I was sitting in traffic and decided to stop at the convenience store. I had my turn signal on, and as soon as traffic began to move I checked my mirrors and started to enter the store's parking lot….at which point two teenagers on a moped crashed into the side of my car.

    I argued that they were:
    -using the sidebar, not even proper "lane splitting", which I think is technically illegal here but largely tolerated
    -weren't in my blind spot or visible when I turned. They were going so fast the driver left a 3-meter long skid mark as he slammed on the brakes to not hit me.

    The police and insurance company said I should have maneuvered to block the sidebar before making the turn and that the accident was 80% my fault. (because gaijin, probably) So my insurance paid 80% of their repair bill, their insurance paid 20% of *MY* appraised repairs of $2000, or ~=$400. Needless to say I couldn't get both my passenger doors repaired and repainted for that price. So I took the money and hit the junkyards for replacements, and only found dark green. You can't tell at night, but when the sunlight hits the car during the day, it's clear that my murdered-out black Chaser actually has two dark green passenger side doors.

    TLDR = Fuck lane splitters. -_-

  • avatar
    -Nate

    It’s nice to see some clear headed thinking and common sense here .

    Last night I had a nice sunset ride to say good bye to Damien privately , I did split a few lanes , carefully as always and never by going stupidly faster ~ there’s zero benefit in that .

    -Nate

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