By on June 2, 2015

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California is reportedly about to make lane splitting by motorcyclists legal. Currently, it’s simply not illegal, which is not the same as explicitly legal. But even once the practice is officially sanctioned, riders who want to hurry past stalled “cages” might want to consider the risks.

One of those risks, apparently, is being murdered at the hands of a heavily-tattooed woman who likes taking risque photos.

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According to the police, Darla Renee Jackson became involved in an altercation with 39-year-old Navy chief and special-operations veteran Zach Buob that ended with her ramming his Ducati and then running him down, resulting in Buob’s death. Speculation around the motorcycling community is that Ms. Jackson was annoyed with Buob for lane-splitting.

Various anonymous people on the Internet have combined to make a Facebook page featuring photos of Ms. Jackson in revealing apparel, in which she displays a remarkable array of tattoos. You can see it here, but I do not recommend you click that link at work, because it will almost certainly result in your termination. Unless you work at a strip club, at which point you’ll probably be told to “raise your standards.”

One of the more interesting posts on the FB page claims that Ms. Jackson was the anonymous victim who accused minor-label rapper and alleged gang boss “Mitchy Slick” of kidnapping this past September. The DA decided not to pursue the case, leading people to speculate that there was no credible evidence. It’s also been speculated that Ms. Jackson’s tattoos are, at least in part, marks of gang ownership.

I’m currently riding my pair of Honda motorcycles nearly as much as I’m driving my non-sporty Honda coupe, and I work very hard to avoid raising the ire of drivers. I don’t run them close, I don’t zip by them at closing speeds that might upset them, I use a mirrored visor so I don’t make eye contact with some tough-guy wannabe in a Wrangler or F-250, and I look for an escape route every time I’m stopped. But when I was younger and angrier I remember operating in a very different manner.

Having spent a week lately driving up the coast in California, I saw enough negative interactions between bikers and cagers to last a lifetime. It’s not difficult to imagine one of those interactions leading to violence. And while it’s easy to come down on the side of a dead war hero instead of a live hard-faced woman with gang tats, it’s not always that simple in the real world. It will be interesting to see how this court case develops. We’ll keep you informed.

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127 Comments on “Did Lane Splitting Lead To The Death Of A Navy Veteran At The Hands Of A Woman Who Also Allegedly Framed A Rapper For Kidnapping?...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I think the mentality of being angry at someone for getting ahead (literally, in the case of lane-splitting motorcyclists) is fundamentally un-American.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Yet it’s alive and well everywhere you look.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s only un-American if you’re not doing by, eg, gaming the entire banking and financial system.

      Sometimes I find that everything I misunderstand about American socioeconomics is explained by the idea that most people see themselves as temporarily-inconvenienced billionaires.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        I think it really comes down to our Puritan roots where any good fortune is God’s blessing and any bad fortune is God’s displeasure. Therefore, wealthy people are successful because they are inherently good, and poor people are so because they are inherently bad, i.e. lazy or stupid. We only seem to question the actions that make people poor, not those that make people rich.

        • 0 avatar
          skor

          @Clutch, that may be part of it, but university studies show that it’s more complicated than that. What these studies show is that people who lie, cheat, steal, bully are perceived as leaders IF they share some of the loot with the group. If they are getting ahead at the expense of the group they are with, they are despised and hated. That’s why some people go berserk when they encounter a road warrior getting ahead of them on a jammed highway.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @skor – it all boils down to primitive tribal survival mechanisms that became hardwired into our brains. Leaders of the tribe that were “alpha males” physically and/or intellectually and/or deceptively would be allowed to lead if it benefited the tribe. If those leaders were seen to put the tribe at risk or looked too strong the tribe would turn on them en masse and take them out.

            I doubt that really applies to driving a vehicle or road rage. What most likely applies is the feeling of anonymity. It has been proven that one is more likely to be seriously assaulted physically or sexually in front of a crowd. The individuals in the crowd do not help because they blend into the sea of faces and do not feel personally responsible for stopping the offending behavior. Conversely a person will be more aggressive in a vehicle because of perceived safety and anonymity. That is why you are more likely to see douchebaggery from an F450 driver than a Smart Fortwo driver.

            Another factor that can be traced to primitive tribal origins is the urge to protect one’s territory. One may view the lane they are in and the space in front of them as theirs.

            Or 30% of drivers are just f–in’ nuts and should be institutionalized ;)

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Welcome to Modern America.

      Where the only thing we hate more than a loser – is a winner.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    A more artful and perfectly posturing instigator of misogyny there be not.

    Conviction via FB testimony will raise no hackles in car guy circles.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Facebook evidence has been significant in a number of real criminal and civil trials.

      Is every instance that involves a man and woman, where someone claims the woman was wrong, misogyny? Save that garbage for Jezebel.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Never. Document. Anything.

        If you’re going to do something you know is illegal, don’t make any records of it.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          OneAlpha – you are referring to the doctrine of “plausible deniability”.

          You know we did it and we did do it BUT you cannot prove we did it!

          Works for the Hell’s Angels, mafia, CIA, and a lot of foreign policy ;)

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Whether illegal or not, I would not do lane split as it is far too dangerous. I just watched another video of a biker who was run down after telling a cager to “put your fucking phone down”. He was right but now he is saddled with a lot of bills from his injuries. The other driver didn’t have much insurance. It is simply too dangerous out there. People don’t care and they are pissed on top of it if you call them out.

    I will be selling my bike unfortunately. It is just not worth it.
    Just last week, I was going out to run errands and at the last minute took the cage instead of the bike. Wouldn’t you know, coming back, some kid blew a stop sign at 40mph + (in a 30). Would’ve messed me up badly.

    It sucks we have to give in to these shitheads but such is life. Laws or no laws, people will still do as they please, consequences be damned and I most certainly do not want to be on the receiving end of it. This woman should get the death penalty for running this guy down.
    What a piece of human excrement she is. Ride safe.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Thank you Halftruth, you’ve described exactly why I don’t own a bike, although in a less imperfect world I would love to. Bottom line: in a two-wheeled vehicle, your body is your bumper, and as I have aged, my risk-taking capacity has steadily diminished. I have known of too many people getting mangled (or killed) in motorcycle (or bicycle) accidents to risk riding either on public roadways. There are just too many idiots out there, and they keep multiplying.

  • avatar

    Years ago, I was in a Ford Expedition 2002 and I was on the South Conduit. I was coming to a red light and decided to quickly get from one lane to the other. I signaled right and moved over. SUDDENLY: a Donorcycle slammed into my rear. Only damage to me was a broken tail light cover, but his bike: I SAW PIECES FLYING.

    I just casually looked over at him as he lay there and asked: “are you OK bro?”.

    He knew he was going too fast and he knew he rear-ended me – so he didn’t bother to even get police or insurance involved.

    I hate being in traffic with motorcycles whizing by because I can’t usually hear them until they are right up on me. My side view mirrors have lane-warnings but the reaction time would never be fast enough to prevent an accident if the motorcycle is moving faster than 20MPH.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Back when I had a motorcycle, 20 mph was pretty much my limit for lane splitting. Above that the danger increases significantly and the time savings are minimal.

    • 0 avatar
      leon_foonman

      “I was coming to a red light and decided to quickly get from one lane to the other. I signaled right and moved over. ”

      Basically you were jerking around to get closer to your destination, caused a wreck and want to blame it on someone else, because you can’t take responsibility for being an aggressive dick.

      Gimme a break!

  • avatar
    pbr

    So Jack, do you write about motorcycles anywhere?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I ride a motorbike as well

    I am hoping Cali’s lane splitting law will spread like the gay marriage laws. Cagers hate motorcyclists and are pretty ignorant about us, only judging us by our absolute worst. By making lane splitting legal I am hoping awareness will be spread. Then again there are still idiots who ask why cyclists don’t ride their bikes on the sidewalk. Same reason u dont drive ur car on the sidewalk u big dummy, it’s stupid and more importantly it’s illegal.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I love motorcyclists, I’m a cager, and also a bicyclist commuter.

      Lanesplitting is dangerous because lane markings should be sacred and respected. They add order and predictability to traffic. Without rules there is risk, and when there is risk, two-wheelers die.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Lanesplitting is dangerous because lane markings should be sacred and respected”

        Agreed. I don’t ride a motorcyle, but I do bike, and the same lack of rules kills or maims fellow (foolish) cyclists who think that neither road nor sidewalk rules apply to them.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Lanesplitting is fine…. California studies have deemed it safe, and it’s huge in other countries like the UK. Lane marking should be sacred for cars, sure. But as studies and other countries show there’s no need for motorcycles to be bound by them when traffic is at a standstill.

        Obviously it has to be done in a reasonable way…. no more than a 15 MPH delta to traffic, and no lane splitting once traffic is moving faster than 20-25 MPH. Those were the rules I set for myself motorcycling through Manhattan for 2 years, and I survived. I was even waved by by cops on the FDR a few times. They know what it is.

        Yes, some laws apply to all vehicles, but there are some that don’t. Cars can’t drive or park in bike lanes for example. Non-emergency vehicles can’t drive on shoulders. Etc. There’s no reason why motorcyclists shouldn’t be allowed to lanesplit if it’s done reasonably.

        • 0 avatar
          S1L1SC

          When traffic is at a stillstand being the important part here – Too often I see it done at 60-80 mph when the biker wants to go 100+

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            That’s not lane-splitting, that’s sheer stupidity. I gave up lane-splitting years ago and, even then I followed the rule of traffic speed no faster than 10-15 mph, delta-v of less than 10.

        • 0 avatar
          FractureCritical

          this.
          lane splitting is fine if done responsibly. jackasses who scream through traffic jams inches away from cars are not going to win any points with thier fellow drivers in cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Marko

            I agree as well. I am all for lane splitting, but only if the jurisdiction clearly defines what it is and what it isn’t (speed delta, etc.), and that irresponsible high-speed weaving will not be tolerated.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        bryanska – that territorial viewpoint is the most likely reason why biker’s get ran down by vehicle drivers.

        I’ve always been extremely cautious around vehicles and have never lane splitted because of being aware of the mindset of many drivers.

        As my dad used to point out, “respect the right of “weigh” before you try to claim the right of “way”.
        You may be legally in the right but if the other vehicle is larger and in a position to talk you out, legalities matter little when you are dead.

    • 0 avatar
      Ihatejalops

      Gay marriage laws haven’t spread (by popular vote), anytime it’s been up for a true democratic vote, they’ve often failed. Poor analogy.

      The key to all this is bikers going too fast in traffic during lane splitting; if they go slow it’s cool and not problem. When it’s fast, that’s where trouble begins. Though when jerks open their doors, that’s another issue.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Lane splitting will probably make more “cagers” (WTF?) dislike motorcyclists more than they already do. For better or worse lane splitters are about as popular as drivers who cruise down the shoulder to pass a traffic jam, then try to cut back into traffic.

      News flash: there are a LOT of bad car drivers out there jockeying for position on crowded freeways. Threading between them is betting your life that one of these bad drivers will not merge, swerve, or turn into a place where you are not expected to be. That is out and out stupid.

      A co-workers son was killed while lane splitting in California. Whatever time he had hoped to save on his commute was erased, permanently. Being mad at the “cager” won’t bring him back to life.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Again, 1 person dying hardly invalidates all the benefits of lane splitting. Motorcyclists don’t have to lane split, but with all the evidence of its benefits it should be something we can have the option to do legally.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        I think if you ask any motorcyclist, they’ll have dozens of stories about cars trying to drive into them even when they’re doing nothing wrong (or “wrong”) – could’ve just as easily happened if your co-worker’s son was driving in a full lane, in his blocker position, out of someone’s blind spot, and obeying the speed limit.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Yes, vehicle operators everywhere tend to think of themselves as being above-average while believing that everyone else is the problem.

          Meanwhile, “(i)n 2010, 79 percent of motorcycle operators involved in fatal collisions (in Cailfornia) were at fault and 57 percent of motorcycle operators involved in injury collisions were at fault.”

          http://www.ots.ca.gov/OTS_and_Traffic_Safety/Report_Card.asp

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Pch101 – Statistically only 3-5% of drivers are good to excellent. As you point out, most aren’t. The problem lies in that disconnect. This has been discussed on other threads in relation to passive or active safety measures.

            If 60% of drivers are average and 33% are poor to fair but 99% think they are good………

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      As a dedicated Cager, I hate young, crotch rocket riding D-bags. I hate them even more if they have a GoPro stuck on their helmet and are doing stunts on public roads (sadly I’ve witnessed this).

      Real grownups on cruisers, I got no problem with.

      • 0 avatar
        kmoney

        Squids like this (specifically the ones SaulTigh mentions above, as there are definitely mature and responsible sport bike riders) are the people who ruin public perception of all motorcyclists. As a rider, I hate these guys too (and so do a lot of other motorcyclists). These guys always seem to be the ones who rage about “cagers” cutting them off, only to omit from the story fact that they were going twice the speed limit weaving down the highway or doing 80kmph in a residential zone and slow-rolling stop signs.

        Every time you try and broach actually developing laws and policy that help motorcyclists as a whole, the image these guys create immediately comes to the forefront and sidetracks any real debate or progress.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        A lot of us grownups (I’ve been riding for over 40 years) like sportbikes (although, truth be told, my 650 Ninja only looks like a sportbike) and ride responsibly. Don’t generalize.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        SaulTigh – anecdotally I’ve seen a shift in serious injuries and fatalities involving bikes.

        It used to be a case where the 16-25 year old on a hyperbike were usually the ones I had to deal with in MVC’s but now it is the babyboomer “living the dream/bucket list” types buying 1000lb boat anchor cruisers that can’t stop or turn well running off the road or running into the back of cars or other bikers.

        I used to ride sportbikes and have ridden a lot of other styles of bikes. At street legal speeds or typical highway speeds they are much safer than any cruiser.

        Nothing is safe when one drives much faster than the flow of traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        leon_foonman

        OOh, mr “rides a hog” is a big responsible biker that lumps all “crotch rocket” riders in to some category of things that are not as good as him,.

        What a pussy is, is that.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I’ve owned multiple motorcycles, I ride a road bike (bicycle). If there was one thing riding bicycles and motorcycles taught me was to be hyper aware of what people were doing and what they were about to do. I would be far too nervous to do this because most drivers don’t pay as much attention as they should. I just don’t think lane splitting is a good idea.

    I’m sure it could be argued that this is no more dangerous than everyday riding, but it just seems that lane splitting is adding risk.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      IDK. In traffic, sitting between cars means u are at the mercy of whatever is going on behind u. Lanesplitting allows you to take things more into your own hands. Sure there’s danger associated with it, but it’s danger you can manage, rather than danger you are hoping for someone else to manage.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        You could say blasting through intersections with your horn on is also managing your own risk. Lots of things manage your own risk, at the cost of increasing others’ risk. That’s not a test of whether it’s a good idea, or whether other people should have to live with it.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      In the first three years I had my license, I totaled two cars and was involved in several accidents.

      Then I tried a new methodology I like to call “Paying Attention To What I’m Doing.”

      Miracles of miracles, I’ve been doing that for decades now and haven’t been involved in anything so much as scraping paint on a mailbox.

      Amazing what situational awareness can do for you.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “a true democratic vote”

    Is that the kind where 95% agree with you? You can tolerate a little dissent, just so’s it don’t matter.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    1) Every motorcyclist in rush-hour traffic is taking up much less space than s/he would be if s/he were driving a car. Therefore, the greater the motorcycle-to-car ratio, the less congestion on the highways.
    2) Legalized lane-splitting is a major incentive to commuting to work on a motorcycle.
    3) Therefore, if you hate sitting in traffic jams, you should support the legalization of lane-splitting and not hate those who do it.

    Like Detroit-Iron, I can’t fathom why people resent lane-splitters. It’s doesn’t make my life any harder if you use a motorcycle to get to work faster.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Resentment and jealousy, pure and simple. Misery loves company.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        You only say that because you are a motorcyclist. You seem to be on the wrong site since this isn`t TTAMC. The use of the term cager isn`t exactly meant nicely.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Ummm look at my screen name. I drive cars too. You are right that cager is used as a pejorative. It’s mean to describe folks who are either a danger to motorcyclists or harbor unwarranted rancor for motorcyclists. Not just anyone in a car.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            OK, I have seen the term applies to anyone who drives a car and not a motorcycle. You point out, correctly, that some motorists are bad drivers. However the same goes for motorcyclists, they are not all law abiding, considerate riders.
            Some motorcyclists (not all) deserve scorn and rancor.

        • 0 avatar
          CobraJet

          I have only encountered this in California on some of the freeways around LA and San Fran. It is unnerving to me whenever I am passed by a rider in very close proximity to my vehicle at a much higher rate of speed than I am going. And I learned something new today. I didn’t know I am a cager.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            If they are passing you at high rates of speed they are in the wrong. That’s not what lane splitting is about.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            Part of the problem is that we remember the asshats on motorcycles, and don’t notice those who are just riding to work. I remember that two asshats were following me on a rural road in central Cali and then we stopped at an intersection. I went, they sat there for about a minute as I headed down a long stretch of empty road. Then they came off the line with everything they had, came up right behind me and at the very last moment when they were about to splatter themselves against my rear bumper, they both split on my right and left sides with just inches to spare around the bumper and my mirrors. I’m not sure if they were trying to impress me by nearly killing themselves, but I’ve certainly not forgotten their stupidity.
            On the other hand, most folks on a bike are well-behaved and so easy to ignore that inattentive buttholes run them over when changing lanes.
            A bike looks fun, but I can’t imagine actually riding one around most motorists.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I don’t resent the splitter, I resent the additional risk. I’d rather sit in more traffic than have to look for a motorcyclist at every stoplight. It’s more burden to widen the arc of 100% awareness.

      • 0 avatar
        Ratsnake

        Are you trolling, or should you be banned from public roads and sidewalks for imbecility?

        I see, from your prior comment about going through an intersection with honking horns, that it’s probably the latter.

    • 0 avatar
      leon_foonman

      People resent anyone that is smarter than they are, like most motorcyclists.
      They hate it is when anyone “gets ahead” without suffering in a big ass car that takes up 8 times the space one motorcycle does, uses less fuel, causes less wear and tear to the roads…

      All that infuriates pinheads and pussies that drive while eating, talking on the phone, jacking off, and generally NOT driving.

      The only thing they really need to know about lane splitting is: If you don’t play the game, you don’t make the rules…

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      @Matt Foley:

      “Like Detroit-Iron, I can’t fathom why people resent lane-splitters. It’s doesn’t make my life any harder if you use a motorcycle to get to work faster.”

      This is the key point. Did it inconvenience me that some guy on a motorcycle lane-split past me? No. Making him wait in traffic will not get me where I’m going any faster. I don’t ride motorcycles, but I have no problem with lane-splitting done properly. Life is too short to resent others, especially when they are having zero actual negative effect on you.

  • avatar
    Dan

    “1) Every motorcyclist in rush-hour traffic is taking up much less space than s/he would be if s/he were driving a car. Therefore, the greater the motorcycle-to-car ratio, the less congestion on the highways.”

    I give motorcyclists much more space in traffic because I know that if I hit them they will probably die. I’ve never seen a car hit a patch of sand and low side in front of me.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      It would be their own fault, since they should be in a car/truck/SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Since they should be? According to who? So if someone in a Corolla gets killed by a semi should they be held liable for not getting a CDL and driving a semi too? Where does this silly logic end lol.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Whenever an accident happens between a cyclist (or motorcyclists) and a 4 wheel vehicle the default assumption is that it is the motorists fault. Sometimes true, but cyclists (and their motoring equivalents) are also regularly at fault.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            This isn’t true. If the motorcyclist is DWI or is found to be riding at excessive speeds why would the 4 wheel driver be at fault? Motorcyclists are treated no differently with regards to legal culpability.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve never ridden a motorcycle and I never intend to. But I’m definitely in favor of lane splitting, as long as they do it safely.

  • avatar
    omer333

    As South Park would say, I’m “bike-curious”. I’ve rode dirt bikes, but nothing on the street.

    As a soon to be former resident of California, I can say lane-splitting is a good thing provided it is done safely. The idea for it’s practice is in traffic jams or at stop lights, not when traffic is moving at the posted speed limit or faster.

    One should also have the right machine for lane-splitting, a Ducatti or even a Harley Dynaglide are fine, but a giant touring bike, like some of H-D’s popular tourers, are rediculous.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    The problem with lane splitting is assuming that other drivers are even paying attention. Hell that’s a dangerous proposition even if you’re in another car!

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      Yeah, I’m going to agree with this… I almost got creamed at intersections from people turning left in front of me, and a few times from almost being side swiped. I wouldn’t trust them not to dart from lane to lane while I’m approaching. I’d rather have the ability to scoot along the shoulder and pass traffic, but then motorcycle encourages you to take the more scenic route anyways so I didn’t do a lot of freeway riding.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      A good motorcyclist has hypersensitive situational awareness. I can pick out the idiots on their phones and road ragers very early and very reliably. Bad drivers are very predictable for the most part, it’s not an issue for people who pay attention.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        How many motorcyclists are good motorcyclists? I used to have a job that sometimes required me to mix it up in San Diego rush hour traffic. MANY an evening, I was in a giant cluster fark that was caused because a lane splitter was taken out by someone that didn’t expect them to be where they suddenly were. Often, I would encounter more than one such accident in 15 miles. We’re a tourist town, so a big percentage of the traffic is always going to be people that aren’t accustomed to lane-splitting or the asinine traffic circles that caused me to drop six miles from my cycling loop. Overall, I do not believe that people lane splitting has been a net-positive for my commuting time. I’ve probably spent 100 hours stationary in my car because of lane-splitters that got it wrong. How much time did I save from a few thousand less cars on the freeway?

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Hypersensitive situational awareness? Really? Good to know.

        Except that everybody thinks they have hypersensitive situational awareness because they bought a crotch rocket, have mastered Grand Theft Auto, or can text and drive at the same time with no problem (yet).

        Next to a place that I used to work a speeding motorcyclist lost control on a turn and hit a cyclone security fence; it looked like Velveeta had been pushed through a cheese grater. Until that moment I’m sure he thought he had hypersensitive situational awareness.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          And by comparison, how many motorcyclists have you seen on the road that DIDN’T die? Probably 99.999999999999999% of them. I know someone who died in a car accident. I guess we should all stop driving.

          There’s definitely a level of situational awareness good motorcyclists have. It’s no different from being an attentive defensive driver. The existence of idiots texting and DWIing and all that other horsecrap doesn’t nullify the existence of good drivers… so why choose the absolutely worst example of a motorcyclist you can think of to represent all of us?

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            My point was that everybody thinks they are special until they find out that they are not. Don’t be so hypersensitive.

            F-16 pilots probably have hypersensitive situational awareness; everybody else is just driving.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Laugh all you want, but serious, experienced riders do develop an awareness of the little “tells” that often come before a bonehead maneuver.

          I’ve written before of how my MC skills have saved me from car accidents. If you are of the mind to actually pay attention to what you are doing, an experienced motorcyclist will almost always be a safer driver.

          And *everybody* has a horrible example to make them feel better about how much smarter they are than guys on two wheels. That’s fine, riding isn’t for everyone and it’s better that the under-committed self-select their way out of things. I make of point of being respectful of everyone on the road because I’m smart enough to know that it’s in my best interest to do so on two wheels or four. And, finally, I have no sympathy for idiots who don’t respect the machines they operate, cars, bikes, airplanes, all demand respect and discretion for safe operation. I have no problem calling someone a squid if they deserve it.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “A good motorcyclist has hypersensitive situational awareness.”

        As a cyclist, I used to think I had such. I’ve been disabused of that notion by being doored by parked cars.

        You can’t completely anticipate stupid and are stupid to think that you can.

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        This shouldn’t even be up for debate. Motorcyclists don’t last very long in a traffic environment without developing exceptional situational awareness skills. If they don’t, they get hurt or worse. What happens more often is that they have enough self-knowledge to recognize that they aren’t capable of managing the risks. Congrats to those of the B&B who have come to this understanding.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I argue that the additional risk of driving smaller cars is negligible however, the risk of riding your bike (motorized or not) is *significant*.

    The price of man in motion is the occasional collision. IN collisions between “cages” and bikes, “cages” always win, regardless of who is at fault.

    Is it more important to be “right”, or to be alive?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    If the average behavior the populace any random weekend day at Costco can be used as a representative picture of the driving habits of Joe and Jill America I would say lane split at your own risk. You are putting too much faith in the idea that those around you are paying attention and will act/react with predictability. With our narcissism is cool society I don’t think I could participate, I would get really irritated if I met my demise because someone was taking their fourth selfie of the day and crept too close to the center line while I was lane splitting.

    As for the article, if the facts are correct, than this lady deserves whatever punishment may come. Killing a man because he could somewhere faster than you is not acceptable. You would think there would be plenty of witnesses to confirm or deny. Or does this somehow link back to last weeks write up about dash cams?

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      It’s amazing how people will wander through a supermarket on two legs with the same mindset they use on four wheels.

      Fat, Dumb and Happy. And invariably slumped over the push bar, as if holding themselves upright is too much effort.

      You have to assume that literally everybody around you is actively trying to kill you, and that you’re invisible.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        You’ve touched a nerve. I treat Whole Foods like the NFL Combine for that reason, tersely barking proximity warnings and staring daggers at the feckless bags of decaying lipids staring overwhelmed, frozen by the prospect of choosing the wrong mustard.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        “You have to assume that literally everybody around you is actively trying to kill you, and that you’re invisible.”

        While driving, I assume everyone is actively trying to kill me, including me. Complacency kills.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        “It’s amazing how people will wander through a supermarket on two legs with the same mindset they use on four wheels.”

        Oh yes, definitely this.

        A LOT of behavior traits in common- distraction, visual scan (lack thereof), unwittingly using the cart to block an aisle wide enough for two or three carts, hesitation and indecision (especially when in the way), pulling out of one aisle and turning left, no right, no left, no, I don’t knowwww.

        If you’re good at anticipating bad drivers around you then the irrational chaos of the supermarket isn’t irrational nor chaotic…

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        OneAlpha – one of my paramedic colleagues used to say something similar, “drive with the idea that you are invisible to 99% of the motoring public and the 1% that can see you is trying to kill you”.

        He was talking about large EMS units with lights and sirens but that advice applies very well to riding a motorcycle.

  • avatar
    Toad

    “Speculation around the motorcycling community…”

    “Various anonymous people on the Internet have combined to make a Facebook page…”

    “One of the more interesting posts on the FB page claims..”

    Really? I know JB and TTAC can do much better than this.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Our local news reported that she has been arrested for domestic violence three times. People that claim to know her say they aren’t surprised by what she is accused of. I thought Jack was fair in tone: “And while it’s easy to come down on the side of a dead war hero instead of a live hard-faced woman with gang tats, it’s not always that simple in the real world.” I took this to mean that he isn’t ruling out the possibility that this incident was initiated by the victim caving in the driver’s door of her car with his boot.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Those are meant to be disclaimers as to the validity of the information received.

      If the B&B want a full report into this woman I’ll go as far as they desire. Hope I don’t catch herpes.

  • avatar
    Bored383

    my commute in San Diego is about 300mi/wk right now. I see lots of lane splitting. I think it works well when all parties understand the concept and its benefits. By and large I see lane splitting motorcyclists breezing along safely with everyone – both those on the motorcycles and those in the cars – respecting each others spaces. I often see motorcyclists giving thanks to cars that give them extra space, and I see plenty of cars that have noticed them approaching and done so.

    The idea of it is terrific, IMHO. Those lane splitting motorcycles are taking up that much less space on the road and as a result I get to where I am going quicker and easier.

    maybe this is a result of context of the commute. everyone has someplace to go so just get there smoothly. At least in this location – I am from Baltimore originally and yeah East Coast people are more angry overall. I have seen people be assholes to each other, of course. It feels pretty evenly split between cars and motorcycles in those instances. To be honest I see a lot more people being dicks to each other in cars than between cars and bikes.

    I don’t ride motorcycles myself. just not my jam.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Where are these miles you’re covering? I’ve spent days on the five between La Jolla and National City while lane-splitters are mopped off the pavement, especially between the 52 and the Coronado bridge. They have not saved me time overall.

    • 0 avatar
      Yuppie

      I agree with the first paragraph, with respect to the traffic on the I-5 between CA-78 and CA-56.

      • 0 avatar
        Bored383

        yeah – I don’t go much south of the 5/805 split – I just run from the 78 down to mira mesa blvd and back up again . . . plus a lot of back and forth on the 78 and surface streets in north county (palomar airport rd, el camino real, melrose, oside blvd, college, etc.)

  • avatar
    redliner

    This is why you have never seen a box set with GI Joe and Hood-Barbie. They don’t play well together.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I’m fine with lane splitting if it gets motorcyclists the hell away from me all the faster. They’re too fragile.

    Friend of mine was driving through an interstate construction detour on a rainy night. A motorcycle came out of nowhere and roared past him on the right shoulder. Several cars up the biker lost it, crashed into a concrete barrier and got thrown right into the middle of the detour lane.

    Mike and 5 other people ran over him before anyone knew what was happening. Now they get to live with the memory. It doesn’t help them to know from the cops that the biker was everything you’d expect, and that he was probably dead before they hit him, thumping over a large animal is gross.

    So, go on, flash on by me and keep going. Have your tragedy elsewhere. But preferably avoid shoulders.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    I’ve been lane splitting 18 miles of I-10 across Los Angeles twice a day for three years now, and have only had one encounter with a car driver who made a sudden lane change into the side of my bike. Broke my foot peg off, but I stayed on the bike and yelled at him for not using his BMW’s turn signal.

    That said, I have had very positive experiences lane splitting. I don’t lane split when traffic is going faster than 40 or so, and I’m usually only going 15 – 20 faster than traffic so I have time to react.

    I feel FAR safer lane splitting than sitting in traffic between bumpers. In stop and go, I’ve often felt like the car behind me was looking past me to the car ahead of me, and following far too close as a result. Studies have found that accidents per moto mile in CA are less than in states like AZ and FL, where splitting is illegal and bikes get rear-ended at a much higher rate.

    Most drivers in CA are pretty damn cool or just indifferent about lane splitting, in my experience (about 80k miles now). Lots of people move over a little to let me by, and I’ve only had very rare instances of people moving to block me.

    I view it like the grocery store checkout; if I’m in line with a full cart of stuff, and you walk up behind me with one or two items, I’m going to let you go ahead of me. No real skin off my ass, and you’re happier, too.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      The only problem I have is this:

      “you walk up behind me with one or two items, I’m going to let you go ahead of me.”

      A car and a bike have equal number of groceries. One is not more deserving.

      • 0 avatar
        stevelyon

        I never said I deserved the courtesy as a motorcyclist. I think it’s a courtesy if someone lets me by, and I always acknowledge it when they scoot over a couple extra inches.

        I see the checkout line equivalence like so: My motorcycle, in the space between lanes, does not slow down any cars behind me. If a car driver lets me by, I’m not adding any time to his trip. So if anything, it’s even less of an inconvenience than the checkout line analogy, as dude with one item going ahead of me does slow me down a small amount.

    • 0 avatar
      leon_foonman

      People in the SF Bay Area don’t attack lane-sharing…they are used to it, and don’t have a cow just because someone might get over the bridge 5 minutes before they do.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    I’ll go along with stoplight lanesplitting if it becomes OK to skip ahead in line every time your transaction can happen faster.

    I’m looking forward to leaving the elevator before a fat person because I’m smaller and can move faster.

    Or walking up beside people in the buffet line, and just grabbing some chicken.

    After all, these things are more efficient right? Anyone who doesn’t understand this is just a wet blanket for those of us who walk fast and have low BMI.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm

      You are exactly what is wrong with America today. It is all about me…..if someone else is getting ahead, I am filled with rage and jealousy.

      Seriously, I hope you do not live in California, we do not need any more of your kind here.

      The reason that lane splitting is “allowed”, as instructed to me during my motorcycle safety course sponsored by the CHP, is:

      1) Motorcyclists do not have the benefit of an air-conditioned car with a cabin air filter, the sit in the blazing sun breathing in all the exhaust fumes if they were to not allowed to lane split.

      2) Most motorcycles are air cooled. You need moving air to keep the engine cool. Bikes sitting in traffic tend to overheat.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        I was joking, but only half joking.

        While I sympathize with the motorcyclists’ plight (I am a bicycle commuter), I also think the impact goes beyond the benefit to the 2.2% of vehicles in the US that are motorcycles. Lanesplitting also means cagers have to ratchet up their awareness, and I just don’t see the point in asking 98% of drivers to be hyper-aware of other vehicles in the same lane.

        You could also make the case it’s highly inefficient. Let’s say we allow lanesplitting. Now every driver should be checking their mirrors and watching for motorcycles in their own lane right? What are the odds a motorcycle is there? Maybe 2 percent?

        So 98 percent of the time, all drivers are asked to apply extra attention, when the leading cause of accidents is distraction. It’s just much simpler for the driving public to consider lane markings inviolable.

        If there was ever an issue that should be decided by popular vote, it’s this. Motorcyclists aren’t being discriminated against if they can’t lanesplit. Towns and cities aren’t going to see a measureable benefit from allowing 2.2% of vehicles to move faster. Drivers will only have more liability placed on them. Blindspots are only getting smaller. Insurance will go up.

        Given that it’s not a civil rights issue, or an equal access issue, motorcyclists aren’t currently being discriminated against, there is no safety benefit and no appreciable traffic benefit… the decision of the entire motorist public should be respected. If there was ever a proper application of the popular vote it’s this one because all the rights are being respected without lanesplitting. Why not put it to a vote?

        The only real, measurable, significant benefit is to the motorcyclist. And to that argument I say “nay, I’d rather not give motorcyclists that benefit. I am doing enough work watching out for other kinds of accidents already.” I believe I have the choice to say that since my democracy argument is covered.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          “I just don’t see the point in asking 98% of drivers to be hyper-aware of other vehicles in the same lane.”

          It certainly is asking a a lot. But just think of the possibilities: If Mr./Mrs. driver has to pay more attention, he or she is going to be a better driver. If enough people do that, the accident rate will go down, shortening everyone’s commute, lowering insurance premiums, saving gas, etc.

          Sharing the roads doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.

        • 0 avatar
          Yuppie

          You should be checking your blind spot prior to switching lanes anyway. It not only benefits a motorcyclist who may be passing by, but also other cars as well as your own.

          By your same logic it would be too much to ask those in parked cars to check before opening a door onto your passing bicycle.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          All people in cars have to do to enable lane splitting is

          – stay in their lane
          – look in their rear view mirror and signal before they change lanes

          You know, just like they are supposed to do WITHOUT lane splitting.

          In other words, this “hyper-awareness” you are talking about is nothing more than basic defensive driving, which should be the bare minimum, not a huge ask.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Lol, what a miserable life you must lead.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    First of all, technically it’s lane sharing, not lane splitting. It should only be done between the two leftmost lanes. California is the only place where it’s practiced and tolerated, mainly because motor cops find it useful. I’ve done it when I’m in California, and at first it’s nerve wracking. But stop and go traffic is a lot more dangerous to motorcyclists than lane sharing done properly. There are certain conditions where it’s mostly safe, but when you exceed a delta of over 20mph with traffic, or when traffic is moving more than 30mph, its efficacy drops pretty rapidly.

    My feeling is that this legislation is intended to regulate the practice, since it is a bit of a free for all at this point. But look at it this way: if a draconian regulatory regime like California thinks there is some merit to it, chances are there probably is.

    Thirty-plus years motorcycling, over 500,000 miles in all conditions. I prefer to live and ride in places where lane sharing is NOT a useful tool. If you do, I feel for you.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    The natural order of things, as seen in almost every other nation, is for small, fast vehicles to go where they fit and pass large, slower vehicles.
    Tom Vanderbilt’s book “Traffic” explains that much traffic is caused by people’s sense of unfairness. Motorcycles moving helps traffic flow. It doesn’t help you, but it really doesn’t harm you at all or cost you anything. But uncivilized people get this chip on their shoulders that someone is getting past them and chaos ensues.
    Perhaps all lane changes should be banned, for ultimate fairness and safety. All cars pick a lane and stay there until they have to exit the road. Why should your car pass a large trailer just because you can? No fair!

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I like where you’re going with the argument, but I’d still like someone to flesh out the cognitive burden lanesplitting would place on 98% of registered vehicles. I think we still have to do work before we can assert it doesn’t harm at all or cost anything to the vast majority of road users.

      I oppose lanesplitting but not because it isn’t fair. I oppose it because I don’t like it. Normally, you can overcome “i don’t like it” with arguments about benefits and rights. However, the only benefit is to the motorcyclist (traffic benefits would be negligible if at all measurable). Their rights are already protected. Therefore I should get a right to vote whether I want to take on additional risk during my drive. I’m all in favor of a vote. The usual oppositions to “mob rule” don’t apply here.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        You are free to that opinion. I admire your honesty as well. Unfortunately logic, evidence, and unfortunately the changing tides of culture aren’t on your side.

        Don’t like it? Get ahead- ride a motorcycle :)

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        Your risk is minimal unless you’re in the habit of launching yourself into vacant spaces without looking first. If you aren’t already watching for motorcycles coming up from behind you in ALL driving conditions, including slow heavy traffic, you’re probably not a very situationally aware driver in the first place. Fortunately, most motorcyclists take drivers like that into account.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          I like to think of checking my mirrors as “driving.” I’m not checking because of paranoia of overtaking motorcycles about to teleport next to my door, I’m checking them because it is part of “driving.” The burden of keeping my car in the middle of my lane, while driving speeds slow or fast, that is also part of what I call “driving.”

          Sheesh!

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    ive been riding for over 28 years now, and the only time i regularly lanesplit is on major (2 wide lanes in each direction) surface streets if a light recently turned red and i know i can get to the front before its green.

    on freeways, just being able to get to and use the carpool lane is enough for me. even if the 605 is packed and everyone is crawling along, the HOV lane is usually moving at least 60mph, which is plenty fast for me. i usually try to stay off to the left in the HOV lane, because even going 60 isnt fast enough for some riders.

    im sure shes going to claim he kicked her car and then brake-checked her, which some asshole riders do. thats all something that will have to come out in court.

  • avatar
    daneli

    This story about a crazy, maybe-gang-affiliated wacko and a the tragic death she caused has almost nothing to do with lane-splitting, almost completely obscures the important news out of California this week, and seems to be an attempt to bring the standards of cheap tabloid journalism to thetruthaboutcars. Try harder next time! The real news is:

    1) “[An] exhaustive UC Berkeley study…shows that lane-splitting motorcyclists were considerably less likely to experience serious injury from their accidents than motorcyclists who were not lane-splitting at the time of their collisions.”

    2) “The proposed new law would permit motorcycle lane-splitting in California, provided the motorcyclist is not moving more than 15 mph faster than surrounding traffic, and not moving at more than 50 mph.”

    source: http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-83659861/

  • avatar
    tbone33

    A contributor to road rage incidents like this is the popular image of motorcyclists here in San Diego, and possibly the U.S. Three loud minorities tend to shape people’s perspective of motorcyclists, and these minorities make people dislike riders:

    1. Sportbike riders that lane share or generally drive dangerously. I can’t tell you the models of the last two bikes that responsibly filtered by me, but I can certainly tell you that an R6 and a GSX-R600 were the last two models to come out of nowhere and lane share at triple digit speeds.

    2. The “loud pipes save lives” crowd. In San Diego you leave your windows open most of the year. When you are trying to go to sleep or stay asleep it pisses you off when a 110 decibel cruiser scoots by, especially when it sets off the neighbor’s car alarm. Especially when it wakes your infant child. Of course no one hears all of the responsibly baffled motorcycles, which is the point.

    3. The outlaw persona from television that is embraced by the doctors and dentists who play Sons of Anarchy dress-up on their $28,000 Harleys.

    If only there was an association that informed the public that most riders are ordinary people that reduce congestion and hence pollution. We riders don’t have that, but we certainly have an association that fights for our rights to splatter our heads on the pavement and annoy our neighbors with loud pipes.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I’ll never understand the sportbike douchebags or the fat old men on the Harleys.

      I hate the douchebags who’re on a 180-MPH missile with 500 times the power-to-weight ratio of a horse, in a tank top, shorts and flip flops. They’re salsa if they lay that thing down or centerpunch a city bus with it, and yet they steadfastly refuse to get that part of the process over with.

      I really hate the Harley guys and their theatrical King of the Cell Block act. Didn’t anyone ever tell them that the scariest dude in the room is the quiet guy minding his own business? A Tim McGraw beard, arms stained green with tattoos and an acre of S&M leather doesn’t make you frightening.

      Once again – the worst part of Star Wars is the fans. Why do the most visible subcultures in any given field have to ruin it for the rest of us?

  • avatar
    bunkie

    “…we certainly have an association that fights for our rights to splatter our heads on the pavement and annoy our neighbors with loud pipes.”

    Don’t get me started on this subject. When I moved from a helmet state to a non-helmet state, my insurance doubled. Were the “let the rider decide” guys going to make up the difference? Not a chance. I’m fully in favor of being allowed one shot from a night-vision-equipped deer rifle at the bozo with the open pipes at 2AM. That would end this ridiculousness right quick.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      There’s some melody to a 7L V8 monster rumbling down the road, but even that’s not appreciated when the sound rattles the windows down some nice country road in the small hours. There is nothing beautiful or melodic to the sound of most motorcycle engines. Most people are going to hope the insurers put motorcycles out of reach as long as there are these people who feel like they have to disturb everyone else’s peace and quiet for a failure to understand the Doppler Effect. Your plan would probably be more effective.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Is there a width limit on the rear-end of Harley Davidson’s or their riders? I’m not sure you could fit most of them between two parked cars.

    I’m also sure it’s perfectly helpful to call people in cars a fine, non-pejorative like “cagers”. Terms like that sure make the South Park guys look right.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Well, motorcyclists have been generalized and called all kinds of names in this comment thread. Strange, but prob not really, that you take no issue with that.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I live in California and don’t get the lane splitting idea. Most of the roads are BARELY wide enough for a pick up with those trailer mirrors. You can’t fit a bike in that lane too.
    My favorite lane splitting technique is when I drive the canyon roads in L.A. at 6 AM when motorcycle riders “lane split” on the other side of the double yellow lines. Always a thrill trying to avoid a fatality on the way to work.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I fail to see how a tattoos, risqué photos and alleged allegations (say that 5 times really fast) are germane to the story of vehicular homicide.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Part of the safety equation when riding a motorcycle is to be SEEN. Lane splitting all but takes that away. Studies show it is safe but I would not chance it. I tell all new riders “to be seen in traffic you have to act like a car.. If you don’t bad things can and will happen.” I myself nearly took a guy out who was in my blindspot at dusk with his light off (he was lane splitting). I didn’t see him or hear him. We came very close to trading paint. Though legal, I won’t lane split. It is a choice- like helmet laws, where some states mandate compliance and some do not, I always wear one.

  • avatar
    3XC

    I haven’t been on a motorcycle since 2002 and I probably never will again. Shame. Its one of life’s truly great pleasures, but I have too much to lose to become a statistic.

    Perhaps once self driving cars arrive and I’m no longer at the mercy of a sociopath who, on a whim, decides to spice up their life by murdering me as I attempt to legally pass them on the left on a motorcycle, but until that day, no .

  • avatar
    BerlinDave

    Not that I guess it makes that much difference but – strange tire wear on the bike in the picture?

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    Saw in one of the news organizations’ reports that the girl’s mother said the b*tch had had her car fender kicked *** FIVE MILES BACK *** and caught up to him to get his insurance information.

    I used to ride, and I used to lane split. If CPO Buob was lane-splitting and the chick was beside him then, there is no way in hell that she was able to keep up with him or catch up with him on an interstate, in traffic, which is the only place where lane splitting can occur.

    The traffic was heavy and there is no way she would have been able to keep up with him.

    A trained race car driver couldn’t keep up with a lane splitting Ducati for five miles, much less a woman who had had her license suspended for two years for “lack of knowledge or skill” according to another news report.

    If the prosecutor misses that one, shame on him. I hope if he isn’t a rider, that some rider will tip him off to that fact.

    That’s all I’ve got on this sorry story. Except any of you who are still blaming the biker and are saying the poor woman was baited into doing this, or that it was an accident, are either misinformed or full of it.

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