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Thread: Lane Splitting Debate

  1. #61
    Lakemaker lakemaker's Avatar
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    I've done it... and lane splitting can be done safely... I stay at about 20 mph faster than moving traffic and once the traffic reaches 50 or more I get back in the lane. Those bikers who move between traffic at 50 mph or more than the surrounding vehicles are looking to die.

    The "Slower Traffic Keep Right" rule only applies to "limited access highways"... that means freeways here in California. A large 6 lane road does not have that requirement and you will not find that sign on those roads.

    Be safe.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by mototraveler View Post
    I have ridden many wonderful miles in CA and when the traffic bogs down it is a real blessing to be able to split lanes. I don't always do it as I travel a lot and it is much more difficult with saddlebags.

    CA riders straighten me out if I am wrong, but aren't there some (possibly unwritten) rules about lane splitting like: only when traffic is 35 mph or under, don't exceed the prevailing traffic's speed by more than 15 or 20 mph (or maybe less), split between the left or fast lane and the lane to it's immediate right (on multilane roads). I'm sure there are more, can anyone expand on this?

    Karen
    Karen, a few years ago I stopped at a CHP office to inquire about this . They mentioned that there aren't any laws that specifically address "lane splitting", "lane sharing", "white lining", etc. Each individual officer has the authority to make a decision about whether he (or she) thinks you're doing something unsafe or illegal. They have a whole toolbox of laws to hit you with. For instance, if you tick someone's mirror going by, they could ticket you for "usafe lane change" or whatever.

    The CHP LEO who drove a car said he felt that lane splitting was dangerous under any circumstances. The CHP LEO at the adjacent desk--who rides a bike--said he thought splitting was safe, although he personally wouldn't split at more than about 40 mph faster than traffic.

    I offered some suggestions on splitting etiquette on Proficient Motorcycling second edition.

    pmdave

  3. #63
    rocketman
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    From the Ca gov highway patrol site

    Q:"Can motorcycle riders "split" lanes and ride between other vehicles?"
    A: "Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner."

    the motorcycle drivers manual says its unsafe but not illeagal but that's about all and the actual law statue the last time I looked only addressed "Lane Sharing" (but that may have changed if one goes by the following info, which while not the actual code but rather the Ca Gov. sites synopsis...see below

    and from the same site but different area...

    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/shr_slow_veh.htm

    "Motorcycles may travel faster than traffic during congested road conditions and can legally travel in the unused space between two lines of moving or stationary vehicles, which is commonly called "lane splitting." "

    but also state
    " -Allow the motorcycle a full lane width. Although it is not illegal to share lanes with motorcycles, it is unsafe.
    -Never try to pass a motorcycle in the same lane you are sharing with the motorcycle. "

    So it seems it is considered leagal although I note the stipulation "during congested road conditions"

    and I would imagine that like anything pertaining to driving, the officer most likely has the discretion of ticketing someone doing so in what they considered an unsafe manner.

    if it were to come up in VA, I doubt I vote for it assuming I could, and probably would not do it, but then I'm just not in a big rush these days..
    RM

  4. #64
    Sam...I am
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    As one of these guys that has to commute daily in the traffic, to and from work, I don't split lanes. Riding the bike to work is just not in the mix for me. Have I split lanes? Yes, ...it's not for me. But there has been times when nothing is moving, so I crawl thru. When this has happened I have found myself moving over for other bikes.

    My morning commute in the cage starts by listening to the traffic reports on the radio, and almost every morning I will hear of "a bike down" in the carpool lane somewhere. I see the bikes out in the carpool lane all the time, and many of them are haulin' arse. Their personal choice I guess, it's just not for me.

    That being said, it is nice to have the ability to crawl through the traffic if needed.

  5. #65
    On the Road
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    I commute on my bike every day. I probably have more miles splitting lanes in my life than some "bikers" have riding period. The key is to learn to read the traffic - head movements, watch for the illegal cell phone users, watch for kids in the back seats of cars, soccer moms (sorry to be so un PC), erratic movements, and so on. And a few set rules - only in straighter sections, never split past a semi or a bus ... they are too squirrely. Saying that, I broke my own rules about a month ago and lost a saddle bag ... my fault entirely (and it was not on a straight stretch, why I thought "this is fine" is beyond me when I immediately followed the thought with "I should not do this"). But ... in areas where the road is relatively straight, good visibility, and for me, traffic no more than about 35mph and I will move in between cars at about 10 to 15 mph faster (a CHP said he would do it no more than 40 mph faster? I hope that was a mistype and what was meant was when traffic is no more than 40 mph). It is the squids that split traffic when it is already moving 70 and they run at 90 that gives the practice a bad name. During commute times, the cages expect it and all but a few of the most rude and ignorant of drivers make room for you.

    Oh, a good set of lighting helps a lot. I run all my lights and high beams in the day time and I have been told it makes me WAY more visible and it twinkles in rear view mirrors which catches cagers attention.

  6. #66
    Let's go scooterboy's Avatar
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    Living in California, I lane split all the time. I always wait untill two cars are next to each other so they can't change lanes on me. I also usually go just a couple of mph faster than the flow of traffic to keep idiots from rear-ending me.

  7. #67
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    In California I've found that the CHP especially are very protective of the shoulder. Their attitude is that it belongs to them and you should stay out. I'm sure that not all are that way, but there are enough that riding there for non-emergency reasons is asking for a citation.
    Shoulders also have more roofing nails laying around and I avoid it for that reason.

    Harry

  8. #68
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    For many years I said there was no place I needed to be badly enough that I would split lanes, even though I saw it done almost daily here in SoCal.

    Since we moved back here in '04 I've gotten to the point where I will do it occasionally, but only when the traffic is moving very slowly. If I have to ride faster than 25 mph to split lanes I'll move back into the lane and stay with the traffic. Since I bought the BMW with the wide saddle bags I find fewer times when I'm willing to do it.

    As many others have said, you really need to learn to read the traffic and determine what people are going to do in front of you. If you can do that then the practice is fairly safe and much better than being rear ended by someone not paying attention.
    '74 Honda CB360, '77 Yamaha RD400, '83 Yamaha 650 Seca Turbo, '02 BMW K1200RS,
    '01 BMW R1100RT
    IBA #55862

  9. #69
    Solar
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    Legal in Texas?

    I moved to Texas a few years ago and got here just in time for a vote to permit motorcyclists to lane-split; it didn't pass. Apparently, the way the law was written would have only allowed cyclists wearing helmets to lane-split. So, as you can imagine, there was a large lobby group (non helmet wearers) which crushed the whole process. I received this information from 2 separate motorcycle shops. If this is incorrect, please let me know.

    Coming from California, I was unhappy with the results. Strangely, even as a non helmet wearer, I would have supported it because at the end of the day, I bet most police officers would have turned a blind eye (excluding those with obnoxiously loud exhausts).

    Now, over the past few weeks, I've noticed more and more cyclists land-splitting at stop lights or when traffic is completely stopped (San Antonio area). Thankfully, they have split in a respectful manner. I'm wondering if we're starting to see a trend? Time will tell.

  10. #70
    Let's go scooterboy's Avatar
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    I recently got back from my first trip to the East Coast on a motorcycle. Overall it was a very good experience that I want to do again. Hearing that lane splitting was unlawfull there, I was determined to adhere to the local law. Arriving at the George Washington Bridge from Newark, NJ, on a Sunday afternoon, everything came to a standstill. I thought it would be a good time to cross the bridge, but apperantly not. We would sit for a few minutes and move up a half carlength. After pulling over twice to cool down my ride, and 1 hour 15 minutes later, I said to heck with their laws, and split the lanes to the toll booth and was on my way. A few days later near Concord, New Hampshire I ran upon another traffic jam. This time I just picked my way between the cagers for about four miles when I came upon an auto accident, worked my way to the one open lane and was on my way. Is lane spliting dangerous? Sure, if not done properly, but so is riding a motorcycle, mountain or rock climbing, skydiving, and most anything else we do to amuse ourselves. I wouldn't think of riding a bicycle on a two-lane mountaine road, but a lot of people seem to thrive on it. A dangerous activity seems to be based on one's personal experience!

  11. #71
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    I don't stop

    I live in NC and ride on the shoulder and lane split any time traffic comes to a stop. Yes, I know it is illegal; that is why I pay an attorney to handle these pesky tickets. BTW, I have NEVER gotten a ticket on my motorcycle [over 1,000,000 miles]. If I do, I figure it is the price of doing what makes sense. The law and what makes sense are often at odds.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  12. #72
    rocketman
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    I had someone lane spit on my leg awhile ago, very nasty and I hope he got a ticket for it! Just glad i had on long pants at the time!

    RM

  13. #73
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by pmdave View Post
    Karen, a few years ago I stopped at a CHP office to inquire about this . They mentioned that there aren't any laws that specifically address "lane splitting", "lane sharing", "white lining", etc. Each individual officer has the authority to make a decision about whether he (or she) thinks you're doing something unsafe or illegal. They have a whole toolbox of laws to hit you with. For instance, if you tick someone's mirror going by, they could ticket you for "usafe lane change" or whatever.

    The CHP LEO who drove a car said he felt that lane splitting was dangerous under any circumstances. The CHP LEO at the adjacent desk--who rides a bike--said he thought splitting was safe, although he personally wouldn't split at more than about 40 mph faster than traffic.

    I offered some suggestions on splitting etiquette on Proficient Motorcycling second edition.

    pmdave
    Checked with CA contacts, and like Dave said, while there is NO LAW THAT SPECIFICALLY PERMITS lane splitting by motorcycles in California, there is also no law that 'specifically prohibits it either.'

    In other words, you're at the LEO's discretion whenever you perform that maneuver.

    Ride aware and in view!
    Kevin Greenwald - MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    Motorcycle & High Performance Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  14. #74
    larrysb
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    Lane splitting?

    Bahh.

    I just did the Edelweiss "Tuscany by Scooter Tour". I road a 650cc Burgman Executive in rush hour traffic in Florence, many times. (the tour was the best vacation I've ever had by the way).

    Lane splitting, which is legal in California (if there ain't a law against it, it is legal by definition) used to tense me up.

    Lane-splitting, is for babies.

    We rode like all the other maniacs in traffic. Wrong side of the road, zip back in just before the oncoming bus reaches you, filter around anything that is stopped, never even slow down at stop signs. Felt crazy, until the 15 year old girl went zipping right through us all on a 125cc Scarabeo.
    Last edited by larrysb; 07-09-2011 at 03:17 AM.

  15. #75
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    "Lane splitting, which is legal in California (if there ain't a law against it, it is legal by definition) used to tense me up. "

    Ouch!

    That's the 'slippery slope' rationalization process that has probably given us half the laws we have on the books today.

    The old "If we can't trust citizens to exercise common sense (be it seatbelts, helmets, building codes, assisted suicide, etc.), we'll legislate them into submission."

    Wish it were not so, but there you have it.
    Last edited by Greenwald; 07-08-2011 at 11:45 PM.
    Kevin Greenwald - MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    Motorcycle & High Performance Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

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