Lane Splitting - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 4:43 am Thread Starter
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Lane Splitting

I was out in CA for an unexpected week long road trip a few weeks ago and got to experience Lane Splitting first hand from the cages perspective. This was my first viewing. Probable if I was out there more often, my comments would be tempered some, but I have to say that if I had to make the decision as to allow it or not, based upon my anecdotal experience, the answer would be ABSOLUTELY NOT!

On most occasions, the bikes really did abuse the privilege and if I had the ability, would have been stopped and ticketed. Only in one situation, when traffic was at a crawl, did a biker slowly thread through traffic. ALL other situations they were moving quite a bit faster than the traffic, that was backed up but moving at 15 - 20, even 35 MPH. Some even split between the regular lane and the the HOV lane. I'm surprised that it is allowed or even tolerated the way I saw it.

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post #2 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 7:36 am
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Re: Lane Splitting

Haven't you heard?

All motorcycles are dangerous death traps, and anyone who rides them has a death wish.

My cousin's wife's older brother's nephew rode a motorcycle once, and now he's dead!

That's why the call them Donorcycles . . .


It's all a matter of perspective, really.

Like anything else, lane splitting can be done in a safe and reasonable manner, or it can be done badly. Same as with riding or driving in general.

The main difference is that most California drivers are aware of it and so are less surprised than many out of town drivers. And most California riders grew up in that traffic mess and so are highly attuned to the ebb and flow of things, and are always hyper-vigilant. Besides, if it does go badly it's the rider that'll pay the price much more than the cager, so it's in our own best interests to ride within our own skill and experience limits, which may differ drastically from the average car driver.

So please don't fall into the all-too-common trap of "If I can't see my self doing this, then nobody should be allowed to . . . "

For the record, the space between the normal and HOV lanes is usually a bit wider, with cars not allowed to lane change except for certain designated and well-marked areas, so it's actually safer from the rider's perspective.

One last question: How many cars did you see swerving around in their lanes (and nearby lanes) as the driver kept looking down to text, or drinking coffee, or fiddling with the radio, or just not paying attention at all because they're safely wrapped up in a large steel cage and oblivious to the world outside? Way too many for my comfort . . .

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post #3 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 8:32 am
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Re: Lane Splitting

If you don't want to do it, nobody said you have to do it.
dc

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post #4 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:07 am
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Re: Lane Splitting

Lane splitting or as condoned by our CHP calling it Lane Sharing, here in Ca has been around for a long time. We are used to it, both cars and mc drivers. Your limited observations are incorrect as I regularly split in heavy slow traffic. Cagers in the last few years are very courteous and often times slightly move left or right in their lanes for me. As an added precaution when lane sharing I use my emergency signals. MC riding is inherently dangerous as is jaywalking.
I have also driven in Fl many times and frankly some of the worst drivers, talking on cell phones, octogenarians+ driving land yachts not being able to see over the steering wheel .....
Dan, if you don't feel safe doing it and have no experience with our habits then don't do it. We Kalifornias my have a lot of quirks but lane sharing ain't one of them.

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post #5 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 11:24 am
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Re: Lane Splitting

In 2013, CHP put out a "lane sharing" notification on their website that stated that lane sharing is legal and included guidelines similar to the following:

1.Travel at a speed that is no more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic – danger increases at higher speed differentials.
2.It is not advisable to lane split when traffic flow is at 30 mph or faster – danger increases as overall speed increases.
3.Typically, it is more desirable to split between the #1 and #2 lanes than between other lanes.
4.Consider the total environment in which you are splitting, including the width of the lanes, size of surrounding vehicles, as well as roadway, weather, and lighting conditions.
5.Be alert and anticipate possible movements by other road users.

The CHP has since removed the guidelines, due to a legal complaint, with a statement that lane sharing is neither allowed or prohibited in CA.

It is widely done and accepted if done safely as MarinPhil stated.

https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-serv...cyclist-safety
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post #6 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 12:07 pm
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Re: Lane Splitting

Hey, Dan, I know exactly what you mean! I see the Californian's defending themselves but not sure they understand what you were saying. Lane splitting or lane sharing isn't legal yet in Tejas but I expect it to pass soon. I think those who do it cautiously and safely actually help the flow of traffic and improve over all safety. Slow or stopped traffic and no more that 10 MPH faster than traffic works well (funny how 10 MPH seems fast in that scenario). I don't do it because Babe has such wide "hips" but would probably do it on a narrower bike. Drivers conditioning themselves to expect it is the key challenge. Hopefully, it will reduce injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists from being rear-ended by the distracted public that thinks that driving is a secondary responsibility when behind the wheel.

For those who don't do it as intended, ...well that justifies those quoted by Ken and makes us all a little less safe.
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post #7 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 12:50 pm
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Re: Lane Splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by BennyBob View Post
Hey, Dan, I know exactly what you mean! I see the Californian's defending themselves but not sure they understand what you were saying. Lane splitting or lane sharing isn't legal yet in Tejas but I expect it to pass soon. I think those who do it cautiously and safely actually help the flow of traffic and improve over all safety. Slow or stopped traffic and no more that 10 MPH faster than traffic works well (funny how 10 MPH seems fast in that scenario). I don't do it because Babe has such wide "hips" but would probably do it on a narrower bike. Drivers conditioning themselves to expect it is the key challenge. Hopefully, it will reduce injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists from being rear-ended by the distracted public that thinks that driving is a secondary responsibility when behind the wheel.

For those who don't do it as intended, ...well that justifies those quoted by Ken and makes us all a little less safe.
Oh, have no fear, I understood Dan, and in no way am I condoning the ones who lane split unsafely. I was simply expounding on the fact that it's legal (or at least not illegal) in CA. I lane split when in very heavy CA traffic, but I do it slowly as I know what can happen. As someone said, the auto drivers here tend to watch and many move over for bikes when traffic slows. The accident rate involving riders who are lane splitting is very low, although we had a fatality involving a guy splitting here very recently. He was riding way over the speed of traffic and swerved to avoid a car stopped in front of him and hit another car tossing him in front of a truck.

With that being said, it can be done safely!
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post #8 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 3:25 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Lane Splitting

Benny got my point. :-)

I was not criticizing it when done correctly. I am actually for it when it is done correctly. What I saw was not doing it correctly and a safety hazard. Definitely giving bikes a bad name. Traffic was flowing, just not fast enough for the bikes. They just seemed to be abusing the privilege.
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post #9 of 16 Old Nov 10th, 2015, 7:16 pm
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Re: Lane Splitting

I am usually one of the slower lane splitters.
When a faster one comes up, I cut over into the car pool lane in an empty space, or make an empty space (they are usually queasy about hitting a biker) (I hope), and let the faster bikes go by.
One thing I certainly watch for is the out of state plates. Those are dangerous ones per se, without regard to them not watching for motorcycles, not knowing where they are going, and not understanding that it's perfectly legal to lane split.
dc

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post #10 of 16 Old Nov 11th, 2015, 4:10 am
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Re: Lane Splitting

Hi from Oz - Queensland (God's country to the locals) to be exact. Our State laws changed recently to make what many riders have done for years, legal. We can't split above 30kph, can use emergency vehicle lanes only in 90kph or higher areas, do so safely, and can use 'bicycle loading bays' (front rank at traffic lights). We can't Kalifornicate by filtering at speed on the freeways.

I'm with Bennybob and cruise at limit-plus-10 (in kph) so that I have a steady stream of traffic moving slowly back towards me at all times to keep them right where I can see them, and only a very few drug-hyped chargers coming from behind occasionally. That - and working from the basis that all the cagers are out to kill me - has kept me alert and engaged and out of trouble for decades (though with the odd Kamikaze occasionally reinforcing the 'cagers are out to get you' mantra).

Not sure about 'fat hips' as I split with a 980mm wide 2015 R1200RT (it's neat that you can flick the mirrors in and out when filtering to the front of a queue and faced with a couple of cages that are 970 apart!)

Peter
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post #11 of 16 Old Nov 11th, 2015, 9:48 am
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Re: Lane Splitting

Dan, lane split enough to get used to it; takes more than one trip to CA. I've been doing it since I was 16. When done safely, it's a real time saver, and give motorcycle a true advantage in the brutal CA traffic.

IMO, it's safer than sitting in traffic waiting for a rear-ender from a distracted driver.

The first time my wife rode with me on a long trip through Southern CA, she begged me to NOT split lanes. Why? She wasn't used to it, and assumed it was dangerous.

Now it's second nature to her as well.

A big bike like the K16 kind of dictates that you must use a "safe speed", as it doesn't fit in some places as well as an R1 for instance. But, an idiot can ride any make of bike.

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post #12 of 16 Old Nov 11th, 2015, 12:19 pm
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Re: Lane Splitting

Hi Dan,

This thread has seen a lot of comments in a short period of time. Everyone has said most of what I would have said. I live in California, and have been lane sharing on my motorcycle almost daily for over 30 years without issues. As others have pointed out, I have noticed in recent years that more and more drivers are not only more aware of motorcyclists sharing lanes, but they often move over to make it easier. Very few drivers actively interfere with motorcyclists, which was much more common.

Offsetting driver courtesy to lane sharing motorcyclists, I have also observed that more and more drivers are driving recklessly, without any regard for the law. They whip through stop signs and red lights without slowing down, they cross the limit line before aggressively stopping (leaving other drivers to wonder if they are going to stop at all), they drive at speeds well above the speed limit, they change lanes abruptly without signaling, and much more.

Motorcyclists do not appear to be immune from that same increase in recklessness and disregard for the law that I have observed. Because motorcyclists by definition accept greater risks than drivers, then perhaps a higher percentage of them are reckless on the roads, which might explain Dan's observations, at least in part.
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post #13 of 16 Old Nov 11th, 2015, 9:56 pm
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Re: Lane Splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDiver View Post
Some even split between the regular lane and the the HOV lane.
Im surprised this surprises you ... this is the safest place to lane split. HOV lanes usually have a double yellow that does not allow cars to enter or exit the lane until a break in the double yellow. A lot less risk of cars jockeying for position and quickly changing lanes in front of you.
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post #14 of 16 Old Nov 12th, 2015, 2:07 am
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Re: Lane Splitting

In addition to our Australian cousin's comments.

In Belgium, Filtering (Lane Splitting) was regularly performed by the riders, sometimes at very high speeds - 100kmph+. Most of the car drivers would give room to the bikes. The Government decided to make it official, and set some laws. They are broadly in line with the CHiP advice.
- Not over 50kpmh (30mph)
- Speed difference to be within 25 kmph (under 20 mph)
- Use the inner two lanes

I regularly filter on the dual carriageway (highway) otherwise what's the point of a bike? Due to being a Brit and grew up with a totally different perspective - I am one of the slowest Belgian plated bikes on the road. I too make way for the other bikes coming behind me. I ride what I consider to be a safe speed.

However the perspective of speed from a motorcycle and car are totally different. Bikes can & do come from nowhere, appearing to be moving a warp speed, when they are not.

I use the concept, do what you are comfortable with. If you ride within your limits (and within the bikes limits) then unless you get a brain dead car driver / white van man - you might be safe!

Best regards
Sleuth

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post #15 of 16 Old Nov 12th, 2015, 7:51 am
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Re: Lane Splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by BennyBob View Post
Hey, Dan, I know exactly what you mean! I see the Californian's defending themselves but not sure they understand what you were saying. Lane splitting or lane sharing isn't legal yet in Tejas but I expect it to pass soon. I think those who do it cautiously and safely actually help the flow of traffic and improve over all safety. Slow or stopped traffic and no more that 10 MPH faster than traffic works well (funny how 10 MPH seems fast in that scenario). I don't do it because Babe has such wide "hips" but would probably do it on a narrower bike. Drivers conditioning themselves to expect it is the key challenge. Hopefully, it will reduce injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists from being rear-ended by the distracted public that thinks that driving is a secondary responsibility when behind the wheel.

For those who don't do it as intended, ...well that justifies those quoted by Ken and makes us all a little less safe.
Lane-splitting has been attached to several bills in Texas for well over a decade. They never make it all the way through, and I do not see that changing anytime soon. Hopefully, I am wrong.

As much as I would like to see lane splitting, lane filtering might be a good baby-step for Texas to make. Filtering, as introduced last year in NSW, Australia, allows bikes to "filter" through the stopped cars at a red light and make their way to the front of the queue. This way they a) reduce the risk of being rear-ended or sandwiched by vehicles approaching the queue; and b) reduce traffic by removing themselves from the pack of queued autos when the light turns green.
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post #16 of 16 Old Dec 7th, 2015, 12:45 pm
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Re: Lane Splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleuth View Post
I regularly filter on the dual carriageway (highway) otherwise what's the point of a bike?

Best regards
Sleuth
For me regardless of filtering/lane splitting my bike is therapy. Better than any psychiatrist. I would ride no matter what. ...but that's just me.

p.s. I do realize that I took you out of context.

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