Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
Re: Splitting Lanes in CA
Most of my 30 years of riding has been in California, on daily commutes and longer rides. I agree with the others' excellent comments about lane sharing and the skills and techniques involved.
One significant reason I chose the K1200GT over the R1200RT is that the GT has its mirrors positioned high and wide. The RT's mirrors are down and low. If you are planning to split lanes, you need to keep your head up and attention focused on the road ahead, including far ahead. If I owned an RT (or similar motorcycle) and wanted to split lanes, I would seriously consider adding a set of high mirrors for the mirror mount holes.
Here are a few hints:
Get a tape measure and measure your bike at the wide points. Know where the widest points are. Know how much room you have when seated, and what sticks out where. Generally speaking, the mirrors or the saddlebags are the widest points. Know which wide points move with the handlebars and which don't. (Are your mirrors attached to the handlebars or the faring? If you get stuck behind another vehicle's mirrors or other protrusions, how will you "wiggle" out of it? Leaning the bike side-to-side while you duck walk the bike? Turning the handlebars? ...)
Keep your head up and your mind on the traffic ahead. Note any openings where a car may change lanes in front of you. They won't look for you before they commit.
Don't exceed the flow of traffic by more than a small margin (say, 5 or 10 mph). The goal is to get past the jam efficiently. If you are traveling faster than you can react to a sudden change, then slow down.
Be polite, courteous, and friendly. Remember, you are sharing the road with others. It isn't their duty to get out of your way. When possible, a "thank you" hand wave does a lot of good, but don't compromise your safety for it.
Be on the lookout for other motorcyclists, in front of you and behind you. If a motorcyclist is traveling faster than you, merge to allow them to pass.
When possible, follow behind a skilled motorcyclist. The other drivers will notice them as they pass by, and be on the lookout for you. It is especially nice when the other motorcyclist is riding something big and wide, or is a CHP officer.
At the same time, don't follow motorcyclists who are riding at speeds beyond your abilities. They may be riding recklessly and exceeding their own abilities. You don't want to be a part of their accident.