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post #1 of 27 Old Jan 19th, 2013, 1:01 pm Thread Starter
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LA Times article on lane splitting

I found this article to be rather interesting.

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post #2 of 27 Old Jan 19th, 2013, 3:40 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

It brought back some memories for me. Let me explain, I have been riding motorcycles in various European countries for over 40 years (Mainly in the UK but also from Norway to Italy and everywhere between) and always practised safe lane splitting. By safe I mean on Motorways (freeways) not lane splitting if the traffic is going more than about 30MPH and happily lane splitting when in stationary traffic. never go more than 10mph faster than the surrounding traffic.
Back in about 1980 I was working In Hawaii for a couple of weeks, on the middle weekend I hired a motorcycle and went for a ride around the island. At junctions and intersections when the traffic was stationary I would work my way to the front and then be the first away when the lights changed. I could not understand why no-one else on a motorcycle was doing this.
The following day I was informed by the guys I was working with that this was illegal. I was astounded. what is the point of owning a motorcycle if you have to ride it like it is 7 feet wide ?
I agree that there are many idiots out there who split lanes at 80MPH but if it is done with consideration then there should be no problems. I will say that lane splitting on the LT in London traffic is probably not advised but that is my decision and I am glad it is not forced on me.

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post #3 of 27 Old Jan 19th, 2013, 7:36 pm Thread Starter
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

I spent many miles filtering an LT through London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh and pretty much most large UK cities. Removing the mirrors did help.

My wife's attitude was "I trust you, but I don't need to see it" so she'd just sit back with her eyes closed and hold on.

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post #4 of 27 Old Jan 19th, 2013, 9:06 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
I spent many miles filtering an LT through London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh and pretty much most large UK cities. Removing the mirrors did help.

My wife's attitude was "I trust you, but I don't need to see it" so she'd just sit back with her eyes closed and hold on.
You made her miss a view of the countryside that's all
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post #5 of 27 Old Jan 19th, 2013, 9:37 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

I wonder why California is the only state with this law.
Again culture is important. In my state not only is it not the law but drivers here go out of their way to prevent such from happening. A cup of coffee out the window, or a cigarette butt, even opening a door or narrowing that free space to non existent are some of the many deterrents use by some of the drivers in my fair city to show their disgust (if I am late we will all be late mentality).
Article was also amusing.
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post #6 of 27 Old Jan 19th, 2013, 11:09 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Wish they had lane splitting in Georgia. At least we get to ride the pay-per-ride lanes for free.


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post #7 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 7:20 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

If you move to the front at a stop light on a motorcycle then would you also be the type to cut to the front of the line at a store. Anybody cuts in front of me & something bad will happen.

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post #8 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 8:46 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

That's not at all the same bloody thing! Moving to the front is:

- safer for the rider - eliminates the risk of getting rear-ended
- not an effect on the wait times for anyone in the queue, as the rider takes off faster than the cars next to him
- an overall reduction of congestion - that's one fewer vehicle in the queue, reducing wait times for anyone who might have been behind him

So, it's safer, and it reduces traffic for all involved. But all you can see is someone cutting in line, and you're already threatening violence. Your attitude and your promised actions are wrong.

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post #9 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 9:02 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Based on a couple of articles I read in Motorcycle Consumer News last year, lane splitting in CA is not allowed by written law at all. Enforcement is non existant, thus the belief that lane splitting is allowed by law in CA.

OK, legal pros, is MCN right or wrong?

Ultra LT
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post #10 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 9:37 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraLT
Based on a couple of articles I read in Motorcycle Consumer News last year, lane splitting in CA is not allowed by written law at all. Enforcement is non existant, thus the belief that lane splitting is allowed by law in CA.

OK, legal pros, is MCN right or wrong?

Ultra LT

Actually it is called lane sharing in the dmv manual and is legal in California. I have had chp traveling down freeways splitting lanes with large groups of motorcycles.

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post #11 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 9:37 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

From CHP themselves:

"Lane splitting in a safe and prudent manner is not illegal in the state of California"

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraLT
Based on a couple of articles I read in Motorcycle Consumer News last year, lane splitting in CA is not allowed by written law at all. Enforcement is non existant, thus the belief that lane splitting is allowed by law in CA.

OK, legal pros, is MCN right or wrong?

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post #12 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 10:21 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

In the dense L.A. traffic cage drivers actually move a bit out of your way to let me through, and I try to wave them thank you whenever safe, and only a very small percentage tries to block me.
I wish more states would allow lane splitting, with the proper public education.

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post #13 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 12:16 pm Thread Starter
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

And there we have the misguided "If I can't get ahead, nobody can!" attitude . . .

Look at it this way: You're standing in line for that huge blockbuster movie, patiently waiting your turn with a hundred others. I've come to see the small independent art picture in the next theater down.

Now if we're buying tickets and there's only one cashier then sure, I get in line along with everybody else. But if I ordered my tickets online ahead of time, then all I need to do is say "Excuse me" and momentarily step through your line to get to my theater door.

I don't get delayed by the big line because I've planned ahead, and you don't get delayed even more while me and my friends purchase tickets at the window just ahead of you.

So if it's done safely and prudently, then everybody wins.

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post #14 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 12:54 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Rode in Barcelona this fall. They have an area ~30' in front of the suggested stooping point lines for auto at traffic light controlled intersections.. You split lanes to get in front of the cars and accelerate when the lights turn green. Of course you have to deal with the scooter traffic as well but, way to go Spain!

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post #15 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 1:22 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Actually a number of years ago a law was introduced to make "lane sharing" illegal. The CHP was at the forefront of fighting that.

I split traffic on the L.A. freeways everyday, including around downtown. I am one less car, twice the mpg, less smog...etc. I always wave to thank people who make an effort to make it easier for me when they can. I often find myself either splitting in front of or behind a police motorcycle. And the only ones that do not are drivers are ignorant of what is happening around them due to the cell phone, or not looking around like they should. Californians are actually pretty good about motorcycles splitting traffic.

If I couldn't split traffic, there would be no reason to ride to work when I could be drinking coffee relaxing in my air conditioned/heated car doing 3 mph.

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post #16 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 1:44 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraLT
Based on a couple of articles I read in Motorcycle Consumer News last year, lane splitting in CA is not allowed by written law at all. Enforcement is non existant, thus the belief that lane splitting is allowed by law in CA.

OK, legal pros, is MCN right or wrong?

Ultra LT
I lane split every day in CA for 4 years.

It is not legal, nor is it illegal, as there is absolutely NO reference to it in the state's highway codes. At one time an attempt was made to pass a law forbidding it, but the
CHP fought it, as if passed, the CHP motorcycles would not be allowed to do it either.

Since there are no laws against it, the CHP "allows" it, if done in a sane manner. However, some cities, such as San Diego, do not like it.I was lane splitting in San Diego once and a SDP motor officer I was passing told me it was not allowed. I said I was on a state highway, and that the CHP allowed it. He gave me a mean look, but did nothing.

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post #17 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 3:54 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
And there we have the misguided "If I can't get ahead, nobody can!" attitude . . .

Look at it this way: You're standing in line for that huge blockbuster movie, patiently waiting your turn with a hundred others. I've come to see the small independent art picture in the next theater down.

Now if we're buying tickets and there's only one cashier then sure, I get in line along with everybody else. But if I ordered my tickets online ahead of time, then all I need to do is say "Excuse me" and momentarily step through your line to get to my theater door.

I don't get delayed by the big line because I've planned ahead, and you don't get delayed even more while me and my friends purchase tickets at the window just ahead of you.

So if it's done safely and prudently, then everybody wins.
Good explanation, Ken. We acquired property in Corona Del Mar a few years ago and I started riding from Vegas to SoCal a couple of times a month, often on a Friday afternoon. My first experience with lane sharing or "filtering" occurred when I was creeping along in a 5 mph string of cars and a CHP officer passed me and motioned me in behind him. It does take a while to get comfortable with it, but once you get the hang of looking ahead and watching the right traffic cues, it is a safe way to navigate the freeways. Also, contrary to what some express, I have never had anyone intentionally attempt to cut me off or even show any real irritation.

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post #18 of 27 Old Jan 20th, 2013, 4:10 pm Thread Starter
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

I've occasionally had drivers express their irritation (which is simply a mirror of their own frustration), or move over to block (you just slide over one lane and split from there for a bit). But that's pretty rare, and most drivers will slide over to give you a bit of space (that is, if they notice you at all).

And freeways with Carpool lanes often have extra width between you and the "normal" traffic, which does make it easier. But you still have to watch out for the entrance/exit points, or just errant drivers in general.

Just like riding in general, it can be done safely and prudently, or you can be a total maniac with little regard for your own safety or your effect on others. How you approach it says a lot more about you as a rider than about the practice in particular.

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post #19 of 27 Old Jan 21st, 2013, 6:04 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moot
Also, contrary to what some express, I have never had anyone intentionally attempt to cut me off or even show any real irritation.
Ok you are talking about the US, in the UK I have found the reverse to be true. It is Car vs Motorbike. There if you are lucky they do not hinder you. In Belgium before it was written into law that you could filter (lane splitting) the majority of Belgians gave room for you. Now it is less. The ones that actively try to block are the Brits!

Certainly I have found that it speeds up the flow of traffic, and I am one of the slowest in the middle lane. When I see a fellow behind me, I let him pass. It takes me perhaps 5-10 mins longer traveling at the legal speed (20kph [slightly more than 10mph] speed difference to a max 50kph [about 50mph]), instead of the usual free traffic time.

I have looked at the CHP recommendations and they are very good - I apply the majority of these when riding.

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post #20 of 27 Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 2:08 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

I agree and disagree with many points made here.
But first we should consider states regulate the driving laws of the individual state and also the driving privileges of the motorist. Also knowledge of all involved of same is critical. Meaning the motorist and the motorcyclist both know and are playing by the same rules. We have the benefit of this forum to kick these things around but what about the 50, 60, 70 year olds who know nothing about motorcycles, who might actually be afraid of them and who employ the mindset that they are saving us from something risky.

Some states have dedicated bus lanes, High Occupancy Vehicle, lanes and in local areas bicycle, cab, and even horse or horse drawn carriages but to help instruct others who are not users of such transport, signs are posted or painted to appropriately mark what the law imposes for that roadway.

Recently on my first trip to Texas I saw on a HOV sign that motorcycles could use that lane but since I was new to the area and not knowing how soon I would near my exit I did not enter. Also the courtesy factor comes into play hostile or aggressive motorist try to control the traffic around them rather than their own vehicle. Like Meese said sometimes at the grocery store someone may see you have a handful of items for checkout and offer you their place in line it speeds up the process.

However, because something is allowed does not make it law. Because it is practiced still does not make it law. When it's in writing and has been legislated upon then it is law.
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post #21 of 27 Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 2:35 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by billsmith
...
However, because something is allowed does not make it law. Because it is practiced still does not make it law. When it's in writing and has been legislated upon then it is law.
ride safe
Laws tend to prohibit activities or clarify activities; they do not "allow" them, or "make them legal".

California has no law prohibiting the chewing of gum, so chewing gum is legal. My city has an ordinance against spitting gum out on the sidewalk, so doing so is illegal; it is expressly illegal.

California has a clarification in the vehicle code that tells us that a motorcycle may use the HOV lane, so we may do so even if there is only a rider on the motorcycle. The law prohibits a single driver from using the HOV lane.

Similarly, the California vehicle code make no prohibition against two vehicles occupying the same lane at the same time in a tandem fashion, so it is not illegal. The fact of the matter is that two cars may share a lane, side by side, if they can fit in that lane in a safe manner. Them wee Fiats just might be able to do it...

There is a great deal of urban legend around the motorcycle lane sharing/splitting, some believing that it came about because CHP needed to be able to do it, and civilians as well, to avoid overheating of their air-cooled motors.

Nope, we can do it because it simply is not illegal, but there are laws prohibiting operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner that the LEOs can bring to bear. Sorta like chewing gum in a safe manner. I try not to walk, text, or cut my hair while chewing my gum...

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post #22 of 27 Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 3:31 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by billsmith


However, because something is allowed does not make it law. Because it is practiced still does not make it law. When it's in writing and has been legislated upon then it is law.
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Au contraire, mon frère. A fundamental principle of our law is that what is not forbidden is permitted. This principle is embodied in the Latin Maxim: Nulla poena sine lege – No penalty without a law. It is only our public officials to which the opposite applies; that is, they may exercise only such powers as they are explicitly granted by law. May it ever be so!

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post #23 of 27 Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 9:25 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

So if lane sharing is such a great idea (and I agree it is), why is it that the so called motorcycle rights groups (AMA, MSF, ABATE) do not push for this at the state level. It seems that these groups have a singular focus on protecting our freedoms (read no helmet laws) but do no have this as one of their key agendas. I would think that lane sharing would give me a hell of a lot of freedom on the road.

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post #24 of 27 Old Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:06 pm
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travman
So if lane sharing is such a great idea (and I agree it is), why is it that the so called motorcycle rights groups (AMA, MSF, ABATE) do not push for this at the state level. It seems that these groups have a singular focus on protecting our freedoms (read no helmet laws) but do no have this as one of their key agendas. I would think that lane sharing would give me a hell of a lot of freedom on the road.
Too often, proposed legislation to allow lane splitting comes with a price tag. Often it is a requirement to wear a helmet. Most m/c rights groups are intolerant of anything that smells like a helmet law. They are not willing to allow even this kind of compromise. It can be considered the tip of the iceberg. Although I don't necessarily agree with that kind of philosophy and always wear a helmet anyway, I can see their point.

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post #25 of 27 Old Jan 24th, 2013, 1:03 am Thread Starter
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

Motorcycles are allowed in all HOV lanes, as per Federal Regulation. It's tied in with the funding that bikes are allowed, and no State can override that without risking their Federal Highway Funding.

As for allowing or legalizing lane splitting, some states have tried that. I know Texas made some progress in this area at least. But it was shot down, mostly because it's seen as benefiting a small majority at the expense of the majority. That's completely untrue, of course, but it is a widely-held perception by those who don't ride.

And the political process is all about the Majority, especially the Majority of Money.

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post #26 of 27 Old Jan 24th, 2013, 1:08 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

...and its finally going to be trialled (legally) in Sydney... albeit in a smallish inner CBD area... that I don't get to use anyway :-( click

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post #27 of 27 Old Jan 24th, 2013, 7:21 am
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Re: LA Times article on lane splitting

A lot of great points and for me, some legal education too.

Some in Florida, occasionally will lane split and when it happens around me, I just try to stay out of their way. I don't think it's legal, but I'm not the one to enforce the rules. I wish though it were allowed as in many areas as it would speed up the flow of traffic. I just don't understand the "can't let someone ahead of me" mentality.

I did have a situation in TN where just trying to go a little faster than the speed limit, motorist would block the lanes ahead. The only state that has happened.

Dano
Tampa, Fl.

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