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post #1 of 24 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 7:46 am Thread Starter
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etiquette question

when approaching a stop light and there is traffic backed up (stopped) would it be considered "douchey" to ride around the stopped traffic or between the stopped cars to gain a favorable position at the light? It looks so tempting. I live in GA and am curious about the legality of this type of riding as well. I wouldn't want to be a bad ambassador for motorcyclist.
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post #2 of 24 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 7:47 am
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Re: etiquette question

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Originally Posted by Jharpphoto View Post
when approaching a stop light and there is traffic backed up (stopped) would it be considered "douchey" to ride around the stopped traffic or between the stopped cars to gain a favorable position at the light? It looks so tempting. I live in GA and am curious about the legality of this type of riding as well. I wouldn't want to be a bad ambassador for motorcyclist.
Where lane splitting is acceptable, like CA, I think it is OK, but elsewhere, it's illegal. I think.

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post #3 of 24 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 7:49 am
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Re: etiquette question

Some places yes. Totally dependent on local customs and laws. Here in Ohio a vehicle including a motorcycle is entitled to the entire lane.

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post #4 of 24 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 8:38 am Thread Starter
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Re: etiquette question

just found the info I was looking for. It appears as if splitting lanes is illegal in GA. Good to know.
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post #5 of 24 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 9:06 am
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Re: etiquette question

Lane splitting is not "legal" in any state, California just does not have any laws that state it is illegal and therefore it's a grey area. Cops in California can give you a ticket for lane splitting when it's done poorly or if they are grumpy, they will just write the ticket for something that they think will stand up.

In some places like Detroit, lane splitting will get you killed.

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post #6 of 24 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 10:36 am
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Re: etiquette question

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Originally Posted by timgray View Post
Lane splitting is not "legal" in any state, California just does not have any laws that state it is illegal and therefore it's a grey area. Cops in California can give you a ticket for lane splitting when it's done poorly or if they are grumpy, they will just write the ticket for something that they think will stand up.

In some places like Detroit, lane splitting will get you killed.
Lane splitting IS legal in Kalifornia We even have road signs to alert cage drivers of that! http://lanesplittingislegal.com.

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post #7 of 24 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 11:25 am
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Re: etiquette question

My take is a little different. As you seem to be asking is it "douchey" rather than whether it is legal, my experience is that yes, some drivers will not take kindly to you skipping in front of others. You may even find vehicles moving into your intended path. So to answer your question directly, some will think this is "douchey".


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post #8 of 24 Old Apr 17th, 2014, 1:39 pm
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Re: etiquette question

It's all how you do it.

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post #9 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 8:14 am
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Re: etiquette question

I have been riding for over 30 years in California.

Lane splitting (or lane sharing, as it is sometimes called) is not illegal here. It is a common practice for motorcyclists, especially in heavy traffic. It takes practice and skill to do it well. I see many riders who do it poorly. Sometimes they take outrageous risks.

Most drivers in California are used to motorcyclists splitting lanes, but they are no better than other drivers at paying attention to what is behind and around them. Drivers in California rarely signal lane changes, and may suddenly change lanes without notice - a risk for lane splitting riders. Drivers in California exhibit road rage at least as often as drivers elsewhere, and sometimes they take it out on lane splitting motorcyclists.

The most common place to split lanes is on the freeway between the leftmost lane and the second lane. On freeways, you often see riders split lanes between the carpool lane and the fast lane. Sometimes there is a 1/3 lane divider with double yellow stripes on both sides between the carpool lane and the fast lane. Even though it is technically illegal to ride between the double-double lines, it is a common practice, even for California Highway Patrol motor officers.

Another common practice is to split lanes to get to the front of the line at a red light. Twenty-five years ago, an "outraged" driver tried to kill me after I moved to the front of the line. It was obvious that he was intoxicated.

I do not know any riders who have received a traffic citation for lane splitting. I suppose it happens on rare occasions, probably associated with truly reckless riding behavior.
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post #10 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 9:55 am
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Re: etiquette question

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinPhil View Post
Lane splitting IS legal in Kalifornia We even have road signs to alert cage drivers of that! http://lanesplittingislegal.com.
so it's legal to lane split at 80 mph through stopped traffic?

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post #11 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 10:02 am
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Re: etiquette question

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so it's legal to lane split at 80 mph through stopped traffic?
Sorry mate, we Californians can't explain it to you any better. It's legal but like everything else, stupidity ( like 80 in stopped traffic) doesn't count.

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post #12 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 10:42 am
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Re: etiquette question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jharpphoto View Post
when approaching a stop light and there is traffic backed up (stopped) would it be considered "douchey" to ride around the stopped traffic or between the stopped cars to gain a favorable position at the light?
Yes, it is EXTREMELY "douchey" to split lanes just to get to the front of the line ... in ANY State but Cali. I've toured CA several times (going back out in June) and it is not only excepted there, but legal. AND, the other drivers on the road give motorcyclists a wide berth to make it a safe practice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by timgray View Post
Lane splitting is not "legal" in any state, California just does not have any laws that state it is illegal and therefore it's a grey area. Cops in California can give you a ticket for lane splitting when it's done poorly or if they are grumpy, they will just write the ticket for something that they think will stand up. [snip]

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinPhil View Post
Lane splitting IS legal in Kalifornia We even have road signs to alert cage drivers of that! http://lanesplittingislegal.com.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timgray View Post
so it's legal to lane split at 80 mph through stopped traffic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinPhil View Post
Sorry mate, we Californians can't explain it to you any better. It's legal but like everything else, stupidity ( like 80 in stopped traffic) doesn't count.
Speaking of "douchey"...

timgray just won the "Douche of the Thread" award!

- Joe
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post #13 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 11:42 am
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Re: etiquette question

The official word from the CHP is that "Lane splitting in a safe and prudent manner is not illegal in the state of California."

They also give some general guidelines:

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 safer 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.

And they state quite clearly that "Lane splitting should not be performed by inexperienced riders. These guidelines assume a high level of riding competency and experience."

Honestly, I look at it similarly to overall speed (specific legalities aside). The speed limit is clearly posted, yet drivers routinely travel 5-10 mph over that without incident. And some drivers go even faster. But regardless of whether you set the cruise control strictly on the posted limit, or push a little more, it is still your responsibility to make sure that you're traveling in a safe and prudent manner. There are times when it is reasonable to push a few mph over, and times when the "safe" speed is actually below what's posted (weather, visibility, construction, traffic congestion, etc.). The driver must make the call, and drive appropriately for the current conditions. And if a LEO thinks that you're not driving driving in a reasonable and safe manner, then they can pull you over for a little chat . . .

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post #14 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 12:02 pm
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Re: etiquette question

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Yes, it is EXTREMELY "douchey" to split lanes just to get to the front of the line ... in ANY State but Cali. I've toured CA several times (going back out in June) and it is not only excepted there, but legal. AND, the other drivers on the road give motorcyclists a wide berth to make it a safe practice.


Speaking of "douchey"...

timgray just won the "Douche of the Thread" award!
There is the legendary BMW owner attitude... it's been a while since I experienced it here. Almost thought you guys had gone soft.

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post #15 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 12:36 pm
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Re: etiquette question

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so it's legal to lane split at 80 mph through stopped traffic?
Oh come on, that's just a lame comment - I'm trying to play nice here.
And "Douchey" knows no brand limit.
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post #16 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 1:39 pm
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Re: etiquette question

As a retired Georgia LEO (and had been motor officer too!) I can tell you that it's not only "douchey" but it's also illegal if you're passing them in the same lane, between lanes or on the shoulder. One vehicle the width of the lane unless they're both motorcycles. They're not to come into your lane and you're not to go into theirs. What's fair is fair. I also believe it's one of the questions that shows up on every motorcycle license test too.

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post #17 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 2:05 pm
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Re: etiquette question

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There is the legendary BMW owner attitude... it's been a while since I experienced it here. Almost thought you guys had gone soft.
I ride a Kawasaki Concours14. But I'll ride with anyone who knows how to ride, no matter what logo is on the tank.

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post #18 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 3:11 pm
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Re: etiquette question

I know Law Enforcement Officers here who split at 80 or 90 in 70 or 80 mph traffic.
I also know LEO that will signal to you 'come on, follow me' if you are not lane splitting.
The idea is to get the motorcycles out of traffic and to reduce congestion on the roads by encouraging motorcycle use.
When the motorcycle gets to the head of the line, what happens? It takes off and is gone before the cars can even start out.
Safer.
To not have cars all around you.
It is also safer at the head of the line, rather than at the tail end of the line at the red light, when the drunk or texting idiot plows into the last vehicle. You don't want that to be you.
Remember, in California everything under the sun is illegal, prohibited, banned, unavailable, and only allowed for felons, thugs, robbers, etc.
Except lane splitting.
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post #19 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 6:35 pm
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Re: etiquette question

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There is the legendary BMW owner attitude... it's been a while since I experienced it here. Almost thought you guys had gone soft.
Not soft, just informed. Brand has nothing to do with subject. 37 bikes of American, British, German, and Italian brands. Loved them all.

Phil in Marin
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post #20 of 24 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 8:32 pm
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Re: etiquette question

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Not soft, just informed. Brand has nothing to do with subject. 37 bikes of American, British, German, and Italian brands. Loved them all.
Informed.

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post #21 of 24 Old Apr 21st, 2014, 2:54 pm
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Re: etiquette question

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so it's legal to lane split at 80 mph through stopped traffic?
No. Never.

The highest speed limit in California is 70 mph, and the 70 mph exception is limited to a few segments of Interstates and California highways which are specially posted for 70 mph. Otherwise, the maximum speed limit on roads in California is 65 mph or less.

In addition, California has the "Basic Speed Law". It is against the law to drive faster than it is safe. A law enforcement officer is likely to interpret riding at 70 mph between stopped cars as unsafe, even if it is the legal speed limit under ideal conditions.

Here is the exact text of the law:

V C Section 22350 Basic Speed Law
22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.
Amended Ch. 252, Stats. 1963. Effective September 20, 1963.
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post #22 of 24 Old Apr 21st, 2014, 5:55 pm
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Re: etiquette question

Please update your organ donor status if you intend to lane split anywhere other than California when riding in the United States. And a few of those lane-splitters in California should update their organ donor status as well.

I rented a K1600GT for 3 days last autumn in northern CA. I really didn't find it necessary to attempt a lane split. The HOV lanes move along just fine and the traffic lights are all timed so that you can only go one intersection before you hit the next red light. However, I did pass a slow cager on a steep incline between switch backs when I could verify that no oncoming vehicles were a threat (unlike a few of the potential organ donors that felt like nothing could kill them).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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post #23 of 24 Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 5:56 pm
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Re: etiquette question

With the increasing adoption of "liberal" interpretations of the 2nd Amendment these days, you are clearly taking your life in someone else's hands by filtering to the front at a light in any state but Kalifornia. People are just itching for any excuse to fly off the handle and start unloading. No need to give them an excuse. Even if you're dead right, you're still dead.

That said, I frequently filter to the front of a line of stopped cars IF I am taking a right turn and there is room to do so.
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post #24 of 24 Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 7:31 pm
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Re: etiquette question

I'm only about 300,000 times more concerned about being shot by an owner of an illegal gun, rather than a legally owned, law abiding citizen's gun. And there are probably 3000 times more illegal guns out there than there ever will be legal guns, so I think liberal interpretation don't mean diddly squat to me.
And ain't nobody going anywhere near any of my organs, except me and the medical examiner, and he is going to get only what little is left, and I will concentrate on making that as scant little as possible.
So, I'll be down the road a piece.
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