Friday, October 24, 2014

Motorcycle lane-splitting study

Photo: Randall Benton/Sacramento Bee

A recent California study has arrived at the rather obvious conclusion that lane-splitting on a motorcycle becomes increasingly riskier as the speed differential increases. Last year, the California Highway Patrol published guidelines suggesting riders should not travel more than 10 mph faster than surrounding traffic, and should not lane-split at all if other vehicles are traveling faster than 30 mph. That isn't law, but seems like a common-sense suggestion. As you may know, though it's common in civilized places like Europe, California is the only US state in which lane-splitting is expressly permitted. Many states, such as mine, do not expressly prohibit lane-splitting, but it's an uncommon practice and a lane-splitting rider is subject to LEO interpretation of whether the maneuver constitutes a violation of "catch-all" traffic laws such as careless or reckless driving. In my neck of the woods, a lane-splitter may also expect to get clothes-lined, cut-off, or have a driver's door opened by a disgruntled/jealous motorist. Frankly, it won't be worth the risk around here until driver attitudes change. I've only done it a handful of times, and then only while traffic is stopped, in order to get around extremely slow-moving vehicles such as farm equipment, street sweepers, etc. What are your thoughts and/or lane-splitting experience?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living in California, lane splitting is definitely the norm around here.

I typically only do it when traffic is slow and annoying.

Once, while driving through rush hour in the Bay Area, my riding partner was up for the challenge to get outta Dodge since we had a 3 hour ride home, so we split lanes in very slow traffic.

The most surprising thing was that nearly all the drivers that saw us coming up on them would move over to make our berth that much easier. It was very refreshing and we surely didn't abuse it by being obnoxious or driving ridiculously fast.

I couldn't imagine someone opening their door on me, as that's the most disrespectful move, especially putting my life at risk over their mere annoyance!

November 26, 2014 at 6:43:00 PM EST  

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