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Lane Splitting: California (Finally) Gets Something Right

this is a discussion within the Everything Else Community Forum; Motorcyclists who slide between cars on crowded Bay Area roads and zip to where they're going faster than everyone else - while infuriating more than a few drivers - now have the official blessing of the California Highway Patrol. The ...

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
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Lane Splitting: California (Finally) Gets Something Right

Motorcyclists who slide between cars on crowded Bay Area roads and zip to where they're going faster than everyone else - while infuriating more than a few drivers - now have the official blessing of the California Highway Patrol.
The practice, called lane-splitting, has always been legal in California. But state authorities have never, until now, told motorcyclists how to weave the white line safely.
California is the only state in the country where lane-splitting is legal.
"Really, it has been limited anarchy out there," said Sgt. Mark Pope, statewide motorcycle safety coordinator for the CHP. "Nobody has provided any guidance, so we decided it was time to figure that out."
The new rules, which the CHP introduced in January after consulting with other state agencies and motorcycle-rider groups, apply to city streets, highways and freeways across the state.
"Basically, what we're most interested in is the speeds," Pope said. "You should lane-split no faster than 10 mph over the speed of traffic around you, and we recommend (motorcyclists) not split at all if the traffic is faster than 30 mph."

Motorcycle lane-splitting rules unveiled - SFGate
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:19 PM   #2
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Re: Lane Splitting: California (Finally) Gets Something Right

Just frikken WOW!


1. These are "rules" not laws so they are impossible to enforce.
2. How in the hell is this allowed? There is absolutely no way to determine who had control of the lane when an accident happens.
3. In a state where most common sense is dictated by law they allow motorcyclists to do as they please?
4. Someone who makes terrible judgement by slipping between two vehicles at 70+ MPH is allowed to make yet another judgement call?
5. Cali is actually allowing motorcycles to proceed with out a speed limit "10 MPG faster than the rest of the traffic"..? Keep in mind the not above 30 mph is a "recommendation".

Why even bother with a helmet law..

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Old 02-13-2013, 04:50 PM   #3
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Re: Lane Splitting: California (Finally) Gets Something Right

Originally Posted by TheOak View Post
Just frikken WOW!


1. These are "rules" not laws so they are impossible to enforce.
2. How in the hell is this allowed? There is absolutely no way to determine who had control of the lane when an accident happens.
3. In a state where most common sense is dictated by law they allow motorcyclists to do as they please?
4. Someone who makes terrible judgement by slipping between two vehicles at 70+ MPH is allowed to make yet another judgement call?
5. Cali is actually allowing motorcycles to proceed with out a speed limit "10 MPG faster than the rest of the traffic"..? Keep in mind the not above 30 mph is a "recommendation".

Why even bother with a helmet law..
Do you ride? These "rules" make it safer for people on motorcycles. FAR FAR safer. Are there *******s who abuse the privilege? Yep. I've been guilty plenty - however in my case (and in many other riders I know) it's quite calculated.

The rule is, generally speaking, if traffic is going 30 MPH or less, you can legally split, up to 39 MPH. Most people I know and see rarely abuse the 30 MPH limit, meaning when we're splitting, we usually doing it between stopped or nearly stopped lanes.

When I first started riding out here (been riding since I was 8) I didn't split. Just a few complete stops running into traffic where I had been doing 70+ and recognizing how much trouble I'd be in if I were rear-ended by someone who didn't see the stopped traffic (this happens ALL the time) and, well, I learned to split in a hurry.

You are not "allowed" to do it at 70 mph. You are only "allowed" to do it 10 mph greater than the speed of traffic, up to and not beyond 39 mph - and again, most people I know and see won't go past 30 mph (splitting speed).

No, motorcycles are not allowed to speed. We are held to the same speed limit as anyone else.

I don't know. If you don't ride maybe you just don't understand. If you do ride, maybe you don't ride in bumper-to-bumper commuter traffic 2 hours every day as I and many others out here do. Yes, we have to be extra aware, but most people actually slide over a little and give us a little extra room. Personally I wish they'd just maintain their position in the lane, but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless.

As for me, I ride for position. I ride to get to clear lanes whenever possible, and frequently I'm absolutely aggressive in my pursuit...and I've been stopped for it twice - ticked once - because Cops get it. Especially the motorcycle cops.

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Old 02-14-2013, 05:52 AM   #4
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No I don't ride, and I am not looking at it from a riders point of view. I'm looking at it from a defensive driving stand which is I don't want any one in my lane between me and the lines ever.

If I have to swerve for anything I don't want to have to live with crushing a rider. I have great respect for riders and if there is one anywhere near me I give them plenty of room because they are unprotected.

From a riders standpoint if I did ride, there are way too many idiots on cell phones, putting on make up, changing a radio station.... paying attention to everything but what they should be for me to chance it. The odds as I see it are better that I won't get rear ended than some idiot side swiping me.

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Old 02-14-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
 
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Re: Lane Splitting: California (Finally) Gets Something Right

In the greater Houston area, it's not an issue. But in locales such as San Francisco and Paris, etc... it can be. Common sense should prevail, rather than burdensome rules and regs.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: Lane Splitting: California (Finally) Gets Something Right

Originally Posted by TheOak View Post
No I don't ride, and I am not looking at it from a riders point of view. I'm looking at it from a defensive driving stand which is I don't want any one in my lane between me and the lines ever.

If I have to swerve for anything I don't want to have to live with crushing a rider. I have great respect for riders and if there is one anywhere near me I give them plenty of room because they are unprotected.

From a riders standpoint if I did ride, there are way too many idiots on cell phones, putting on make up, changing a radio station.... paying attention to everything but what they should be for me to chance it. The odds as I see it are better that I won't get rear ended than some idiot side swiping me.
At the speeds suggested the driver wouldn't (shouldn't) have a need for abrupt changes and, assuming the rider is minding the rules, he/she would have plenty of time to react. Also keep in mind we're not riding along side another vehicle at the same speed. We going a bit faster, which is the whole idea. Most wrecks that happen happen because the rider was going to fast or otherwise not paying attention and rides into the back of a vehicle - and that happens everywhere, including California.

Let me also say that when splitting, in many cases, I can see the driver in their mirror and I can tell if that person is paying attention and I adjust my maneuver accordingly, and when I'm in the vicinity of an idiot I bust my ass to be somewhere else.

I guess the only thing I can truly say is that you might better understand if you were ever 'caught up in the wash' of bumper to bumper traffic on a bike - at least from the rider's perspective. As for the driver, at least out here, most are well aware of the bikes and the lane splitting.

But hey, if you're doing it at 80 then, well, yeah, you're asking for trouble. You see some of that out here, but you also see it in Texas and other places where splitting isn't legal (even though low-speed splitting should be legal everywhere). I'm not going to applaud California for much, but in this case I certainly do.

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
In the greater Houston area, it's not an issue. But in locales such as San Francisco and Paris, etc... it can be. Common sense should prevail, rather than burdensome rules and regs.
Agree that common sense is the ticket which is what CHP is trying to push. Like I said, I've been stopped for being too aggressive. There is a line, and even though some of us cross it sometimes we know when we do. Splitting as prescribed by CHP recommendations is safe...for everyone.

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Old 02-14-2013, 12:13 PM   #7
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Well, that's where we differ. LOL I have no trust or faith in any other driver.

Also, my opinion isn't based on Houston roads or traffic. It's more based on 2 years in Scotland, 1 Italy, 3 Germany, 5 W. Africa, 21 in Louisiana.... Idiots that do not pay attention are not specifically regional, unless terra firma is the region.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:22 PM   #8
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I've seen no less that 50 Nigerians clipped doing that exact thing in traffic.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:35 PM   #9
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Re: Lane Splitting: California (Finally) Gets Something Right

Originally Posted by TheOak View Post
Well, that's where we differ. LOL I have no trust or faith in any other driver.

Also, my opinion isn't based on Houston roads or traffic. It's more based on 2 years in Scotland, 1 Italy, 3 Germany, 5 W. Africa, 21 in Louisiana.... Idiots that do not pay attention are not specifically regional, unless terra firma is the region.
I don't either, which is why I ride "aggressively" to the open lane, and I have zero faith that, if stopped, the fool racing up behind me might actually see me. No, I'll take my chances splitting. I've got kids. LOL
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:47 PM   #10
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Re: Lane Splitting: California (Finally) Gets Something Right

Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
I guess the only thing I can truly say is that you might better understand if you were ever 'caught up in the wash' of bumper to bumper traffic on a bike - at least from the rider's perspective. As for the driver, at least out here, most are well aware of the bikes and the lane splitting.
Before they started putting radiators on bikes & they were all air-cooled, I would split lanes in traffic to avoid standing still and overheating, but you always had to keep an eye out for the s.o.b's. that would swerve & try to close the lane on ya.

I guess it'll help keep traffic moving & if the other drivers are aware that it's legal, <shrug>. Wear your helmet, .
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