Motorcycle Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
2021 CanAm Spyder RT
Joined
·
3,938 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As part of a long road trip I was driving north on the Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) the other day. Traffic was very heavy in the miles from Santa Monica to beyond Malibu, and I was driving my SUV with trailer in tow, a 7 and a half foot wide travel trailer. I encountered literally hundreds of bikes (after seeing relatively few earlier in my time in CA) lane splitting around me in the heavy traffic, and the general skill and ability of these riders made a really positive impression on me. Some of the bikes were big touring bikes, or sport tourers, and the space between the lanes was not very generous, but the bikes deftly moved around traffic like my camper and SUV, saving themselves time and the rest of us extra congestion on the road. Honestly, had I been in that traffic on my Goldwing I do not think I would have felt comfortable lane splitting with the rest of the riders. I wonder if things were always this smooth with lane splitting, or if things go so well now only because drivers are so used to this practice. I shudder to think how this practice would go if allowed in IL where I reside, at least at first. But for now, hats off to the skilled riders on the Left Coast.
 

·
American Legion Rider
Joined
·
26,080 Posts
No it wasn't that great to start with. I got blocked purposely several times causing me to never do it again. In fact CHP had to make a ad campaign telling folks it was illegal to block lane splitters if I remember correctly. There was something along those lines anyway. But I was on a new 85 Electra Glide just so you know the size but never felt I couldn't split. If they gave me a foot on each side I'd certainly look at it. Probably wouldn't but I'd look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
316 Posts
As part of a long road trip I was driving north on the Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) the other day. Traffic was very heavy in the miles from Santa Monica to beyond Malibu, and I was driving my SUV with trailer in tow, a 7 and a half foot wide travel trailer. I encountered literally hundreds of bikes (after seeing relatively few earlier in my time in CA) lane splitting around me in the heavy traffic, and the general skill and ability of these riders made a really positive impression on me. Some of the bikes were big touring bikes, or sport tourers, and the space between the lanes was not very generous, but the bikes deftly moved around traffic like my camper and SUV, saving themselves time and the rest of us extra congestion on the road. Honestly, had I been in that traffic on my Goldwing I do not think I would have felt comfortable lane splitting with the rest of the riders. I wonder if things were always this smooth with lane splitting, or if things go so well now only because drivers are so used to this practice. I shudder to think how this practice would go if allowed in IL where I reside, at least at first. But for now, hats off to the skilled riders on the Left Coast.
I've been on that exact stretch of PCH a couple times on a rented Harley and couldn't take the leap of faith. 2-up riding with my daughter was part of the reason for no-go, along with being on a rented bike. But I did peak a couple times and it looked scary. It was wide enough, but it's an ever shaping path, narrowing and widening as cars move about in their lanes. Probably the best way to start is following behind an experienced splitter. If you're a motorcyclist living in that region then it's probably a must; else you risk frying in a cloud of exhaust.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
781 Posts
I never had that problem of being scared, concerned or anxious about lane splitting. But that was back in the late 60's early 70's. I moved out of that loony tunes state years ago. However, back then it was no big deal. Drivers respected other drivers, no matter what they drove. Once, I clipped a passenger side mirror. I stopped and waited for the car to catch up to me. I apologized and adjusted the mirror to where the driver said it was 'OK' and went on my way. It was no big deal back then. Times have changed.
 

·
American Legion Rider
Joined
·
26,080 Posts
I never had that problem of being scared, concerned or anxious about lane splitting. But that was back in the late 60's early 70's. I moved out of that loony tunes state years ago. However, back then it was no big deal. Drivers respected other drivers, no matter what they drove. Once, I clipped a passenger side mirror. I stopped and waited for the car to catch up to me. I apologized and adjusted the mirror to where the driver said it was 'OK' and went on my way. It was no big deal back then. Times have changed.
That's interesting because that just wasn't my experience. However the difference might be north versus south. I was in San Jose. They would block you up there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ketchboy

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
I've been lane splitting/sharing for nearly 50 years. I've been blocked, but I don't think it's ever been intentional. Rather it was someone who was changing lanes and he happened to be in front of me. I've been cut off, but again, I don't think it was intentional.

I don't think that CA riders are exceptionally skilled, it's just that we've been doing it for a long time and those of us who lane share are comfortable with it. As vito says, it reduces traffic congestion and make our trips faster. Stats also say that it's safer. At times the spit between traffic lanes is huge, on some roads I've seen it 8' wide. Other times, not so much. Sometimes when riding with my daughter, she rides a much smaller bike than my BMW RT, she filters ahead but I can't get through. On city streets, I try to filter to the front but sometimes I can't. I still go into the splits at stops though, to avoid being rear ended and caught between two cars.

I was riding in another state (where lane sharing is not legal [in fact it's not legal anywhere in the US other than CA]) and went to get off the freeway. Traffic on the off ramp was backed up leaving me hanging out on the roadway, exposed to drivers going 70 mph. After the second car passed me, inches away, I said, "The he77 with this!" and split the traffic on the offramp. Getting rear‒ended or even clipped, probably was not survivable.

In yet another state I was caught in a two hour long traffic jam, moving at 0-5 mph, due to a major accident that took away 2, of 3 lanes. I was close to pulling over to rest my clutch hand, when traffic finally opened up. My arthritis was complaining greatly the next day.

I'd like to see lane sharing in the US made legal throughout the country. Most of the world does it, but I realize that in the US, it would take a very large amount of education and enforcement before it was generally accepted. It would not be mandatory and those who didn't think it was safe or didn't want to do it could simply sit in traffic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Your average traffic lane is 12 feet wide. Average passenger car is what, maybe a bit over 6 feet wide? Perhaps around 8 feet for a pickup or SUV. Maximum allowable width is something like 8.5 feet.

Assuming everyone takes the very center of their lane, you've got between 4 to 6 feet most of the time...more than enough for a bike to make it through. Even a big BMW with side cases could do it.

I think lane splitting should be legal in more places, and I say this as a traffic cop. Even if it was only legal in certain conditions, like filtering to the front of an intersection to prevent rear ending, it would be positive effects.

I probably wouldn't do it personally if traffic was moving, even in California, but that's just me. Even so I wouldn't want to try it with side cases - on my unladen G310R though, much more confident.

I would still say drivers on both cars and bikes need better training training though. Especially cars. Most people are woefully poor at driving cars. Penalties for distracted driving need to be made severe, but here in Colorado we've basically legalized texting and driving, so whatever. Yeah, look up the law, it basically makes it impossible to actually enforce texting behind the wheel.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 

·
Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
Joined
·
1,251 Posts
I too believe lane splitting should be legal. If you came to Chicago with no prior knowledge of IL's lane splitting laws (illegal) you'd think it's legal here. 9/10 of the bikes I see in traffic here are splitting the lanes. Sadly, some of them are splitting through stopped traffic going like 70+ which can't be good in an emergency.

I've only tried lane splitting once and that was after Chicago Pride. Car traffic was stopped entirely (not even inching) for like a 2 mile radius because of the roads Chicago PD blocked off and some crime they were responding to that further closed off roads that were already spilling over with more cars than they could reasonably handle. I joined in on a conga line of scooters and vintage bikes. Aside from an salty BMW driver who tried to take one of us out, it went smoothly and it went safely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Your average traffic lane is 12 feet wide. Average passenger car is what, maybe a bit over 6 feet wide? Perhaps around 8 feet for a pickup or SUV. Maximum allowable width is something like 8.5 feet.

Assuming everyone takes the very center of their lane, you've got between 4 to 6 feet most of the time...more than enough for a bike to make it through. Even a big BMW with side cases could do it.


Yamean like my '18 RT? LOL.

I think lane splitting should be legal in more places, and I say this as a traffic cop. Even if it was only legal in certain conditions, like filtering to the front of an intersection to prevent rear ending, it would be positive effects.
A friend of mine lost a leg when he was rearended on his bike. The bike went sideways and he was trapped between the bumpers. As a result, I'm VERY conscious of what's going on behind me on those rare occasions when I'm stuck in traffic.

I probably wouldn't do it personally if traffic was moving, even in California, but that's just me. Even so I wouldn't want to try it with side cases - on my unladen G310R though, much more confident.
One of my motor officer friends told me that the front of my fairing is wider than the bags. But I don't think that's the case on the 310.

I would still say drivers on both cars and bikes need better training training though. Especially cars. Most people are woefully poor at driving cars. Penalties for distracted driving need to be made severe, but here in Colorado we've basically legalized texting and driving, so whatever. Yeah, look up the law, it basically makes it impossible to actually enforce texting behind the wheel.
Looks as if it's going to depend on the officer's judgment that what the driver was dangerous at the time he was texting. Basically, you have to catch them committing two violations at once. Here, and I think in most states, if you're seen texting behind the wheel, BANG, gotcha. I'd bet that after a few bad accidents involving texting, the politicians would change that. But it's hard to say. I think that CA has the dumbest, most arbitrary politicians of any state, but, as evidenced by this law, you're certainly challenging for the title! LOL.
 

·
On The Road Again!
Joined
·
4,221 Posts
From mirror to mirror on my GL1500 Goldwing measures 42 inches.
Lane splitting? I don't think so. That's too close for comfort.
 

·
American Legion Rider
Joined
·
26,080 Posts
It's very easy to split, even with big Harleys with side cases. You just need to know your machine and limits. Some drivers like to move over trying to look around cars in front of them which then squeezes the opening down too much for big bikes. So you wait. Then scoot in front of that person when you can and continue splitting. Like I said earlier, I did it until getting blocked a few times but once CHP put out the PSA about blocking I would have gone back to it but moved instead. Getting the general driver to understand it's legal and they can get fined, education, that's the key. It really is best for all. Then it's up to the rider whether to do it or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
I get that some people, usually those who don't lane split, have issues with it. My RT is 39" "from mirror to mirror," and sometimes I'm stopped because the split is too small. But just waiting a few seconds, has it opening up again and then I can proceed. As Adam said "… you've got between 4 to 6 feet most of the time...more than enough for a bike to make it through. Even a big BMW with side cases could do it."

Coming home from the boat show a few days ago, I hit rush hour traffic. So many people pulled to the left side of the HOV lane to let me through that my arm got tired from waving "thank you" to them. I only had to slow down once due to a tight space, and then I didn't even have to put a foot down, it opened up so quickly.

I think that lane splitting is not only good for the bikers who want to do it, but for the rest of the people on the road, who now, since the bikes aren't blocking them, are that much further forward, closer to their destinations. We're not "cutting ahead of them in line" as some perceive. Rather, we're getting out of their line, and forming our own. That doesn’t interfere with them at all. This perception is part of the education process when lane sharing spreads.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top