Originally Posted by Wallowa
Yup inattention and letting their cars drift around within lane or darting into a small space between cars to advance a few feet is the real hazard to those riding in the space between the cars. No matter the reason, get clipped and it could ruin your day.
What I found interesting was the statement that "many folks in CA" ride motorcycles because they can split traffic [if I read that correctly]? Really? Man, if they buy bikes to run between lanes of slow or stopped cars to save on commute time, well that just doesn't seem too bright, but I could be wrong.
Must admit I split lanes just North of Golden Gate Bridge many decades ago in stopped traffic on a very hot day riding my FJ1200 in a Dakar 3/4 length leather sauna and it felt like I was playing Russian Roulette...even at a much younger age, a wink of wisdom shined through and that was the last time I did it. I got off and headed to the coast for a fun ride North.
Let me clarify the "ride because I can split lanes" thing. I don't really have any data on this, but many people I talk to, especially here in the bay area where there's a pretty significant year-round, moto commuter population, cite lane splitting as one of the big reasons they ride so much. For example, my commute from Oakland into SF is about 15 miles each way across the Bay Bridge and takes about 25 minutes when I'm splitting swiftly but sanely (roughly in accordance with the CHP guidelines
). I've done this commute exactly three times in a car (I ride every day, rain or shine unless I specifically need the car) and it was at least 60 minutes each way in call cases. Once, it took 90 minutes.
So while I don't know too many folks who got a bike specifically to lane split, I do know lots of folks who cite lane splitting as one of the top reasons they ride every day. I love riding, and even though it's sketchy as hell, rainy days on the Bay Bridge are a real blast.
For reference, over the years I've done various commutes ranging from 25 miles through urban environments to Sacramento to the Bay Area - 110+ miles each way, every day.
But if I couldn't split - and my commute would take as long as it does in a car - I'm pretty sure I wouldn't gear up every day. I'd still do it a lot, but probably not all the time. For me, commuting by bike is worth it because of a combination of speed, ease of parking, better MPG (of course outweighed by increased tire costs, etc but never mind that
) and just plain fun, balanced against increased risk. If the increased speed component (very significant advantage here in the bay area) were removed, I might be tempted to stick to riding on sunny days and saving my tires for weekends and longer trips.