I took a job in Southern California and was living in an RV park in Torrance. I worked in El Segundo, nine miles to the north.
In my car, it was taking 45 minutes each way, to get to and from work during normal commute hours.
While sitting in my car, I would watch the bikes zip on by while I'm stopped or moving at a snail's pace.
Having had enough, I went bike shopping one day. I found a bike and got financed. I immediately hopped online and managed to get into the BRC course for the very next weekend. The bike was delivered a few days later, and I parked it under the overhang of my 5th wheel trailer until I completed the course. Soon as my certificate came in the mail, I went to DMV and got my endorsement.
Then I spent a few days riding around the local neighborhood and getting comfortable on the bike. I would ride after work, and would venture onto the busier streets to get used to traffic. Then I would slowly and carefully start doing some basic filtering.
Finally, it was time to ride to work! It was great. I'd filter to the front of traffic lights for the couple miles up to the freeway. The on-ramp would be backed up, but I would zip right on by and onto the freeway. Carefully, over to the left lane (the carpool lane in fact), and would move right along. When traffic woud slow, I'd hop over to the double-yellow and carefully motor right on by at 10-15 mph over.
My new commute time was now 15 minutes each way. I also discovered just how much fun riding was. I had already bought all of the safety gear, and found myself riding everywhere. It was more fun, and faster no matter what. In SoCal, traffic tie-ups can happen at any time, even on weekends or the middle of the night.
Once that job concluded, I found myself taking my first job up in Oregon, with ODOT. I towed my trailer up there, and started riding to work. Part of the problem I got the job was BECAUSE I ride -- there's a two-year waiting list to get a car parking permit, and they're $60/mo. Motorcycle parking is $6/mo and there's plenty of it. I added waterproof gear, and would ride rain or shine. Only once did I NOT ride, and it was because it snowed. I took my truck that day, and paid the $6 daily parking fee.
But one thing I noticed right away... the lack of lane splitting! I don't care of Salem is a "small" town... it can still benefit from lane splitting. There are several roads here that get very backed up during peak times, and they're perfect for zipping up the middle.
When that contract ended, I went back to Southern California... ahh, back to the Land of Lane Splitting! It was heaven again. That lasted another year or so, and then here I am again back in Oregon. And thankfully, there's another movement to legalize the practice.
BTW, thanks to Surj, I just updated my blog with some awesome PDF documents that help to illustrate just how SAFE lane splitting really is, compared to NOT being able to. I encourage you to check them out. In particular, the first document, read all eight pages. Then the third document, skip to the last few pages -- the Discussion and Conclusion. The point is, accidents that have occurred while lane splitting occur in fewer than 1% of motorcycle accidents, and that's a WORLDWIDE figure, not just California.
So, I'm sorry that riding because of lane splitting defies logic and common sense to you. Maybe those documents will help put things into perspective.
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