Lane Splitting

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by MrBob, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. MrBob

    MrBob Knee-jerk liberal

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    These days I avoid freeways and cities whenever possible, and after working the line at Farmer John's packing plant back in 1970 I think LA and I are done.
    I'm perfectly happy to let faster riders by and the replies I've seen here have me thinking I'll be doing little, if any, lane splitting.
    I'm not on a schedule or have a destination and the theme of this trip is BOATSBOATSBOATS. I love boats and the water and I've had damn little of either living in the desert for the last 6 years so I may visit every marina between Oregon and San Diego.
    #21
  2. Human Ills

    Human Ills Useful Idiom

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    I learned to share first, on the freeways... THEN became more comfortable filtering at lights.

    Always anticipate what the drivers several cars ahead of you might want to do, given traffic conditions, you should be scanning CONSTANTLY every single vehicle you're about to pass gets an appraisal.

    When sharing, you're constantly in SOMEBODY'S blind spot, don't dawdle.

    :lol3 Since you'll probably be taking PCH for most of the trip, I don't see much lane-sharing in your future.
    #22
  3. Shunka

    Shunka Supervision Required

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    Let me know when you hit Dana Point. I'll swing by and have a beer with ya. :freaky
    #23
  4. CA Stu

    CA Stu Tremendous slouch Super Moderator

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    I try to spend as little time next to semis as possible.
    Pick a clean spot to pass them and get it done quickly.
    There's several bike commuters on my route every day.
    Gonna be one more tomorrow. :ricky
    #24
  5. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    Straight from CHIP. You should always be moving past traffic.

    I split a LOT. I find drivers to be generally quite courteous or simply oblivious. Only had one move over on me in many years, and that was filtering on PCH in Huntington Beach with the wife on the back. She said "What the fuck is your problem?" :lol3 Oh, had one other one and my left mirror took his right mirror out on a 'burb. I was gonna stop but they just kept going. I could see the passenger trying to get it to stay back up there. :rofl

    I used to sweat a lot doing it but now it doesn't bother me. Vigilance is an understatement. Accute paranoia is probably a better descriptor.
    #25
  6. CA Stu

    CA Stu Tremendous slouch Super Moderator

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    I cover the brakes while splitting... Guaranteed at least one person per day will not notice you and merge in front of you.
    I reckon if you are aware of this fact and plan for it, when it does happen you aren't taken by surprise and are able to react that much better.
    Be Master of the traffic, not a Slave to it... :1drink
    #26
  7. MrBob

    MrBob Knee-jerk liberal

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    Will do. I hope to meet up with inmates regularly.
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  8. Jeff aka BOLT

    Jeff aka BOLT Prefer Saturdays

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    In my time between cars I have been bounced like a pin ball a few times. It is surprising how easy it is to stay up right while beating the hell out of both cars simultaneously ! Scary to be sure.... but they were the losers in the end.
    #28
  9. CA Stu

    CA Stu Tremendous slouch Super Moderator

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    Er...Good luck with that, man. :thumb
    #29
  10. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad World's Foremost Authority

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    I grew up lane splitting on the 405 back in the late 60's and have had daily bike commutes that were as far as Simi Valley to Irvine. I'll only split when traffic gets below around 30 to 35 mph, which causes most cars to stack in so tight it is really hard for them to make a really quick lane change. Awareness that a driver will start to leave room in front of himself to make a lane change helps prevent disaster.

    There are just as many splitters today as there were back in the day, it seems however that there are more bikes doing stupid shit than ever. Splitting anything but the far left lanes is suicide.

    I only commuted from Ventura County to Orange County on a bike for about a month and then I felt that the concentration it took to do it safely was making me more tired than if I had sat in the cage and turned my brain off like everyone else on the freeway.
    #30
  11. DirtRider....

    DirtRider.... Wandering Turtle

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    Gotta stay focused... I lane share only when I feel comfortable.
    #31
  12. dunerat

    dunerat WTF?

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    split every day....too and fro from work ,rush hour down town LA(110 101 fwys):clap


    love it:freaky
    #32
  13. bigbadandugly

    bigbadandugly Been here awhile

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    I didn't even know lane splitting was legal in California.

    But this begs another question: Given the ability to ride motorcycles year-round in California and the seemingly 24x7 congestion on some highways, why does the state not have lanes specifically for use by only motorcycles on the major freeways?
    #33
  14. Commute on GSA

    Commute on GSA Adventurer

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    Don't think cars won't cross the double yellow or 2 double yellows in or out of carpool lane. If the lane next to them is open just assume they will take it without using their signal and no regard to double yellow(s). My speed when lane sharing depends on the vibe of the traffic at the time. ESP......dunno......sometimes I cruz fast sometimes I'm just faster than traffic and have to pick my pass points carefully. Don't worry about the "kids" on the racers, they don't know better. Get out of their way but don't make an unsafe maneuver just to do it, they can wait the 1 extra minute for you to find a safe spot to let them by. Welcome and good luck!
    #34
  15. smm

    smm Adventurer

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    If you're not riding around an urban area in rush-hour, it probably won't be that big a deal, but it can save a huge amount of frustration. A few pointers:

    1. Keep your delta relative to other traffic less than 10mph, preferably 5mph.
    2. Make sure that both lanes are moving at about the same speed, and tightly packed.
    3. If you're keeping to #1, this makes lane splitting worth while only when speeds are slow. When I started lane splitting I kept it less than 20mph and that rule of thumb seemed to work well. Splitting is legal when done safely (judgment of CHP) and one of the old requirements for "safely" was "less than 35mph." Used to be in the CA driver's handbook. No different than any other form of passing: the onus is on the passer to do it safely.
    4. You can't ride on the shoulder. You can pass on the right as long as you don't cross the fog line.
    5. Enjoy.

    My wife and I rode to Colorado this summer and were amazed at the sight of motorcycles sitting in traffic. Big bearded Harley riders in chaps and leather vests and no helmet sitting there in traffic like cows going to slaughter. Here? Well following one of the Oakland Dragons on a blinged out bagger across the Bay Bridge like Moses parting a sea of white people, is pretty damn cool.

    -Scott
    #35
  16. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    Have you ever been here? There are 22 million people, 22 freeways, some up to 8 lanes wide (each direction), and there's still not enough for all the cars - it's gridlock at rush hour. Everybody in CA does everything all at the same time. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    With such a small percentage of vehicles being motorcycles, they're never gonna get their own lanes. They can't even get enough lanes for the cars.

    Now they're gonna start charging to let anyone drive in the carpool lanes. It's all about the $$ now. Too many people and not enough money to go around.
    #36
  17. 340hp

    340hp Been here awhile

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    I gotta agree, Comfort is King.

    For the OP, the #1 rule is if you feel endangered, tuck in behind a car that you can see around and just chill out in traffic for awhile. Your opportunity to pass the dangerous irritant will come in time.

    Motorcycles are legal in the car pool lane, so exploit the opportunity to ride the (usually) faster lane.

    Lane sharing is urban single track and a bit like riding endless whoops. When you find yourself getting out of shape (physically or mentally) it's time to slow down and gather your rhythm before attacking the lane again.

    Look for clues to what drivers and the vehicles are doing, and look ten cars down the road (or more). Don't wait until you can see their eyes in the mirrors or hands on the steering wheel to identify the jerks and brain dead zombies.
    If you see a vehicle crowding your future line, plan on giving them space by getting tucked-in the adjacent lane for clearance. Watch the vehicles front wheels. Do they track straight or twitch? Are any vehicle front wheels trending to the lane where you plan to ride, be prepared to have them take your line. When you see a multi-person vehicle working to the car-pool lane, expect them to cut into the lane without looking. Non-California plates are also a danger flag. A Buss or Large Truck CANNOT SEE YOU (give them all the lane they want and work the adjacent lane to get around them). These same clues apply to filtering and lane sharing.

    Freeway lane sharing is actually easier on a large (wide) bike, than an narrow rocket or dual-sport, because the ignorant vehicle drivers cannot easily identify you from a CHP. I get more grief freeway lane sharing on my DRZ than my Road Glide.

    The opposite is true on city streets filtering to lights, because the vehicles slowing for a red light do not expect a big full-dresses bike to challenge their lane priority, while it's almost expected from a scooter or dual-sport.

    When I was first commuting on freeways I almost never shared lanes until passed by a CHP and was waved at to fall in behind. For the next few years I tended to follow many CHP riders at their invitation, before becoming more comfortable.

    Most of the major freeways now have car-pool lanes and there is enough bikes sharing lanes that the working weekday commuters look and make space for bikes, and the lane sharing bike rider needs to keep an eye on their mirrors to let the faster riders by. The weekend ride however is a contrast in insanity, as the casual vehicle drivers are not a aware of (or used to) bikes sharing lanes.

    PCH from the Palisades north, filtering is required with little room for lane sharing. Santa Barbara filtering is required even on the 101 and lane sharing with the nearly dead should be done with extra caution (worse than Tijuana and Mexicali combined).
    #37
  18. MrBob

    MrBob Knee-jerk liberal

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    Around here we call them Pirates and make endless fun of them, assless chaps and all.
    Lane splitting, in these parts, isn't a real high priority. Traffic can stack around Denver and there are a few chronic bottlenecks but traffic is a piece of cake compared to my old commutes on, say, the Ike into Chicago. We do have our share of the brain dead and just plain psychotic behind the wheel and this is probably the most heavily armed state in the Union, which tends to keep people on their toes.
    When I was working as a home care nurse in Denver I visited patients on my Wee Strom and daily survival was a challenge. What I've noticed over the years is an increase in the number of people who come at you deliberately, not just as a result of inattention or incompetence.
    #38
  19. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    38 million people, 22 million cars, 800,000 motorcycles <<< most of those only go to Starbucks on Sunday morning.

    There are more registered trailers than motorcycles in California as evidenced by any ADV "rally'.


    :hide
    #39
  20. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    OMG...
    I was referring to so-Cal, I think your number is the whole state, but yeah, it's ridiculous isn't it?
    And we're gonna get our own lanes??? Ha-ha. In our dreams. :1drink

    There are also 900,000 boats registered in CA.

    I was born in Canada, my father was Canadian. I was close to forty years old before I learned that Canada has a population that is 10% of the US, and 90% of them live within 100 miles of the border.

    I love it up there. Just don't know if I could make a living. If we weren't so plugged in down here I'd go back. If the US ever has a 'melt-down' that's where I'm going. Problem is we'll take them and Mexico with us if we do.
    #40