Legal Consequences of Lane Splitting/Filtering?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by duncanmac, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Paul_Rochdale

    Paul_Rochdale Been here awhile

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    Please allow me to give my viewpoint on the subject of filtering (US = lane splitting). In 2002 and 2006 I rode from West Coast to East Coast and then East-to-West-to-East Coasts the first trip in six weeks and the second in three months so as an English rider have experienced US driving habits. Yes, filtering in California is OK and the drivers are used to seeing it. All other states, no. They are neither used to it nor like seeing it done. In stinking hot weather when there were hold ups up ahead, I'd do it briefly but was invariably accompanied by the tooting of car/truck horns. I also was warned about drivers deliberately opening their car doors to either prevent me passing or knock me off. Yes, every single motorcyclist here in the UK does it and it's acceptable (at a reasonable slow speed) but in the US, they are neither used to it so it can be dangerous.

    In 2002 I was riding in the desert in Arizona and came across a queue (US = line) of traffic up ahead stopped at temporary traffic lights. Because of good forward vision I could see that there was a hefty space between the leading truck and the vehicle behind so I bimbled (5mph) ultra-carefully up the white line and pulled in behind No1. I was then a bit surprised to hear a loud hailer "You on the motor sickle, move over!" Behind me was a Highway Patrolman. Well we pulled over and this little feller got out. I'm a mere 5ft8in and he was shorter than me. There then began an amusing conversation -

    Officer - "What do you think you were doing?"
    Me - "Doing what?"
    Officer - "Riding to the front".
    Me - "Well why not? There was a big gap between the two front vehicles?"
    Officer - "Because it's dangerous. There could have been oncoming traffic".
    Me - "But the road is as wide as an airport runway, I can clearly see ahead for miles, there is no oncoming traffic and we are in the middle of a desert. My 19yr old niece is on the back of our bike and I am a British Police Traffic Motorcyclist so ride properly".
    Officer - "Don't you think all these people in cars might be pissed (English = pissed off) at you riding to the front?"

    At this point I looked at all of the overweight and cool people in stopped airconditioned cars drinking from beakers of cold Coke as the sweat slowly dripped down my back. Clearly logic wasn't going to win the day here. I apologised and agreed to abide by their laws. Did it make sense? Well I didn't get a ticket so I got off but it didn't make sense then nor to this day. :huh
    #81
  2. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Welcome to the land of "ME FIRST!" :rofl Thanks for sharing -- I hope you had an excellent trip otherwise.
    #82
  3. duck

    duck Banned

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    Congrats. In a thread full of ignorant posts you have taken the cake with yours.

    From the CHP website:


    From the NHTSA website:

    #83
  4. Paul_Rochdale

    Paul_Rochdale Been here awhile

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    Lucifer

    Yes, my solo 2006 17,000 trip was the greatest long ride I've ever done and the three month journey was utterly fabulous. I met some excellent people and visited all of those places I missed during my brief 2002 trip. Riding my trusty ST1100 I found the rear wheel bearings and rear tyre (only 7000 miles from new) needed changing by the time I got to Tucson AZ. A few of the places I rode to - Blue Ridge Parkway, Little Big Horn, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Zion, Bryce, Mount Evans, Pike's Peak, North Rim of GC, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, San Francisco, San Diego, Tucson, Tombstone, San Antonio, Natchez Trace, Tail of the Dragon, Williamsburg, Jamestown, Washington DC and NY. I loved almost every minute of it and will return one day as there are still some places I want to visit, and perhaps try Canoodia as well. The US is my favourite country, well it's fifty seperate countries each with it's own laws, and that takes some getting used to.:lol3
    #84
  5. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    :bow :thumb


    Did you ever post a RR?
    #85
  6. DOGSROOT

    DOGSROOT OUTSIDE

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    That was my experience as well, both riding through the state a couple of times, and during a year's stay in San Raphael.

    Great folks, great drivers, pretty relaxed, pretty tolerant on and off the road.

    I'd live there again. :norton
    #86
  7. Josh69

    Josh69 Uhhh

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    Yeah I think Californian driving is quite ok.

    California and a limited amount in OR and WA are the only places I've driven in the US. The descriptions of US driving in other states give me the heebie geebies.
    #87
  8. Paul_Rochdale

    Paul_Rochdale Been here awhile

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    Lucifer

    A rider's report. Well I'm just starting one so go and have a peak at the pictures.
    #88
  9. Paul_Rochdale

    Paul_Rochdale Been here awhile

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    Lucifer

    A rider's report? Well I'm just starting one so go and have a peak at the pictures.
    #89
  10. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

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    You missed it then. I've done it there.

    ...just like in NoVA you can't do it CA-style. :nah Hop a few cars. Stop. Hop a few cars. Stop.

    I even had one 'individual of questionable intelligence' try and tell me 'this ain't CA!' Umm yeah? And?! What's that got to do with me roasting in this heat?!

    M
    #90
  11. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    California has a lot of problems, but bad drivers really aren't one of them. Whenever people complain about how bad drivers in LA are, the only thing I can think is that the complainer him/herself doesn't actually know how to drive. Don't get me wrong, I see some stuuuupid shit on a daily basis, but nothing holds a candle to the poor driving I saw living in the Northeast. Even when I come back to Denver to visit my family, I think "damn, these people are sleep-driving." Northwest drivers aren't too bad either, except for the left-lane camping.

    And I agree--people here, especially in the less-dense areas are OK with just getting out of the way. I can't count how many times I've been riding along a mountain road enjoying my day when the car in front will hug the shoulder and wave me around just because he feels like it. I don't tailgate or annoy people on mountain roads, so they're letting me pass just to be nice. That almost never happens elsewhere.

    As for the OP: Filter away in California, just don't be stupid and life's good. Outside of California, the rule is "don't get caught."
    #91
  12. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Feel the need to chime in on CA drivers. I've driven in probably a dozen states all across the US.

    CA drivers are among some of the best. Yes, many of them drive quickly -- but they seem to understand that they are NOT the only ones on the road and see the value in using signals and sharing the road better than most. I only hate driving there because there are so damn MANY of them. At least most of them are doing pretty well behind the wheel -- I think it's really just trial by fire out there. If you suck at driving, you won't be doing it for long. I think no-nonsense is the best way to describe it.

    The absolute worst drivers I have encountered are in Maryland/DC area. Good god! :eek1
    #92
  13. YnotJP?

    YnotJP? Long timer

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    duncanmac, one other thing to remember, in the USA, they drive on the RIGHT side of the road. Not hard to remember on freeways, etc. but, on a less traveled two lane road, old habits may kick in. Enjoy your ride.
    #93
  14. Rags

    Rags Adventurer

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    I haven't lived in Montana for a few years, however, it was common practice for Highway Patrolmen to escort people to the nearest ATM to pay for their ticket when I did live there.
    #94
  15. ongrade

    ongrade Been here awhile

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    Actually stupid is sitting between cars in stop and go traffic waiting to be the meat in a car sandwich when you can split lanes and be alongside when some fool on a phone doesn't stop in time.
    #95
  16. Paul_Rochdale

    Paul_Rochdale Been here awhile

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    "The absolute worst drivers I have encountered are in Maryland/DC area. Good god"

    Ah the Beltway, what a road. In fairness to our Merrycan friends your driving standards aren't at all bad especially compared to our M25 race circuit where 45mph and 110mph regularly pass each other. And Germany where I cruise at 90mph on a bike and become the slowest life form on the planet and where Mercs and Audis tailgate you, it's insane.
    #96
  17. wyno

    wyno guzzi 750

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    The state of Victoria in Oztralia recently had a parliamentary inquiry into motorcycle safety. One of the recommendations was that filtering (not lane splitting) be legalised as more riders are injured by being rear ended when stopped in traffic than are injured filtering. Now all the government has to do is convince all the cagers that the riders aren't jumping the queue and not waiting their turn.
    #97
  18. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    The rest of the world isn't populated by 'merkin drivers.
    #98
  19. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    If this is going to become a best/worst 'merkin driver thread, you're going to have to start defining "good" and "bad" driving... which is going to be relative to where you are.

    1999-2001 I commuted in Boston one week there, two weeks at home, which was Portland for six months, then Denver for a year (during which I alternated Denver/Boston/Portland), then Portland again. By the end of that, I was an automotive schizoid. Being a "good" Boston driver made me a flaming asshole to Portlanders...
    #99
  20. duncanmac

    duncanmac Been here awhile

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    There has been a remarkable diversity of comment, the majority of it well intended and good humoured - thank you.

    I confess that I am disappointed to hear that there is, among a part of the USA populace, a sense of entitlement that causes them to become enraged and engage in anti-social behaviour when they see someone filtering/splitting.

    In Australia, another country where this type of attitude does regrettably exist, it is really only the odd person here and there that will take aggressive action against the motorcyclist. Strange though it may seem, cagers tend to be more antsy against bicycles, as THERE is a body of folk in which the number of those who believe they have superior road rights compared to others is quite pronounced.

    Still, when in Rome, do as the Romans do; so if and when I need to do something that is common sense but nevertheless illegal and/or frowned upon, I will do it with great caution.