Lane-splitting in non-lane-splitting states

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Kikemon, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Kikemon

    Kikemon Buffoon Emeritus

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    I have been lucky enough to work near my home for most of my career and never had to contend with much of a commute. I just got a new job which will involve a much longer commute than I have ever had. Traffic here is terrible and there really is no longer a time when there is no traffic. I grew up in California and lanes-split there and have been tempted to lane-split here many times, but haven't done it because it is not legal here. Now, the traffic is so bad that I am thinking of doing it regardless. I would like to hear from other riders that lane-split where it is not legal. I am worried about aggression from drivers and possible legal issues related to doing it.
    #1
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  2. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    Not worth the risk and potential road rage you will encounter.. unless its an emergency, dont bother, as much as u want to..

    The old argument of being right or being safe comes to mind when u get side swiped..
    #2
  3. hamiamham

    hamiamham Been here awhile

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    yea here in NYC lane splitting invokes road rage. so some meat head beats you up and a cop gives you a ticket. insult to injury..
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  4. rustbucket

    rustbucket Been here awhile

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    Again in NY, but I've seen drivers swerve towards riders splitting lanes or puttering along the shoulder in heavy traffic. fortunately I haven't seen anyone taken out, but it's scary nonetheless. I reserve that sort of thing for emergencies as well.

    My commute is 13 miles, and about 45 minutes each way, all on the highway. I've just given up on riding to work. There's no chance for fun, and at least the cage has A/C.
    #4
  5. ExodusRider

    ExodusRider ExodusRider

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    It really doesnt make any sense why a car would want to swerve into a small motorcycle that's not bothering / affecting them by splitting lanes or going over the shoulder..if any thing, its helping traffic by removing us from the traffix jam / equation.

    I had a guy in a pick-up truck after the traffic jam chase me down just to get in front and blow exhaust in my face because I was able to go off road shoulder and get around the traffic ahead of him..

    As if my 8ft motorcycle somehow slowed him down..

    That's how little people are here.. in Russia, 90% who saw me coming would move over for bikers to pass.. go figure...
    #5
  6. Kikemon

    Kikemon Buffoon Emeritus

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    On a recent road trip through California I split lanes to get through heavy traffic in the bay area and was very impressed at how accepting and even helpful the car drivers were. Many edged over to make room for me as I went by.

    I have talked to many drivers in Oregon about splitting and most don't like the idea although they can't really give a logical explanation for not liking it. Mostly they say something along the lines of, "It's not fair... " which I don't really understand, but there you have it. If I have learned anything in my time on this planet it is that it is usually a waste of time trying to sway people that have ideas about something that are not founded on facts or logic.

    I am seeing more and more motorcyclists splitting lanes or riding on the shoulder to get around traffic here. From what I can see there are not problems and I suspect that they blow by most drivers before the driver realizes what is happening. Of course, it only takes one homicidal jerk to see you in his side view mirror before you pass him to make all the difference.

    I'd love to hear from someone who actually does this regularly to see what sorts of experiences they have had.
    #6
  7. Khantahr

    Khantahr Adventurer

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    I expect to see more and more lane splitting around the Portland area. Traffic is ridiculous and only getting worse. Rep. McKeown has either decided herself, or is getting paid or coerced to decide, that it's not going to be legal any time soon. That's not going to stop people when it's 90 degrees out with wide open dashed lines though.
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  8. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    Non-CA resident here.

    I've lane split more than twice, due to demonstrably awful traffic conditions coupled with warm temps. and an air-cooled motorcycle. It's only when that unfortunate trifecta occurs that I'll even consider splitting.

    If I decide to lane split, my M.O. is something you've already mentioned: thread the needle before the surrounding drivers become aware of what you've done. I've a skinny and comparatively quiet dual sport. Fairly stealth. To be fair, other drivers aren't expecting me (or any other rider) to slither through. Unfortunately, this broadens the possible range of responses if they take umbrage at my actions. To date, the only negative responses have been horn use, and one half-hearted swerve that was easy to get around.

    The "it's not fair" proposition is a false one. It holds no water with me. I'm actually removing one vehicle from the immediate vicinity of every driver that I filter past. I don't do it unless there's ample clearance and I have a place to go (and keep going). More to the point: if I wanted to sit in slow or stopped traffic, without recourse or relief, I wouldn't have given up the comforts of my truck.

    I've not seen any LEOs during my little acts of civil disobedience. By extension, I've not [yet] received a citation for the same. I therefore can't comment on what might be written on a piece of payin' paper for such an offense.
    #8
  9. B02S4

    B02S4 Aye

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    Last time I did it was in PA some time ago in a very long traffic jam on a divided 4 lane highway on a very hot day; I was on an aircooled bike. I used the shoulder to get to the front of the jam. The jam was caused by a serious MVA.

    One of the LEO's working the scene walked over to me just before they opened up a lane to get things moving...I thought, "well, this can't be good..."; he was a pro, and I was courteous.

    I gave the "air cooled bike" defense, to which he replied "well, then why didn't you just shut it off". After a thoughtful pause, I said - with a straight face - "You know, thats a great idea, I didn't think of it..."

    Bottom line, no citation, I thanked the Trooper for being so professional, and was the first one to roll past the scene.

    You've been warned... :evil
    #9
  10. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

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    I can't say I've shared lanes here in the DC area cause the statute of limitations isn't up. After living in CA for more than a decade and riding most days of those years, lane sharing just makes SO much more sense than sitting there.

    The thing I would do if I were lane sharing in the DC area (or anywhere else it isn't legal) is hop a few cars and pull into a gap. Assess what's going on, hop a few cars and pull into a gap. Repeat till you get where you're going. You're still making forward progress, but it isn't as blatant as just sitting between lanes of traffic.

    I can't say that in the year I was riding from outside Manassas to Rockville, that 3 people 'took umbrage' to my non-existant lane sharing. The last one pulled over so far to the right side of the lane I just went around him the other way and kept going. Allegedly.

    Just like in CA 99% of the people are brain-dead morons staring at the brake lights in front of them and aren't paying attention to anything else. You're past them before they know you're even on the road.

    M
    #10
  11. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Safety Second!

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    It’s interesting. Ever notice that pots of live crabs never need a lid? These guys are great climbers! As one crab begins to crawl out, another crab claws his way onto him to try to get out too. This continues with other crabs until first crab loses his grip due to the weight and they all fall back in and it all starts again. None of them ever get out. No lid needed.
    .
    People are the same way. They HATE to see others getting ahead while they sit there. It does not end well as others have mentioned. The crab pot mentality shows up everywhere from the workplace to the highway.
    #11
  12. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    I've done it legally and illegally, have been dinged for it, and eventually quit doing it. I'm pro lane splitting, but recognize my opinion doesn't entitle me to make up my own rules.
    I just remember, like many others here, how often I criticize "they" and "them" for their lawless, self absorbed behavior, and how it disrupts traffic. I'm sure "they" and "them" believe they're not a disruption either because they're awesome road users too.

    Living the world the way it actually is, not how I think it should be.
    #12
  13. MauiCowie

    MauiCowie Long timer

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    I know somebody who moved from CA to OR several years ago. Forgot that he was in OR one day and started splitting out of habit. He got pulled over and I forget exactly what he was cited for but it was a really nasty ticket - similar to reckless driving IIRC.
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  14. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    I suspect that a lot of drivers object to people getting ahead by "cheating".

    You can argue that a motorcycle can get far enough ahead to relieve congestion where it was. Others will argue that the MC will then be contributing to congestion farther ahead.

    Lane splitting may work great in the big picture, but it will be a tough sell to convince everyone waiting in traffic that a few of us don't have to wait.
    #14
  15. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Souped-Up Weasel

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    In California lane-splitting became legal because everyone just fucking did it. Just fucking do it. It's Portland for fuck's sake. The worst you're going to get from another driver is a strongly-worded blog post.
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  16. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    Or a drum circle protest in the park.
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  17. Navy Chief

    Navy Chief Long timer Supporter

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    I have done it a few times around the Baltimore and DC area, usually I am past people before they even realize what is going on to react. One interesting incident was when I filtered past a highway patrol car stuck in traffic, he flipped his lights on for a second then shut them off. I am guessing it was a warning as I was fully expecting to get a performance award in the mail if he got my plate number, nothing ever arrived so I must be good to go. I don't do it often but if the situation warrants it (traffic gridlocked) I will.

    The people who get enraged because somebody got ahead of them make no sense to me, if you want to get ahead also get your butt out of the car and get on a bike.
    #17
  18. Bt10

    Bt10 Been here awhile

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    2 lane pacing morons at 25 in a 55, holding back full lines of cars. Deluge of rain and I was trying to get a couple miles ahead to clear skies. Finally punched hard and went between before they had a chance to look up from their texts. Given the state of their self-induced traffic jam, wouldn't have expected to be chased down, LEO or civvy. Repeated as needed. I only can wait so long for morons in the pouring rain.

    Added: In fairness, DOT knobbies don't really hydroplane as soon as car tires...
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  19. ydarg

    ydarg Miscreant

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    Tampa, FL resident. I've done it and will do it on the big bridges at rush hour when traffic is absolutely horrible and at a standstill, that's about the only place I feel comfortable doing it because there's no place for anyone to go. I'm not sitting there in a mob of four lanes of stop-and-inch traffic for three plus miles while some aggressive or distracted moron changes lanes into me to get ahead by one car length.

    Otherwise, nope. Not risking it on the interstates or surface streets.
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  20. skuzeee

    skuzeee Adventurer

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    I've adapted the same strategy for my DC commute, luckily most drivers here are busy texting to notice.
    #20
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