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im in cali so its legal, but im really not comfortable at all doing it yet. im sure my little 250 can fit through the gaps just fine, but im more worried about the reaction...

it just seems like im better off NOT doing it, mostly because i know there will always be that handful of psychotic drivers trying to hinder/harm you for "cutting".

but at the same time, i know lane splitting is the best option for ME because it completely eliminates the possibility of being rear ended, and possibly killed for one thing...

so is there any good way to start getting into splitting? or do i just need to man up and get used to it? also, being in a 250 seems like a hindrance because 3/4 times, cars accelerate just as quickly as i do.
 

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You can easily be killed pulling off this riding style. A lot of people who ride on a regular basis get away with it. Mostly sport bike riders.
I very rarely if ever see anyone on a vstar or even a Harley lane splitting.

All it takes is someone opening their door to spit or dump out some
coffee and you get to do a face plant into the butt end of that door.

Guess what _ that accident is your fault.
 

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Personally I would never consider it. legal or not. Would I pull between two lanes as an emergency maneuver to keep from getting squished? sure! But as a normal riding style it's just not something I would do! Being on a bike is inherently dangerous enough so why add to my risk.
 

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Well Spoken Summer, This is a Riding style that has grown from the California area and from video's on Youtube.

I just watched a video from England where this guy is riding a Triumph
speed tripple between lanes while filming it with his Gopro.

Was I impressed ? No not at all. I thought to myself "this guy is going to die if he keeps doing this."

Kind of like a drug addict. If you get away with your life just once you think you can do it over and over again until it feels natural.

Then you get busted. Ut oh. Cold turkey is not fun.
Lane splitting and getting killed is also not fun....
 

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I live in SF and lane split regularly on my 1100... It was scary at first but I feel it's worth doing as long as you are safe about it. Here's my take on a good way to get started. *This is my PERSONAL opinion - you may disagree with me. That's fine. Just don't start a flame war please! :)*



1. Initially only split between stopped traffic on a road that is at least two lanes wide in your direction (basically getting to the front of the line at a red light). Once the light changes, if you are not at the front of the line, merge into a lane and continue with the rest of the vehicles.

2. NEVER split on the right side of the outside lane of traffic (between "moving" traffic and parked cars) - too much chance of a car door opening in front of you.
2a. NEVER split in a turning lane.

3. Once you are comfortable with splitting stationary traffic, you can move onto splitting moving traffic. Per Highway Code suggestion you should never split in traffic moving more than 35mph and you should only travel up to 10mph faster than the speed of the traffic around you.

4. If a car can fit there illegally then you should not go there either. Think hwy shoulders and bicycle lanes...

5. Be aware that trucks and buses will take up A LOT more room in the lane so passing them can take patience (and sometimes a little moxie).

6. When splitting slow moving traffic on a hwy, it is polite to only use the gap between the two left/inner lanes. It's also safer because (especially somewhere like SF) drivers are more likely to expect to see you splitting, and there are less people trying to merge on/off the hwy.

7. Always keep your eyes moving!!!!! Watch the cars in front for sudden head movements that will indicate someone about to merge through you. Watch for bikes behind you - pull into the traffic lane and let your fellow bikers pass until you gain confidence.

8. On that note, if you see another rider splitting, that is a GREAT way to start - they are making room through the vehicles FOR you. Much of the time, drivers see the oncoming bike and try to give you a bit of room, so the previous bike will have made room for you to follow! :)



Basically, to split or not to split (that is the question! :p) is entirely up to you. Just because it is legal doesn't mean it is safe. Just because it is safe doesn't mean it is fun. Ride your own ride and don't let anyone tell you you are wrong. As long as you are happy and not adversely affecting those around you, do what makes you comfortable.
 

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If I may be so bold here I would like to ask the question of Why? What is the reason/purpose for lane splitting? I have my own theory but that is based on no facts but just my our opinion. I would like to hear reasons from others.
 

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To feel holyer than thou, Leader of the pack, Able to beat everyone else at take off, So others can look at your butt, Because your bike runs like crap and is slow, Can't be Late for work no other way to be in early. Chicks just love a guy that sneaks up behind them.
 

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Nuthin but corn fields, curves, and a few small towns on my riding path. I've got no opinion on lane splitting as its the riders call. But ... I will say if you have a need to split lanes you ride bad roads with too much traffic. Get off the beaten path, enjoy the ride.
 

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To all those against lane splitting... Here in Cali it is legal and most people do it on the freeway regardless of the type of bike they ride. I very rarely if ever lane split on surface streets. Traffic congestion is a regular thing where I live. Lane splitting can be dangerous for sure, you need to expect every car out there will try to lane change at the last second. Would you suggest coming to a complete, foot down stop on the highway? I wont do it, it is asking for huge trouble. If traffic is moving I will generally stay in a lane, but if it stops, I will lane split. I keep the speed down and am really good at judging distances. Sometimes people will intentionally slide over to block your path, but more often than not people hold their line or swing out to give you space. It is actually illegal for cars to block lane splitters in CA, not that they know about the law or care. I have to commute and my bike is my only transportation. Freeway traffic in SoCal sucks and probably wont be getting any better.

I would not recommend you lane split too much without being very comfortable with your throttle/clutch control as you will need to adjust your speed and such regularly. As with anything take it easy and don't do anything you aren't comfortable with.

For a history lesson the origins of the law go back to when all motorcycles had air cooled engines and they would overheat. CHP actually stood up and blocked a law that would have banned lane splitting here since studies show it to be safer that sitting sandwiched between two cars.
 

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Ok , So you guys in California can do it legally. I get that part.

So think about this, Wouldn't it be the same thing to drive a VW or Geo Metro and lane split between two tractor trailers?

This is not legal and anyone caught doing it would most likely be labeled crazy as hell for doing it.

It is the big vehicle against the smaller. no difference to what your doing. It just happens for what ever reason to be legal in your state.

I guess riding on the interstate doing a wheelie the whole way is also
legal and called unicycling ? I never have to replace my front tire.

Bottom line is there is a lot of bad in this and very little good. :eek:
 

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I now live in Oregon (no lane splitting) but used to live in So Cal., and I've ridden in Cali.....I wasn't comfortable with splitting, but I was the only biker last summer who wasn't.... When in a car (even in the 70's) I moved over for splitters. On my next rip I will probably do it when traffic is at a standstill. Dangerous? of course, but so is sitting in line. I guess I'd say don't be a hater unless you've been there.

Just my opinion.

Don
 

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I know we have gone a different direction here that the original posters question so I will say this then shut up. I can't imagine any situation where lane splitting would be a safe and viable option for a rider. Like I said in my first post..I'm not against pulling between two cars to prevent an impending accident but that's not riding along between the two lanes. I'm referring to pulling in the open hole and stopping when all the other traffic is stopped.
I'm not trying to tell anyone to split or not I just cannot get behind the "it's safer that stopped" notion. To me if you are stopped in a line of traffic then you are just as safe as the car in front and behind you.
And just because everyone else does it is not a good reason either.

Resto, I would have to agree with you on your reasoning as to why people do it. I can't see any viable reason other than being impatient, not wanting to wait, so they do it simply because they can. I see it as being just like the _______(you fill in the blank) that rides the right shoulder 2 miles because apparently he is entitled to that right and above sitting in traffic.
I'm not knocking anyone here that does it and I'm not implying anyone that does it is stupid or dumb. I just don't agree with it and never will. But then again I would never ride without a helmet either, even in a state where it is legal.
Have fun and be safe whatever you do!
 

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Why split lanes? Because just getting off the freeway in a car can take 30 mins in bad traffic but I can lane split and get to the head of the line in less than 3. Because traffic during rush hour is so bad that a stretch of road that normally takes 10 mins can take over an hour. Because my bike is air cooled and when it's hot I REALLY don't want to deal with both the bike and myself overheating (I practice ATTGATT and sitting in traffic on a hot day gets old FAST). Because it's sometimes safer to split lanes than to sit in mostly stationary traffic. Because I work at odd hours of the day (I'm work in offsite catering) and I don't always remember to allow extra time for bad traffic and I'm running late...

I rode in Cali for over 18 months before I decided to start splitting and I will never regret the choice I made. Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Splitting "safely" does not add any risk that I'm not already taking.

Oh yeah... and I'm VERY safety conscious. I lived in Texas for a year - a state with no helmet laws - and NEVER rode without a full face helmet, textile jacket and leather gloves.
 

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I used to fly airplanes and I have hauled skydivers. Would I jump out of a good functioning aircraft with a parachute strapped to my back? NO Would I base jump? NO Would I lane split? NO I don't have to be anywhere in such a hurry that I need to lane split.

Airplanes are safe in the hangar, boats are safe in the slip and motorcycles are safe in the garage but, that is not where they were designed to be. We all have our personal limits and ideas on safety. Learn all you can and then decide what's for you. Be safe.

Augie
 

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To all those against lane splitting... Here in Cali it is legal and most people do it on the freeway regardless of the type of bike they ride. I very rarely if ever lane split on surface streets. Traffic congestion is a regular thing where I live. Lane splitting can be dangerous for sure, you need to expect every car out there will try to lane change at the last second. Would you suggest coming to a complete, foot down stop on the highway? I wont do it, it is asking for huge trouble. If traffic is moving I will generally stay in a lane, but if it stops, I will lane split. I keep the speed down and am really good at judging distances. Sometimes people will intentionally slide over to block your path, but more often than not people hold their line or swing out to give you space. It is actually illegal for cars to block lane splitters in CA, not that they know about the law or care. I have to commute and my bike is my only transportation. Freeway traffic in SoCal sucks and probably wont be getting any better.

I would not recommend you lane split too much without being very comfortable with your throttle/clutch control as you will need to adjust your speed and such regularly. As with anything take it easy and don't do anything you aren't comfortable with.

For a history lesson the origins of the law go back to when all motorcycles had air cooled engines and they would overheat. CHP actually stood up and blocked a law that would have banned lane splitting here since studies show it to be safer that sitting sandwiched between two cars.
Thanks for sharing that. Interesting, and I learned something today.
 

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Well I have to say I understand to a point. 1 state in 50 leaves 49 where this is illegal. I live in one of the 49. Regardless of traffic situations, (I'll take a side road ) Or find a better less traveled route the next time I ride. I can take several different routes back and forth to work. So for me to risk getting a ticket knowing it's illegal would be stupid. If others in my state want to split lanes and think they are in fact safe is all in their minds .

So if you live in California and want to learn to lane split you should have no problem finding somebody to show you the ropes.

For the people living in the other 49 states we should adhere to the term "mums the word." Thats where I end this.

Remember this is my honest opinion and I don't hold anything that was said by anyone against them. But I too learned something from this topic. I hope you did too. Thanks. ;)
 

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Regardless of the legality, the OP said he was not comfortable. Personally, I feel that if you're not comfortable doing something dangerous, maybe you shouldn't.

I gave my wife a bike and I decked it out to her liking. She talks about how much she loves her motorcycle, but she's only put a handful of miles on it. I don't try to convince her to get out there and do it. If she decides she wants to she will. I guess it's the same for lane-splitting. When you're feeling a lot of anxiety about doing something, you're probably a hazard.
 
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