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Old 03-29-2019, 07:22 AM   #16
DataDan
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Final Thoughts

Thanks to the lane-splitting noobs who have read this thread from the beginning. You should now have a better understanding of the inherent risks of splitting and ways to reduce them. Starting out, choose your opportunities carefully. Look for a wide corridor, slow or stopped bumper-to-bumper traffic, and no trucks. Gain confidence in easier situations, and you'll eventually be able to handle harder ones.


Lane-splitting is a great advantage enjoyed by California motorcycle commuters. In dense urban areas, the time saving made possible by splitting makes a motorcycle an attractive option, at least to a dedicated rider. In addition, it improves the commute for everyone by freeing up space that would otherwise be occupied by a car.

Splitting can also make riding in heavy traffic safer. Between bumpers, our space is poorly protected, and it can disappear in an instant. Between lanes--when space is available--incursions occur more slowly and are easier to anticipate.

However, splitting introduces risks of its own. I hope I have shown in this thread how to recognize and avoid them and make your motorcycle commute safer.
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Old 03-31-2019, 11:16 AM   #17
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Thank you for this comprehensive guide.

Just one minor suggestion on post #2:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DataDan View Post
Don't expect to be seen, and don't put yourself in a position where your safety depends on being seen.
I would change "seen" to "seen or heard". There are still way too many riders who claim that loud pipes save lives.


I can still remember when I first started splitting in 1997. I probably had 40,000 miles of experience by then, but all of it was in another state. I got into it slowly, trying hard to stay within my comfort zone. Until I left California last year, I still mostly split only to the front of traffic lights in stopped traffic. I miss being able to do that now.

I only had a few months of splitting on freeways when I had to commute between Pleasanton and Santa Clara in 2011. On I-680 through Fremont I was pretty much splitting at the same speed as other riders until traffic speed increased going up the Sunol Grade, then the other riders were soon out of sight as I merged back in with traffic once we got over 35 mph or so. I never felt that it was worth the risk to split at the faster speeds.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:29 PM   #18
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thank you for writing all of that and sharing it! I've been splitting for a few years but its nice to get a refresher and be more mindful at times as familiarity breeds comfort.
I know reading a BARF post in the past made me more aware of the dangers and splitting near big trucks/busses, etc. You might have been the one who wrote it! I almost never do that unless they are stopped now.

Also, and this isn't tied to splitting necessarily, but I'd really recommend riding with a camera of sorts to record if things should go awry. Cuz I've had someone intentionally cut me off multiple times/almost hit me while trying to split. I had no camera then, but do now. I discussed this with a LEO I know and he said with video evidence charges can be brought.
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Halen View Post
Also, and this isn't tied to splitting necessarily, but I'd really recommend riding with a camera of sorts to record if things should go awry. Cuz I've had someone intentionally cut me off multiple times/almost hit me while trying to split. I had no camera then, but do now. I discussed this with a LEO I know and he said with video evidence charges can be brought.
You might want to find the discussions in the LEO Forum about video evidence. The general consensus among the BARF LEOs seems to be that it would be very unlikely to charge anybody based on video evidence unless there was a serious injury.
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:21 AM   #20
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Excellent job on summarizing the fundamentals of lane splitting. Can I add one modification to the statement below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DataDan View Post
Enter the corridor only when you have a good view ahead. A hasty entry to escape slowing traffic could end badly if your path is blocked.
Just like any other lane of traffic you are entering, it is important to check that there is not an approaching motorcycle already occupying the split you are entering. Too often I see riders enter the split without confirming that no one is coming. We are not only sharing the road with cars but also with other motorcycles. Please don't assume that you are the only one using the split as that could end very badly for you and the other rider who has right of way.
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:27 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal scott View Post
Just like any other lane of traffic you are entering, it is important to check that there is not an approaching motorcycle already occupying the split you are entering. Too often I see riders enter the split without confirming that no one is coming. We are not only sharing the road with cars but also with other motorcycles. Please don't assume that you are the only one using the split as that could end very badly for you and the other rider who has right of way.
Great point. I'm going to add that to the post.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:23 PM   #22
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Thanks for putting this advice together, it's a great reference!
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:58 PM   #23
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:24 PM   #24
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How many wipeouts and accidents can be avoided by SLOWING DOWN? Lanesplitting is a new thing to me, but I do it within reason. If traffic is already moving along at a good pace and above 30mph or so, what reason do I have to fly between lanes? It's a recipe for disaster. I see people doing 60+mph while traffic is either very slow or moving fast already. Just makes no sense. The videos I saw on the first page could easily have been remedied by riding within the conditions. Dark, rainy, and trying to fly between lanes with lowlight? Nah...I'm good. Cruiser guy going the speed limit but still feels the need to fly between lanes to cut almost directly in front of a truck? Wouldn't catch me doing it.

Maybe I error on the side of safety, but if I'm already moving through traffic a bit faster than the cars, that's good enough for me. I happily move over if another rider wants to blaze by when I'm splitting lanes.

I assume every car is out to get me, I'd rather arrive alive. I appreciate you putting together this thread, hopefully it'll help keep someone riding safe to ride again.

Last edited by maidenfan84; 05-15-2019 at 05:27 PM..
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:46 AM   #25
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Maybe it goes without saying, but splitting in the dark is harder, lower speed differential is needed. You are even less visible, and large mirrors are harder to see and avoid.

I always slow down a lot on the first day after the time change because that will be the first time I split home in the dark that year. The one year I forgot I had a mirror tap, and no damage to either vehicle, I got lucky.

Actually, maybe it's better said that noobs shouldn't split in the dark.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:33 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by DataDan View Post
Respect fellow splitters. Check your mirrors often, and if a rider comes up behind you going faster, get out of the way when you safely can. If you come up behind a rider going slower, give him time to see you. Use the horn to get his attention if you must, but DON'T TAILGATE. You don't see what he sees, so you can't react to a situation where he needs to brake.
Curious - is it my responsibility to get out of the way? I ask because I was splitting at a 15 delta this morning on 80E and I had a Harley come up behind me and start revving. Traffic was at a near standstill on the way towards the Bay Bridge and I wasn't sure if it was on me to maneuver into a lane for his convenience, or on him to switch over to splitting between lanes 2/3?

Luckily traffic diverged in less than a mile as we got to the express lane exit towards the bridge but I'd like to hear thoughts on the etiquette for future reference.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:05 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daninutero View Post
Curious - is it my responsibility to get out of the way? I ask because I was splitting at a 15 delta this morning on 80E and I had a Harley come up behind me and start revving. Traffic was at a near standstill on the way towards the Bay Bridge and I wasn't sure if it was on me to maneuver into a lane for his convenience, or on him to switch over to splitting between lanes 2/3?
Get out of the way when you SAFELY can.

It's a matter of courtesy, even if the other rider is a dick. But it's also a matter of your safety. A tailgating splitter is a real danger to you.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:08 AM   #28
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Excellent thread, well gathered info. Kudos for putting it together DataDan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daninutero View Post
Curious - is it my responsibility to get out of the way? I ask because I was splitting at a 15 delta this morning on 80E and I had a Harley come up behind me and start revving. Traffic was at a near standstill on the way towards the Bay Bridge and I wasn't sure if it was on me to maneuver into a lane for his convenience, or on him to switch over to splitting between lanes 2/3?

Luckily traffic diverged in less than a mile as we got to the express lane exit towards the bridge but I'd like to hear thoughts on the etiquette for future reference.
If you know a rider is in the split behind you and wants to pass, let them past at the first safe opportunity. Like drivers who come up behind you in the fast lane, they tend to be aggressive personalities that become frustrated by being "trapped" behind you in their minds and do dangerous things as a result- just better to not be around them, period.

Here's an example- the guy couldn't have been behind me in the 1/2 split for very long, but decides to try to pass in the 2/3 split and tries to dodge over to evade a truck mirror, cutting me off. Once I know he wants past I let him pass, but that doesn't stop his impatience from putting us both at risk. I'm partly at fault for not observing him and yielding faster, of course.

https://youtu.be/MrcnsjmkJic
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:39 PM   #29
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Is lane splitting at a left turn allowed? I've noticed some riders doing it and some that don't. I don't think it's something I want to do, but I want to know what is and isn't allowed by law
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:43 PM   #30
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Is lane splitting at a left turn allowed? I've noticed some riders doing it and some that don't. I don't think it's something I want to do, but I want to know what is and isn't allowed by law
There are no restrictions.

Do you mean filtering up to the limit line between two left-turn lanes at a red light? I don't do it, but it wouldn't seem to be a problem if the geometry is favorable. You need space to accelerate quickly on the green and GTFO of the way so you don't interfere with lane changes or get taken out by sloppy driving.

If you mean splitting between two left-turn lanes in motion, I wouldn't recommend it due to the sloppy driving risk. I'm sure you've seen a driver in the left lane run a little wide into the right lane. When I'm in the right lane, I expect that kind of incursion and position myself accordingly.
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