General Discussion Discuss anything and everything motorcycle-related


 
Old November 24th @ 05:32 pm   #1
Lost Sheep's Avatar
 
From: Las Vegas

Motorcycle: 06 1000 rr bone stock 01 F4I
Illegal here put just in case

Lane splitting 101

Lane splitting, like baseball, is a game of inches. In baseball, judging small distances accurately wins games. In motorcycling, it gets you home early and in one piece.

For five years, I have been commuting from Berkeley to San Francisco and back every day, 15 miles along the I-80 corridor and across the Bay Bridge. Often, I lane-split the whole distance, saving about an hour a day in travel time. The tips in this article result from that experience.

If you can ride on freeways fairly comfortably but haven't lane-split yet, practice judging the distance between two stationary objects wider than your motorcycle, then find the midpoint of that distance. That mid-point is where you'll want to be in any lane-split or passing move.

While lane-splitting, you are measuring distances, acting and reacting to your observations. The situation is fluid and changes take place in tenths of seconds or less. When traffic stops, the situation goes static. You become the only dynamic player.

Moving through stopped or slowly moving traffic is actually a combination of lane- splitting and lane-changing. The gap is where you find it; how you use it and avoid contact is the challenge.

GETTING STARTED

Make sure your bike is in tune, has good brakes and good rubber.

Without cars around you, practice riding on lane buttons. Take a firm grip on your handlebars. Riding on the buttons will shake your bike, but it won't tip you over. Get used to the feeling; you'll be riding on the buttons occasionally while you're between cars.

To pass one car in slowly-moving traffic on the freeway, place yourself behind a car that has plenty of space in front of it. (Cars should be running parallel to your chosen car.) Line up to the right or left side (whichever affords the most space) of your chosen car. Make sure you're in a low enough gear to provide adequate roll-on power. Check your mirrors, then look up your route. If it's clear, give it the gas. Pass the car and pull into the forward space. You have just lane-split. When you're comfortable with the one-car pass, up the ante to two cars, then three and so on.

SEEING

Lane-splitting is essentially a hand-eye coordination activity. The operative term here is "eye." If you don't see what's happening around you, you'll never make the right move.

Keep your eyes moving: check the situation way up ahead. Read the intention of the vehicles near you; check your mirrors. Don't stare. At 30 mph, you are traveling at 44 feet per second. At that speed, you travel 4.4 feet in a tenth of a second.

TECHNIQUES

Cover the front brake lever with two fingers. If you have to stop, you'll be able to save a bit of reaction time, which translates into distance. Stopping even one inch away from an obstruction is good.

Relax your arms by bending them slightly at the elbows. Remember to breathe. If you become tired, stop lane-splitting for awhile.

Check your mirrors before starting any lane-splitting move. A fellow lane-splitter, closing quickly from behind as you enter the gap, could spoil your whole day. l also periodically check my mirrors while lane-splitting. If I see another lane-splitter coming up behind me, I can decide whether to pull over or speed up.

Control direction and speed with smooth micro-inputs, knees to tank, hands countersteering, hand to throttle. You don't have room for big maneuvers.

When the gap narrows and your move isn't going to work, slow down, drop back into a lane, or stop between lanes if you have to.

Make sure your mirrors and bar-ends will clear van, truck and car mirrors. It's not a major deal when they connect, usually just a loud clacking noise, but it is embarrassing. Other drivers may not like you just for lane-splitting, but tapping their mirrors out of adjustment makes it worse.

Be patient at merges. Other drivers often change lanes here, trying to gain some advantage. That's their illusion. Wait until they settle down. You are the only one who can really take advantage of the traffic situation.

Be wary of solo drivers who use car pool lanes to get ahead of the traffic jam in the non- car pool lanes. At the last minute, they will try to enter the jam; if you are about to make a pass at that point, the results will not be amusing.

When other vehicles, whether signaling or not, start a lane-change maneuver, don't accelerate in an attempt to get past them. Give them the right of way.

Be aware of empty spaces to the side of the car that you intend to lane-split past. Try to go by before the driver is aware of you. Failing that, if the car tries to move over while you're on the side of his car, match the car's move if you have the space. Your other option is again to be patient for a bit. The relationships will change, the car's place will be taken by another vehicle, and you can lane-split the two safely.

Passing another motorcycle which appears to be staying in a lane presents an interesting problem: It's as hard to tell if the rider knows you're there as it is to judge a car driver's awareness of your presence. The motorcyclist has your flickability, however. If you fell certain that the rider is holding steady in a lane, zap past. If you're uneasy about the motorcyclist's intentions, lane-change away and go about your business.

Most drivers place their vehicle near the left side of their lane. They are sighting on the lane divider nearest to them. In most instances, your position should be on the right side of the lane. This will give you the most maneuvering room.

In order to pass between sets of lane buttons without riding over them, sight on the last button of the front set and quickly make your move. Usually, you'll pass smoothly through, or at worst ride over the last button. Whatever you do, don't get hung up on not riding over the buttons. Not hitting or being hit by other vehicles is what's happening.

SPEED

The great race car driver Juan Fangio once said, "I drive just fast enough to win." You probably shouldn't ride between vehicles at more than 10 to 15 mph faster than they are traveling. If they're stopped, they are traveling 0 mph.

COPS

Even though lane-splitting is legal in some states, whether you'll get pulled over by the police is dependent on whether or not they feel what you are doing is safe. The catch, of course, is that each patrolman has a different criteria for what constitutes "safe." Ride in a manner which you feel is safe for you. If you get ticketed, plead not guilty and take it to a jury. The ticket is a judgment call. Obviously, you are in the right or you wouldn't have been lane-splitting. Was it safe? Hell, yes! The fact that you're standing in court with all your limbs intact is proof of that. At any rate, keep an eye out for the cops just in case.

OBSERVATIONS

Being aware of the lethal danger you're in and simultaneously ignoring it is a requirement of lane-splitting. This ability is composed of experience, guts and self confidence.

Lane-splitting is as much fun and as challenging as a mile of technical enduro landscape or miles of canyon carving.

The flow of freeway traffic is like a river. Learn to read every ripple and snag in the pattern.

The whole freeway is your playing field. The gap between vehicles is where the game is played.

On a motorcycle, you are in another space- time continuum from other vehicles. No wonder they don't see you.

When you are all going the same speed - cars, trucks and motorcycles - holding position, you are motionless, relative to one another. When you accelerate slightly, the pattern changes, but only at a difference of several miles per hour. (All vehicles are moving at 65 mph., you accelerate to 67 mph. The situation changes at 2 mph.) Moves take place in relative slow motion.

The experienced eye can judge the mid- point of variably changing distances. Rear bumper to front fender of surrounding vehicles. It is a solvable three-body problem.

You will see other motorcyclists lane- splitting. It is a temptation to see who can go the fastest. Deal with the temptation as you see fit.

Henceforth, all car drivers will be known as "Civilians." However, when we drive cars, we will be known as motorcyclists.

Be in tune with your machine; the way it smells, the sounds it makes, the shadow it casts when you ride.

GRADUATION DAY

You have just lane-split all the way home in the rain, in the dark, at rush-hour on Friday night. You've had a great ride.

 
 
Old November 25th @ 08:25 am   #2
Fallen's Avatar
 
From: I'm from Vault 101

Motorcycle: '06 600RR TOTALLED '08 1000RR Black/Yellow
Excellent read. Im fully aware that lane splitting isn't legal here....but it should be.

Did a lil lane splitting last night on the 215. *shhhh
 
 
Old November 25th @ 08:35 am   #3
vegasbiker's Avatar
 
From: Las Vegas

Motorcycle: 2008 YZF R6,2001 RC51,1985 VF1000 R,2012 BWM S1000RR
Nice post Stacey to the point and accurate. As a long time Cali rider I miss the chance to lane split in Nv. have to remind myself quite often that I can't do it anymore.
 
 
Old November 25th @ 10:36 am   #4
BaldnBlk's Avatar
 
From: las vegas

Motorcycle: 2008 Ninja 650r
how hard do they look for lane splitting here?
 
 
Old November 25th @ 12:20 pm   #5
Fallen's Avatar
 
From: I'm from Vault 101

Motorcycle: '06 600RR TOTALLED '08 1000RR Black/Yellow
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaldnBlk View Post
how hard do they look for lane splitting here?
Anytime you don't follow the law or the rules of the road to the letter, you run the risk of getting ticketed. With that being said, I would only suggest lane spitting if there is a need, or if it makes sense. As mentioned above, I occasionally lane split here...but only in bumper to bumper fwy traffic when cars come to a halt. Or if I was riding in a group and a car cuts into the pack, I'd lane split to get around them and stay with the group.

As for what they look for...I think you are more likely to get a ticket lane spitting on surface street to get ahead of the cars at stop lights, than say on the fwy. However I wouldn't suggest passing any hwy patrol while lane spitting. Scan far enough ahead. If you see any officers, just drop back in line and you should be fine. I've been doing it here for years, never been ticketed for it thus far.
 
 
Old November 25th @ 12:48 pm   #6
Lost Sheep's Avatar
 
From: Las Vegas

Motorcycle: 06 1000 rr bone stock 01 F4I
I do miss lane splitting. It can save hours a month in your daily commute.


We need to find a state law maker willng to introduce the legislation to make this leagal
 
 
Old November 25th @ 04:16 pm   #7
mattyrides07's Avatar
 
From: (Home) Las Vegas; (Stationed) Alaska; (currently) East Paktika, Afghanistan

Motorcycle: (2) 1984 Matty-Legs (they're SUPER fast!)
Riding in Cali (where lane splitting is legal) I found a majority of drivers actually lok out for riders. I've had good luck with high percentages of drivers pulling over to one side of their lane to allow me to pass more comfortably.

Also, if you ever get pulled over for lane splitting tell the officer that you HAD to for your saftey b/c the car behind you wasn't paying attention and you were going to get hit.... obviously it won't work if your driving like an ass, but if you were doing it responsibly you shouldn't have a problem. It worked for me before.
 
 
Old November 25th @ 04:24 pm   #8
Lost Sheep's Avatar
 
From: Las Vegas

Motorcycle: 06 1000 rr bone stock 01 F4I
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattyrides07 View Post
Riding in Cali (where lane splitting is legal) I found a majority of drivers actually lok out for riders. I've had good luck with high percentages of drivers pulling over to one side of their lane to allow me to pass more comfortably.

Also, if you ever get pulled over for lane splitting tell the officer that you HAD to for your saftey b/c the car behind you wasn't paying attention and you were going to get hit.... obviously it won't work if your driving like an ass, but if you were doing it responsibly you shouldn't have a problem. It worked for me before.
I"m putting that in my vocab for when I get pulled over
 
 

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