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Toebra
Toebra Reader
8/22/15 8:54 a.m.

Just had a lane splitting motorcycle clip me on the way home last Tuesday. L rear quarter, driver's side door and the mirror are pretty screwed up, got the rear wheel a bit too. I guess he was hauling ass. Heavy, stop and go freeway traffic, so I was not moving fast at all, maybe 5 or 10 mph, looked back and there was a big gap for me to change lanes into, but no bike. Turn signal, look again to get over and pow.

Another driver saw what happened, stopped, offered to be a witness and proceeded to go off on the guy that hit me, yelling at him that he is going to get killed riding like that. I told him to lay off, the guy had just been in a wreck, witness goes on to say he rides, and somebody needs to tell him, or he is going to die. Motorcyclist was rather miraculously unhurt. He did not even fall over, came to a stop 2 or 3 car lengths in front of me. He was pretty shook up at first, but settled down pretty fast. We exchange info, I pat him on the shoulder and tell him to be careful out there, and off we went, he gave me a thumbs up when he went by, still splitting lanes. Did not seem to have damaged the bike much either, his foot peg did a number on the side of the car though. I don't think it is so much a bad luck car, as small, low and a bad color to stand out from the road, which is sort of what killed James Dean. Vanish into the asphalt grey Mazdaspeed Miata, the curse is real. Maybe a bad luck car I guess, but that guy on the scoot is a lucky SOB for sure.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/22/15 8:58 a.m.

Lane splitting scares the crap out of me on a number of levels. The last time that I was in California, all I could think about was that one of these guys is going to come up upon someone from back east who doesn't know about lane splitting and get killed. Sure, the driver might be at fault, but the motorcyclist is still the dead guy.

Lane splitting, at least how I have seen it happening, is a bad idea.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
8/22/15 9:38 a.m.

That asshat give us motorcyclists a bad name. The law states that lane splitters should go no more than 10mph above traffic speed. If you were stationary, that means 10mph.

That said, glad hes OK, your OK, the car can be repaired, and he got caught. Unfortunately, his attitude will probably get him hurt/dead in the future.

neon4891
neon4891 MegaDork
8/22/15 9:53 a.m.

Yeah, no lane splitting for me. My father was an MSF instructor, I've had ALL the safety lessons drilled into me at a young age.

pres589
pres589 UberDork
8/22/15 10:05 a.m.

In reply to Woody:

Unless the OP is in California (fill out your profiles, people, so we can tell where you're at!), lane splitting isn't legal, and the driver wouldn't be at fault for someone else hitting him when they're already performing an illegal maneuver.

I've only lane split a couple times and traffic was at a stand still. Even then I'm super leery of doing it.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
8/22/15 10:41 a.m.

I only lane split when traffic is fully backed up (just did it the other day), but in general, no. I only go past cars if they are stopped or just crawling, once they start moving I drop in.

I have not seen anyone doing it at any speed, but I have seen a few very wide bikes doing it when they probably shouldn't. I have seen a guy on a full size Harley doing it, with his feet on road pegs!

Motorcycle accidents on the freeway happen pretty often in LA. during commute times I am suspicious a lot of them are the result of overly aggressive lane splitting.

NOHOME
NOHOME UberDork
8/22/15 11:58 a.m.

If you don't like bikes lane splitting, don't try and drive in Asia or Europe. Every rider in those regions has a death wish and a chip on their shoulder.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
8/22/15 12:39 p.m.

Studies show that lane splitting is no more dangerous that riding in traffic in general. It's tough to control for the actual rider behavior, but when factoring in if riders lane-split properly (i.e. less than 35mph, 5-15mph above traffic speed and preferably ~10mph) it is generally less dangerous than sitting in stop-and-go traffic.

If you looked, and didn't see this guy, sounds like he was going greater than 15mph above traffic speed.

Filtering (cutting to the front of line at a red light) is definitely safer than sitting exposed, and I always filter at least a bit up the line if possible, even though that's not legal here.

novaderrik
novaderrik UltimaDork
8/22/15 1:35 p.m.

why do people on 2 wheels get special privileges that people in 4 wheels don't? y'all can wait in line like everyone else..

pres589
pres589 UberDork
8/22/15 1:38 p.m.

In reply to novaderrik:

Because of greater inherent danger if you get rear-ended on a motorcycle. That said, I've never done "filtering" to the front of a cue at a light, because it'd piss me off as well if I was in one of the cars. Maybe I'm not ballsy enough to ride a motorcycle anymore.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UberDork
8/22/15 2:04 p.m.

FWIW, it isn't legal here, but I lane split (or "filter") on my bicycle all the time. Id rather try and race the first car through the intersection than go through with traffic doing 20 or 30mph faster than me.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy PowerDork
8/22/15 5:53 p.m.

I've spent a lot of time in LA and I think those chaps are nuts to split lanes. It also scares the crap,out me if I am crawling and they fly by.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
8/22/15 6:23 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: why do people on 2 wheels get special privileges that people in 4 wheels don't? y'all can wait in line like everyone else..

Well, lets see. They use way less gas, take up about 1/4 the room on the road, take almost no parking space, pose almost no collision danger to cars (OP exception noted), and do this at a potentially much higher personal risk.

So, is there a reason they should?

BTW - I don't split to the front (not a super fast bike is part of the reason), but I don't ride on busy streets much. I did once stop at the front, and pull to the left to let cars turn right. A lady pulled up to my right, but did not turn... she raced through the intersection when the light turned! Needles to say, I was a wee bit pissed off about that!

HiTempguy
HiTempguy PowerDork
8/22/15 6:29 p.m.
ProDarwin wrote: FWIW, it isn't legal here, but I lane split (or "filter") on my bicycle all the time. Id rather try and race the first car through the intersection than go through with traffic doing 20 or 30mph faster than me.

You're the shiny happy person that backs up traffic by doing this? Awesome. "I'm just going to get my slow ass to the front of the line and then peddle at 30km/h in the 50 zone, sorry everyone, sucks to suck!"

Hal
Hal SuperDork
8/22/15 6:34 p.m.

I had an encounter with a lane splitter on US 1 South in Virginia last Saturday while I was stuck in a traffic jam. I think he was legal because of all the lights and the siren on the bike.

But he surprised me, I heard the siren and was looking for a car coming down the shoulder of the road so I could move closer to the center (I was in right lane of two) to let him by. Then I happened to catch the lights (about two cars back) in the drivers side mirror.

pkingham
pkingham GRM+ Memberand New Reader
8/22/15 6:43 p.m.

For those who don't do it, lane splitting seems crazy. In California where it is 'legal' it's surprisingly reasonable. The big issue for s speed differential.

California law does not say it's legal, nor does it specify any legal speed. It merely doesn't say it's illegal (as all other states do), so the reality is that ticket able speed is very subjective. I have had police motorcycles push me way faster than I wanted to go, so my impression is that the speeds can be much higher than I'm comfortable with.

In my experience, it is quite reasonable to split lanes 10-15 mph higher than traffic while that traffic is moving slowly. A car can't do anything that quickly when it isn't moving quickly.

However it is quite normal in LA to see bikes doing 70 between cars doing 50, and to me that is nuts.

Toebra
Toebra Reader
8/22/15 7:08 p.m.

This was in Sacramento.

Sacramento Traffic Map

Camera is facing N on Business 80, which goes roughly N to S and is sort of an extension of 99. On the E St camera, between the H St and 16th St labels, next to the Hwy 50 emblem, center right. Just hover your cursor over it and it gives you a new picture every minute or so, you can see an on ramp on the R side of the freeway, we stopped where the shoulder on the L goes away from the lanes on the R. It is right were it goes from 4 lanes to 3, with on ramps at J St and E St where it does that. He hit me right about where the on ramp merges.

If you are a hacker and can get the traffic cam stuff, you probably could get a picture of it. Oh yeah, the CD player(yes, I still listen to CDs) works fine, radio not so much, AM or FM, lots of static. The antenna is at the L rear corner of the car, just out of frame in the pics

I figure he saw me looking around, or maybe never saw me, car behind me was some boxy thing, like a Ford Flex, my car is rather diminutive, and the same color as the horizon on a paved road. Rear foot peg was out, he tried to go left, back wheel came out because he was too hot, peg hits rear quarter hard enough to buckle it he bounces off the mirror, just hard enough to knock him straight and he does a stoppie, takes a moment to unpucker his bung hole, eases onto the shoulder. I could see pretty far when I poked my head out and looked back, he had to be going pretty fast for me not to have seen him. How much would hitting the car slow him down? I guess you would have to know how fast he was going and how square he hit me to know that, ugh, too much math. I bet the witness was one of the people he scared as he shot that 1-2 gap. I wonder how many people drove by seeing that guy standing on the shoulder, surprised the guy was standing next to a little convertible, instead of laying under a truck.

novaderrik
novaderrik UltimaDork
8/22/15 7:33 p.m.
aircooled wrote:
novaderrik wrote: why do people on 2 wheels get special privileges that people in 4 wheels don't? y'all can wait in line like everyone else..
Well, lets see. They use way less gas, take up about 1/4 the room on the road, take almost no parking space, pose almost no collision danger to cars (OP exception noted), and do this at a potentially much higher persona; risk. So, is there a reason they should? BTW - I don't split to the front (not a super fast bike is part of the reason), but I don't ride on busy streets much. I did once stop at the front, and pull to the left to let cars turn right. A lady pulled up to my right, but did not turn... she raced through the intersection when the light turned! Needles to say, I was a wee bit pissed off about that!

so if i was to drive a Geo Metro it would be perfectly acceptable for me to wedge it in between people because i'm using less gas and taking up less space than everyone else while putting myself at greater risk of personal injury?

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro PowerDork
8/22/15 7:37 p.m.

It's actually safer for a tiny little motorcycle to be in between two larger vehicles at the light.

You can't get hit from behind by a texting supermom and you leave the intersection ahead of everyone else.

Type Q
Type Q Dork
8/22/15 8:24 p.m.

Living in California, I have gotten used to it. It just one more thing to be aware of. Traffic is bad enough that I don't begrudge anyone for doing it. I have heard the argument that lane splitters are effectively adding another lane.

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Reader
8/22/15 8:57 p.m.

It's not just the asphalt grey Mazdaspeeds. Someone backed into my Velocity Red Mazdaspeed in a parking garage recently. I'm shocked the motorcycle didn't go down after leaving that much of a crease in the rear quarter. I ride, and I'd never split lanes. There are too many idiots that can't keep it between the lines here in NoVa.

If it helps, I have a stock 2004 Mazdaspeed wheel in nearly perfect shape. It's yours for $50 + shipping.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
8/22/15 9:26 p.m.
HiTempguy wrote:
ProDarwin wrote: FWIW, it isn't legal here, but I lane split (or "filter") on my bicycle all the time. Id rather try and race the first car through the intersection than go through with traffic doing 20 or 30mph faster than me.
You're the shiny happy person that backs up traffic by doing this? Awesome. "I'm just going to get my slow ass to the front of the line and then peddle at 30km/h in the 50 zone, sorry everyone, sucks to suck!"

Agreed. I stopped doing this a couple of years ago except when I know the shoulder on the other side is wide enough that cars can pass me without concern. Otherwise, I wait in line like everyone else. Whether I'm 50' farther ahead is not relevant to my ride, but I would rather not have to make cars/drivers pass me twice.

The first time I drove in traffic in Silicon Valley, the first lane-splitter I encountered scare the crap out of me. Right up there with the organ-donors who rip through traffic on I-95 at 100+...

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
8/22/15 11:27 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: ....so if i was to drive a Geo Metro it would be perfectly acceptable for me to wedge it in between people because i'm using less gas and taking up less space than everyone else while putting myself at greater risk of personal injury?

There are almost no circumstances where that would be possible with a Metro. Very very common with a bike. It would be legal in CA by the way I think (no restriction on how many vehicles in a lane I believe). You may get to the head of the line in you mythical Metro, but it is highly unlikely you can jump across the intersection faster (most bikes are way way faster then cars, if they aren't they really shouldn't be doing it), that would make you a bit of an a-hole. A Metro might be relatively unsafe compared to many other cars, but is it no wear near as unsafe as a bike.

Nice try though.

I honestly don't see your issue though. If a bike pulls up next to you in a line of cars. Why do you care? It's not inconveniencing you. He is safely able to do it. Why should he wait in line if there is no reason to do it? He is realistically helping you by reducing traffic (taking up less space). If you don't want to allow it out of respect for what he is doing, how about because it has no affect on you?

So, what exactly is the issue here?

BTW - what you describe is exactly what that lady did to me. She had no idea how fast my bike was, and if I had jumped out quick, and the car in the left lane had done the same, I would have been sandwiched between two cars with less then a foot on each side, not cool (fortunately the car to the left did a normal acceleration). If a bike pulls between two GTR's that are in a hurry, yes, he's probably being an a-hole, but that would be very uncommon.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
8/22/15 11:59 p.m.

Woah! That's a big assed dent. Way worse than I expected.

yamaha
yamaha MegaDork
8/23/15 1:14 a.m.

In reply to aircooled:

Nova has been sounding more and more like he is cut from the same cloth as the guy in TX that ended up in witness protection for saying he'd hit motorcycles for "Not looking out for him"

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