Lane Splitting in California. From Wikipedia
Is Lane Splitting Safe?
We visit our daughter regularly in San Diego. When there I wonder about the safety of “Lane Splitting” in a state were big state government bends over backward to protect us from ourselves. Sometimes this is done at the expense of just plain ol’ common sense. I could give many examples but time and space doesn’t permit.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with lane splitting (definition from Wikipedia) refers to a two-wheeled vehicle moving between lanes of vehicles that are proceeding in the same direction. More narrowly, it refers to passing stopped or slower moving traffic between lanes at a speed greater than surrounding traffic. It is also sometimes called lane sharing, white lining, filtering, or stripe-riding. Alternatively, lane splitting has been used to describe moving through traffic that is in motion while filtering is used to describe moving through traffic that is stopped.
Lane splitting by motorcycles is generally legal in Europe, and in Japan and several other countries, and is illegal in many U.S. states, but is considered lawful in California.
Lane splitting has seemed very dangerous to me. On one occasion, while driving in California, I checked my rearview mirror before changing lanes… nothing there… but just as I started the lane change a bike came zooming by splitting lanes. Where he came from I had no idea. A second sooner for me or a second later for him and we could have collided. A very close call and I’m not even sure the rider was even aware of how close we had come to a colliding.
On my last visit to California, we were in heavy traffic on I-5 with traffic moving very slowly. Lane splitters were everywhere. I thought to myself, “This is an accident waiting to happen.” I noticed a ‘couple’ zoom by us when I had thought this. A mile or two down the highway the couple was on the side of the freeway with a car… exchanging insurance information and both were on their cell phones. This was an obvious accident with no little or no damage. A short time later and several miles down the freeway, the couple passed us again.
I’m glad it was a minor accident but I wonder how many of them aren’t. I know there are two sides to every story and I haven’t heard much of the other side. So help me here. Am I wrong about lane splitting? Let’s hear from all sides.
UPDATE: Watch this about lane splitting. This is good to know…
Ride safe… and be very careful if you do lane split. I hope to see you somewhere on the road.
Posted in Miscellaneous, Riding Tips
Tagged California, collide, collision, dangerous, Europe, filtering, I-5, illegal, Japan, lane sharing, lane splitting, Motorcycle, motorcycle ride, Motorcycle Touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle trip, Motorcycles, riding, San Diego, stripe riding, U.S. States, video, white lining
From Dennis Kirk @ DennisKirk.com
This is where I and most motorcyclist would say, “Yes, …” and list many everyday endeavors that are just as or more dangerous.
I have firsthand knowledge that motorcycling is dangerous. Anyone who rides and doesn’t think so is asking for trouble and not taking safety seriously. If you are hit by something or you hit something you will most likely get hurt and if either of you are moving very fast you will get hurt badly and most likely end up in a hospital. Been there done that (April 2008). I almost stopped riding after a day and a half stay in the hospital. No broken bones just internal bleeding and I hurt like heck and was sore for many weeks. Moments after crashing I was sure I had broken ribs and who knows what else and yes my life did flash before my eyes… Been there done that before too. “Can this be the way it all ends“, I ask myself.
I did think long and hard about riding again. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it anymore. My buddies encouraged me and I did miss riding but even after I healed physically I just wasn’t too sure. One of my concerns was my wife Janet. Even if I were to ride again I didn’t want her to worry when I was out riding alone and what if Janet had been on the bike when I had the accident? I don’t know what I would have done if she had been hurt or worse… So I struggled and I think Janet knew I was struggling about my decision. Then one day Janet said to me, “Ivan if you want to ride again, it’s OK with me and I will ride with you!”. Have I told y’all how wonderful a wife Janet is… Well, that should have told you right there. So having Janet’s blessing did help but I still had to work through all the issues. Time does heal physically and mentally and I cautiously resumed my riding.
After the accident I continually went over and over and over in my mind how this happened to me. There were so many “what ifs“… any one of them could have prevented my crash. I had ridden down to visit my parents and brother 200 miles from home. The night before I was to return home I did not sleep much at all, did not leave for home until later in the day, had the sun in my eyes, I was really fatigued, I panicked and hit the brake too hard and tried to steer around the car but… Anyway it happened and it hurt badly physically and mentally.
Because of all that has happened I have re-evaluated everything, I did and thought, about riding. Now I really know what can happen to you when you do crash. I am ever mindful of my physical and mental being and others riding with me. I try to stay rested and not over do it. I make a special effort to stay hydrated. Make sure I am aware of everything in my surroundings. Statically I know that the more vehicles there are around you the more likely you are to not be seen or just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When my ride requires traveling through large unfamiliar cities I try to avoid rush hour traffic or travel around it. Of course that is not always possible and I am extra careful when I do. I enjoyed riding the remote areas before my accident and I do even more now. I can handle the bike and roads but those pesky cars, trucks or whatever… that I’m not too crazy about.
Is anyone wondering what became of the bike I wrecked? My 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad was “totaled” by the insurance company and this a year (April 2007) after customizing the Nomad to my liking. Most all the damage was cosmetic but to have a bike shop replace all the parts and with the labor the total amount was greater than what the bike was worth. I put a pencil to the cost of the parts and realized I could buy the bike from the insurance company and fix it with what I got back from the insurance company. So the old Nomad was back on the road and we have taken many long trips on it afterward.
In October 2009 I bought a new 2008 Goldwing with ABS brakes. One of the big selling points of my decision to buy the Goldwing was the ABS brakes. No more braking too hard and causing a skid. After the crash, ABS brakes was ever on my mind and was the driving force behind me getting a new bike. It is amazing the difference ABS makes when stopping quickly. I can’t say enough about the control… If only I had ABS when I crashed… maybe the accident wouldn’t have happen or maybe it would have… anyway… God only knows but I’m sure it would have helped… those seconds trying to recover from an uncontrolled skid would have been used to avoid that car… Janet has even noticed and comment how much better I handle the Wing over the Nomad and that makes her even more at ease while riding… Oh, did I mention how lucky I am to have Janet as my wife!
Well, I know many other people who have been where I have been on this issue and I just thought I’d share my thoughts and hope it will help you work your way through your healing process. Ride safe…
Posted in Riding Tips
Tagged Abs, ABS Brakes, accident, blessing, brakes, broken bones, cars, dangerous, encouraged, fatigued, Goldwing, healing, hospital, hurt, internal bleeding, mental skid, Motorcycle, motorcycle ride, Motorcycle Touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle trip, Motorcycles, motorcycling, physical, rested, safety, sun, trucks, unfamiliar cities, what ifs, wife, wing