Lane-splitting, is this allowed?

mtnbiker1185

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Filtering at a light is a no-brainer.
#1 cause of MC fatalities in an urban environment...right of way (usually left turns into path of MC).
#1 injury causing collision in urban environment...rear-ender.
Still baffles me to see this "right" (Ca) not practiced by folks in hideous surface street traffic. Lane splitting at speed spooks some folks. Totally get it. But filtering has proven (in several studies) to decrease injury and risk for riders. Ignorance within state legislations is the primary reason for not allowing this practice ("We gotta save lives of riders who don't know as much as we who don't ride..."). I filter wherever I ride. F-it, I'll take the citation. Just the price of riding. Distracted minivan driver or texting teen plowing into my ass? Not if I can help it.
I have never actually heard of anyone getting ticketed for filtering through traffic when it was stopped, as long as they were not being a-holes about it. Have even talked to people who have done it in front of cops where it is illegal. I think most actually intelligent people understand it helps cut down on traffic congestion and is safer.
 

TheIronWarrior

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If I recall correctly, it's not often written in a way that states "lane splitting an filtering is an offence," but usually there are rules saying you have to be completely within your lane except when fully changing lanes (no riding on the line between lanes) and no sharing the lane. Indirectly, that means you can only pass a car fully in the other lane, which eliminates filtering and splitting by extension. There also tend to be some hazy references to "safe distance" when passing. I remember a while ago someone trying to convince me that "it doesn't say NO LANE SPLITTING so it's not illegal." They were not all that bright...
 

AVG1940

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California law stated;
"Automobiles SHAL not share lane space..."
"Motorcycles SHOULD never share lane space..."
Huge difference when it comes to getting spanked.
Watch any two CHP motors ride together. It is side by side. They don't do it cause it's way cool (although it's freak'n ballet to watch). It's done because training and millions of miles of compiled data shows it is the safest way to operate for well trained law enforcement. Recommendations by the CHP have been put in place lately regarding "lane splitting". However, "filtering" is a different animal. It can be practiced by even novice riders safely. It negates getting plowed from behind, shortens multiple light change waits for everyone, and puts the MC up front to be seen (not being hidden behind vehicles to their front). All in all, it is safer than slotting in with 4 wheelers, on a greasy, hot roadway, hidden from oncoming traffic. If ego's would just go away ("this a-hole is not getting by me"), this would be a practice which EVERY state could likely agree would be a benefit. This is where Motorcyclists should concentrate their efforts in legislation if we want to see change. Perhaps the rest will come later.
 

astroman

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Interesting thread! Here in Japan, lane splitting and filtering is legal. My understanding regarding lane splitting is that as long as traffic isn't moving too fast, and you're not moving much faster than traffic, it's okay. Filtering when traffic is stopped at lights is really common as well. Probably because there are so many little scooters on the road.

Car drivers seem to be used to it, which still surprises me. In any case, you rarely hear anyone use their horns, and from what I've seen so far, the level of road rage and aggressive driving is lower than back home in the U.S. I've accidentally tapped my horn once or twice while reaching for the hazards (to thank someone for letting me merge, which is how it's done here), then suddenly realized that was the first horn I'd heard all day. A little embarrassing to be the one and only jagoff honking your horn!

However, I do see many bikers splitting lanes when traffic is at or near full speed. I'm not sure if anyone ever gets cited for that. I don't see many police out and about.

I usually have my saddlebags attached, which reduces my temptation to split lanes on these relatively narrow roads. The thought of knocking someone's mirror off, then having to discuss it by the side of the road in my broken Japanese with the angry cager AND a cop has been a pretty effective deterrent so far. :oops:

I've also noticed that rear cases/riders wearing backpacks are the norm here, saddlebags seem to be the exception—probably for that same reason, tight spaces!
 

Randy99CL

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There is a 20-something female biker in the UK who posts interesting videos and she once recorded a 23 minute commute into Manchester. She is an expert rider (has done many track days and owns an MT-09) and it is legal to lane-split over there.
I swear I almost had a heart attack just watching that video!! She is fearless!
How can you trust those drivers to do what you expect them to at that speed???

One thing is that she must pass 1000 cars and almost never has to stop even though traffic is heavy and slow. I bet a car would have taken at least 2 or 3 times as long.

She was testing a GSXR-125 and decided to ride it to work.
 
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the Ferret

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Of course not legal in Ohio and not necessary in the part of Ohio I live in, but I rode out to California in 2014 and did indeed get stuck in bumper to bumper freeway traffic on a Friday afternoon just south of San Francisco. Knowing lane splitting was tolerated, I considered it, but looked at the space available between the cars and watched cars switch lanes quickly on a 45 degree angle whenever a gap opened up in the lane next to them, I decided to just stay in my lane and follow the traffic. I have had several forum members from California knocked off their bikes while lane splitting there, yet they continue to do so.

I am not brave enough to lane split. Made it riding 56 years without it and at a soon to be 71, guess I can avoid it the rest of my life without major inconvenience.
 
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