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Lanes are wide in Arizona, and yet splitting is so unexpected I only do it at stoplights when traffic is heavy. And even then I "burp" it along at 5mph because people are shocked enough to actually look up from texting on their phones when i go past. Both Blue Hairs and GenZ would have a heart attack if I did it at 40mph!
 

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It is a dangerous practice and requires a lot of concentration. Over the years I have seen some grim accidents where drivers have changed lanes, opened doors, pulled out from side roads, thrown things from windows etc. Let's be careful out there!
 

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It is a dangerous practice
And here's the crux. It's not a dangerous practice, it's a practice with hazards.
But riding a bike is a practice with hazards.

One of them is the danger of death or great bodily harm of getting rear-ended by a car in heavy traffic with significant and repeated changes in speeds.

Splitting/Filtering has hazards, but the hazards have lower risks. Collision risks are sideswipes, as opposed to getting rear ended by a car with a much greater difference in speed.
One can argue that the likelihood of a accident is higher, and that may be correct, but the probability of death or great bodily harm is lower.

In some ways, it's like the concept of traffic circles. The rate of accidents is slightly higher than 4-way intersections, but the design of traffic circles changes accidents to sideswipes rather than straight-on side impact collisions.
That reduces the severity of accidents and almost eliminates fatal crashes in exchange for a slightly higher rate of property-damage or minor-injury crashes.

I see lane filtering/splitting similarly. Exchanging one hazard with lower probability but catastrophic consequences for another hazard with higher probability but significantly lower consequences.
 

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I grew up in LA but never rode there. Went back about a year ago on a bike and it was my first time lane splitting. So though I had grown up around it and knew to expect it from bikes, I had never practiced it and was not sure I would. I have to say it was great. Done with some prudence and sense it made me feel so much safer in certain situations. It is like anything on a bike, manage your risk as best you can.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Have lane split for decades across Cali and SE Asia traffic jambs. Still do. But I will say that its getting riskier in the US at least, as quality of cager driving goes down, idiocy up, distraction up, pot smoking driving waaay up, and frustration up with the traffic density.

Bay Area splitting is now more like LA splitting was ten years ago - more dicey. shitty roads. Somnambulant drivers are always the norm. and there's the usual phone/dash/radio diddlers. But more serious issues I see commonly now are cars completely filled with pot smoke, and worst of all is the tweaker driving - instant, unsignalled lane changes into very small slots, some multi-lane maneuvers ala GTA across three or more lanes. Purposefully aggressive zig-zagging through very tight-packed rolling grids.

Still, these idiots are somewhat contained in the grid, and tend to continuously telegraph their stupidity.. so you can pick them out as you approach. And yes.. you CAN visually profile them. Don't shy from admitting it - it's for your safety. My strategy: Beware small, cheap, beater cars that look like they were in a war, unrepaired damage, never washed, stupid driver seating position, lane control issues. Beware, and roll past them when there is zero gap for them to roll over you to take. and hey, if nothing bad happens, be pleasantly surprised.. life in the 21st Century.
 

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Lanes are wide in Arizona, and yet splitting is so unexpected I only do it at stoplights when traffic is heavy. And even then I "burp" it along at 5mph because people are shocked enough to actually look up from texting on their phones when i go past. Both Blue Hairs and GenZ would have a heart attack if I did it at 40mph!
Interesting - I'm in AZ part-time. Do you filter to the head of stopped traffic lines at stoplights in AZ? Any altercations with the police or local rednecks in trucks? I've done it a few times. Definitely not in rolling traffic, though, since they're not used to it and I can only guess the police wouldn't tolerate it.
 

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I’d only ever consider doing it in a full stopped situation. Even then I’d take the first way out of the mess.
 

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Fantastic news! There have been many attempts in many states (and a couple provinces) over the last few years to legalize lane splitting/sharing. Now that Utah has joined the ranks of the 'enlightened' :grin2: perhaps other jurisdictions will be more likely to follow suit.


I spend a lot of riding time in California, and have spent time riding in Europe. Lane splitting makes riding in urban areas soooo much more enjoyable. At home I'm constantly muttering to myself when stopped in traffic with a wide gap between cars yet I have to sit...


All that being said, I hope Utah does whatever it can to educate drivers that the law has changed!


RobertVP
Californian's should be grateful the state was progressive enough to look at this issue with some major common sense. Even when I was a motor cop in the 70s I knew lane splitting was technically illegal, but the prevailing opinion from an enforcement standpoint was to leave it alone unless the rider was driving like an asshole. I wasn't a hypocrite because I lane split back then on my private bike and I split all the time on my police bike, after all, that was one of the reasons behind putting cops on bikes was to help them get through congested roadways faster than a car could responding to calls.

Now that the maneuver is legal here, I don't know why it took so long, but at least it is now the law under reasonable conditions. It's great Utah did something, maybe they will allow it to happen on their freeways after a test period on the surface streets and as RobertVP said, maybe this will be a momentum starter for other states to follow suit. No doubt the riders there would agree. I've said a number of times in the past that if they ever made land splitting illegal, that would be the time I hang up my keys.

I now have a Honda Goldwing for touring and I have yet to do any serious lane splitting on it, the damn thing is so wide compared to my 999R. I'll just have to pick my spots where it's safe to do so. I just hope the Utah thing goes off well, what they don't need is some lowlife to put himself on the front page by abusing the privilege and thus giving the naysayers the propaganda they need to launch an anti-lane splitting campaign. Typical human stereotyping if this would occur. As if the killer of 99% of people, car drivers, were innocent of all charges.

I used to have a Harley Road King, sold it after a trip to Death Valley and back last year, it was not a touring bike, plus it blew another chain case gasket (the third one) and developed a slow leak. I remember when I bought it in 2010, took delivery at the dealership and got on the freeway for the ride home. It was during commute hour with bumper to bumper traffic, besides that it was hotter than hell out. I did some cautious splitting just to give myself and the bike some relief. It wasn't enough because the bike went into failsafe mode and was running on one cylinder. I had to pull over for a spell and let the thing cool down, it happened one more time before things opened up just enough to keep the bike from stalling. Love those air-cooled motors, not.
 

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I now have a Honda Goldwing for touring and I have yet to do any serious lane splitting on it, the damn thing is so wide compared to my 999R. I'll just have to pick my spots where it's safe to do so...

I used to have a Harley Road King, sold it after a trip to Death Valley and back last year, it was not a touring bike, plus it blew another chain case gasket (the third one) and developed a slow leak. I remember when I bought it in 2010, took delivery at the dealership and got on the freeway for the ride home. It was during commute hour with bumper to bumper traffic, besides that it was hotter than hell out. I did some cautious splitting just to give myself and the bike some relief. It wasn't enough because the bike went into failsafe mode and was running on one cylinder. I had to pull over for a spell and let the thing cool down, it happened one more time before things opened up just enough to keep the bike from stalling. Love those air-cooled motors, not.
A month ago, my wife and I were touring 5 days/1500 miles thru the AZ, CA, NV deserts on my air/oil-cooled '03 BMW R1150RT - fabulously comfy and damn nimble for a full tourer. OK, mine has Ohlins front and rear and the bike is damn light for its class and a very low center of gravity. But.. one day we came up on many miles of completely stopped traffic on I-10 east of Palm Springs. They had I-10..down to ONE LANE!!! OK, SO.. With hard bags, a trunk, and a passenger, we were fully loaded. Easily a 600 lb bike, 5 gallons of gas, 150 lb me, 75lbs of gear, and a 98 lb cute lil wifey.. But the bike, like most tourers, is about as wide as its handlebars, so an experienced splitter can gauge whether they can split on through. So we slowly rolled on thru between the hundreds of side-by-side 18-wheelers that created a fairly consistent shady canyon. Truly notable how much truck traffic rolls on that road, but it was doubly noted how much of our splitting was in full shade!

Takeaway was that a full tourer in the right hands can split dang near as well as a standard naked bike - not to say as easily as a Superbike with clip-ons, of course.
 

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Grew up lane splitting in LA and other parts of Cali. Now in Japan where it is legal to a point. I have done long lane splits in morning rush hour traffic on the expressways and have had some close calls, but that is to be expected with the lengths traveled and the folks eager to get to work. However, as mentioned above, is it a valuable asset to train yourself to anticipate an errant driver and to thank those who move over to let you by. Japan does not have many junkers on the road, most damage being fixed fairly rapidly and most cars taken care of (helps to have a comprehensive safety inspection every 2 or 3 years!), so main focus is on the drivers and trying to figure out if they are a numbskull or not. As for 40 mph or so, yeah, have done that at even greater speeds, but it requires a bit more stress and anticipation. As also noted above, riding with both panniers is a bit trickier, especially on narrower Japanese roads, it becomes second nature once you figure out they don't extend out beyond the handlebars. More states should allow it as it helps to relieve traffic congestion to a certain extent, despite the idiot riders out there.
 

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Grew up lane splitting in LA and other parts of Cali. Now in Japan where it is legal to a point. ..As also noted above, riding with both panniers is a bit trickier, especially on narrower Japanese roads, it becomes second nature once you figure out they don't extend out beyond the handlebars. ...
EXACTLY! man up, boys.. lane splittin's fun.>:)
 

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Here in the UK if you don't lane split (or "filter") during your test you'll fail for not having enough confidence. It happened to someone in my class.

I've been lane splitting in London every day for the almost 19 years we've lived here. Over that time I've had two drivers suddenly turn without signalling and contact was made. Whenever I'm on a loud bike people are more apt to move over to let me by; I feel safer.

There are "Think Bike" safety campaigns in the press and drivers are fairly bike aware, which helps. In the north of England, where the love of bikes is stronger despite crap weather, drivers seem to keep one eye on the rear view mirror and move over consistently. I notice the couriers on bikes held together with tape and wire always wave thanks while the white-boots brigade on the latest bikes don't. They should!
I remember renting bikes in the UK and being shocked when cars pulled up alongside me in my lane! It took me awhile to understand that they were used to bikes lane splitting. Every one was very aware and cautious, just a very different norm.
 

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Commuted every day on I-80 to and from work on my ST4, Monster, and 916. The best bike was the 916 because it was so narrow. I could really tuck in tight when cars were close. The legality of it here in Calif. was one of the reasons I took the bike every day, plus I just liked riding them. One day I got behind a CHP (Patrol officer on his Beemer). He never slowed down and just split right through everyone. Because he was a cop, it was like Moses parting the Red Sea! Everyone moved over and gave us room. Splitting lanes is so convenient and what a time saver.
 

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Great responses to this thread about lane splitting experiences. Europe as a whole doesn't have a hard on for bikes like many folks here do. I think a major key to defensive riding while splitting is to check if the cars you will be overtaking are next to each other in their respective lanes. I've seen too many riders splitting too fast past cars that did not have a car next to them.
 

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I love the concept, and the practice. We're small, and can fit thru the gaps, keeps traffic(okay, just us) moving along. Yes, it can be tricky with road conditions, distracted drivers etc. If its legal(ish), and you feel confident/comfortable doing it, then do it.

Some people I ride with love it, a few won't try.

Its fantastic to glide through traffic jams in GW or Obon (infamously busy Japanese holidaze) and get where I'm going in a reasonable amount of time without feeling traffic exhaustion.


As others have stated; be careful, but riding a bike, being careful is normal.
 

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In California or the EU I split like a gymnast.

I was a bit nervous the first time I did it but I followed some other riders for a while and got the hang of it pretty quickly. Touring with luggage (on the Multi) I was pretty slow to pass because of worrying about clearance but even going slow it still saves a LOT of time.
 

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Great responses to this thread about lane splitting experiences. Europe as a whole doesn't have a hard on for bikes like many folks here do. I think a major key to defensive riding while splitting is to check if the cars you will be overtaking are next to each other in their respective lanes. I've seen too many riders splitting too fast past cars that did not have a car next to them.
My Aunt (lives in San Diego and rode there for decades) gave me the best tip for splitting... look at people's rear view mirror's - if they're staring at you in their mirror then BE CAREFUL. Those are the asshats that open doors or swerve. More for the US than Europe (where I've never seen anyone react negatively to splitting).
 

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Good point about reading the driver's head movement and body language. Whether coming up to lane split or other situations like some dip shit parked on the curb and decides to make a u turn in front of you. They usually transmit what they are going to do, but as we all know, sometimes they don't. But, it's another defensive driving tool to use.
 

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The other helpful tip is look at the front tires. Especially if the car isn't moving, the front tires will move to point in the direction they want to go before the car moves.

It's an immense benefit to bikers, and a small benefit to drivers. There are no actual losers. Education can help people grasp that. It's legal and accepted practice in most of the world; only in America (land of the free) are people too jealous and busybody-ish to allow it.

Warning: anecdotal evidence! I split lanes daily in SoCal for 25 years when I lived there -- over 40K miles of split lanes. Once a month or so, someone would try to edge over to slow me down. I *never* had anyone intentionally try to hit me or open their door on me for lanesplitting. Conversely, I saw quite a few nasty accidents from cars rear-ending a bike that was *not* lanesplitting.

For quite a few years, I had a "Thank You" sign on the back of my helmet, so people would see it when I passed, and I would specifically point to it as I passed if someone gave me extra room, or was otherwise courteous in traffic. I don't know if it really helped anything, but I thought it was a nice idea. And maybe that attitude of being thankful and polite had something to do with my positive results.

Studies have consistently shown lanesplitting to be a safety increase, if done according to a reasonable set of rules. I'm in favor of implementing it everywhere.

PhilB
 
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