Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
2016 Vulcan S 650 ABS
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I live in sunny Northern California (SF Bay Area) where the weather is great, but the traffic could be killer. I am working up my confidence riding out on our interstates/freeways; been riding less than 6 months. Lane splitting is acceptable out here and I see it all the time. I lane split during peak traffic times, but am wondering a few things.

1) how long before you started splitting lanes? Maybe it's too soon for me...

2) how fast should I be going as I do split lanes?

3) any good rules of thumb out there? Straightaways only, hazards flashing, etc...

Just curious what yalls thoughts are. Ride safe!
 

·
Premium Member, BOTM Winner, June 2016
Joined
·
639 Posts
I'd be very hesitant to split lanes being a newer rider. It would feel like going down a narrow gauntlet where somebody with a piss-poor attitude could throw open a door for no other reason than to prevent you from getting an edge in traffic and then saying, 'Golly officer....I was just going to poor out the rest of my organic coffee on the ground and that guy just about took my arm off'.

I still weave a little when I come to a slow stop at an intersection keeping balance even when dragging brake and riding clutch, so I would kinda doubt my ability to keep it together slicing between 4,000 pound cars for very long before I got twitchy and leaned into one =)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
CHP has put out some "guidelines" for lane splitting but there are no specific regulations. Things like not traveling more than 15 mph over the surrounding cars, which lanes to split in when in a multi-lane highway situation, etc. I see it ALL the time here in Los Angeles. And there have actually been studies to show its safer to do so (less risk of being rear-ended for example). That being said, I'm just not up to it yet comfort-wise. I'm still too new of a rider. But I'll get there eventually. :)

Here's a good recent article on it if you're interested.
Motorcycle lane splitting is now legal in California - RevZilla
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Its why the FD and Ambulance squads are always on duty. I have seen it go wrong, very wrong and I have seen some extremely close calls. Personally, I wouldn't do it under any circumstance. One last comment,,,don't forget about the road ragers being smart asses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
738 Posts
Yep it ok in Cali - I WOULD NEVER split lanes.

So dangerous and any dumb ass can upset your day with a arm,bat out the window or a door opened on to your face!!!!!!!
No thanks, none for me, and we cant do it here.
 

·
Registered
2016 Vulcan S 650 ABS
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Its why the FD and Ambulance squads are always on duty. I have seen it go wrong, very wrong and I have seen some extremely close calls. Personally, I wouldn't do it under any circumstance. One last comment,,,don't forget about the road ragers being smart asses.
So on my commute this morning, I was riding though a pretty congested highway. I was following a Ducati (prob 35 meters back going about 30-40mph) when a cross over SUV merged into the Ducati. The other rider banged his leg up pretty good, but he and his bike survived. Ruined my day though. Definitely had me on a more heightened level of focus the rest of my ride to work and home. I tell you what though... Sure am glad I went with the ABS. Ended up needing it today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,494 Posts
Yep it ok in Cali - I WOULD NEVER split lanes.

So dangerous and any dumb ass can upset your day with a arm,bat out the window or a door opened on to your face!!!!!!!
No thanks, none for me, and we cant do it here.
Lived in La county for a long time,Rode a Enduro Everywhere,split lanes all the time,Had plenty of close calls and 1 or 2 mirrors hit,
Thinking About it,,,,,Was one of the most Dumbest things I ever did
Could of been on,1000 ways to die,Ride safe:grin2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
I'll never lane-split.
Never.

No point in it,
not worth the risk,
too big a chance of somebody with a bad attitude turning a fender into you or opening a door,
and
it creates more bad-will with the cagers than it earns us riders anything good.

Just for a point of reference;
I have never broken a limb, nor have I ever worn a cast.

And I don't live a quiet, sedate life.
I fly helicopters, and have done so in combat.
I have surfed the North Shore.
I have raced motocross and TT, and ridden motorcycles since 1972.

Lane-splitting.
Not in my vocabulary.

No knock against those of you who enjoy the practice of it, but I will find a religious relative, (just to get a refresher-course in prayer) and we will pray for you.
:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
My honest opinion is; if you are asking the question, you probably aren't ready to split lanes. When I lived in Cali, I started splitting lanes within a month. I've been riding since I was a kid though, so I have some background. You shouldn't go more than 10 over the speed of traffic, and not at all if traffic is above 30. That was my rule. I am sure that the CHP will get some rules on the books.

As for the comment about opening doors, you don't get that in Cali. It's been accepted since the 70s, and the residents of Cali are used to it. When I was out there this summer, there was an accident that had traffic backed up by about 3 hours. My buddies and I split traffic. Every single Cali plated vehicle spread off the line to give us room, and every single jack ass that was plated from out of state crowded the line. This was right on the NV/CA border. The farther you get into CA, the less you have to deal with it. I really wish it was legal everywhere. Traffic is better for everyone, when motorcycles aren't stuck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Some of the research that's been done suggests lane splitting in heavy traffic is actually safer than sitting in traffic. Two important caveats though;

1) Lane splitting when traffic is moving adds risk, doesn't take away risk. It's reckless and unnecessary.

2) There should only be a small differential in speed between you and traffic. If traffic is stopped and you're filtering up; then you should be moving slowly. Watching for doors about to open, or people jockeying for lane position. Be prepared for traffic to dart from one lane to the next.

Heavy traffic can be a risky time for motorcyclists (why not find some nice curvy backroad instead of the interstate anyway?). The risk of being rear-ended by an inattentive rider is definitely a reality. That's where lane filtering can be useful.

Me personally? I've never done it and will never do it. My bike is too wide anyway, and I think there are better ways to avoid a rear end collision (being attentive and having an 'escape plan' for one). But it IS worth noting that filtering in STOPPED TRAFFIC (red lights, traffic jams, etc.) reduces rear-end collisions without a coinciding increase in other types of crashes. Lane splitting in moving traffic as a way to pass traffic is just reckless. Both are legal (in CA); but they are entirely different things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
If you feel at all hesitant about it, then don't do it. Rule number 1 is ride within your comfort level.

That said, I lane split very very occasionally. If traffic is stopped or going under 10, I will split. Anything between 10 and 25, I will hop onto the backs of cars and do more of a weave through. It really depends on the road and everything too though. There is a lot that could go wrong, so you must be ultra alert.

Anything near or over 30 mph and I will take my place in the line and putt along with the cars. Splitting over that speed is nonsensical and dangerous.

Just be careful out there and don't overdo it to save a couple minutes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
546 Posts
Here in Los Angeles radio traffic reports, you hear motorcycle down on the carpool lane just about every day , a few weeks ago a motor officer went down when splitting lanes on his way to work
its a risk riders take but the ego is to big to admit it


ride safe
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
671 Posts
I did it when I was stuck on the freeway between San Jose and Oakland on a Friday at about 4 PM. But I waited for another bike to come by, a big old Goldwing, and I just fell in behind him about a car length or two. After about 6 miles I still wasn't comfortable doing it so I made my way over to the carpool lane and used it instead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
738 Posts
I guess its just to bad you live in a place where too many people are together!!

Here in Gods country, we have a few people, but not nearly as bad a traffic jams as you Cali folks have.

Just glad I can visit and not have it every day!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
61 Posts
Lane split...only as last resort

We don't live in CA but have made several trips through. We have a Voyager and in about a dozen trips I have lane split only twice. Once in LA (sunny and about 92) and once just this last trip on the PCH through SF (sunny and about 78)

Both times traffic was at a crawl and had only moved about 100 yards in about 20 minutes. Rather than risk us getting heat stroke sitting on a hot bike going nowhere surrounded by hot traffic on a hot day, I started splitting lanes. In the case of LA, I got past the snarl in about 10 minutes. In SF it took about 15 minutes. In both cases I think it would have taken an hour or more going with the flow.

Having said that...Lane splitting through essentially stopped traffic was still one of the most nerve wracking, mentally and physically exhausting things I have done on the bike. Especially as wide as the Voyager is.

I would not recommend it as a usual thing, but in our case it was a blessing to be able to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,203 Posts
I think the state of California made a mistake to allow lane splitting, it's not safe to ride just inches between 2 vehicles, what if someone opens their door? lane splitting is a very bad idea
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
There was no "mistake" made in that no explicit permission was given. No legislator or executive said down and said "motorcyclists can lane split now".

You do not need a law to permit you to do something. It's simply that there's no state law in California banning filtering/lane splitting.

It's actually safer, believe it or not. In the appropriate context. It's very dangerous in moving traffic but in California and in other parts of the world; motorcyclists can filter up ahead of traffic that's stopped. Whether backed up interstate traffic or just a red light. It reduces traffic congestion. And even though people changing lanes or opening doors (because they want you to suffer like everyone else) does happen and cause accidents; the risk of that is lower than the risk of being rear ended in stopped or slow moving traffic.

It's not for me, I'll admit. But the data is there.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top