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Discussion Starter #1
I don't know the rules in other states and countries, but splitting lanes/traffic is legal in California.

What are peoples thoughts on it? Always/Never/Occasional/Terrible Idea???

Being a new rider, I've kept away from doing it, but its tempting. The few things stopping me from committing is:

  1. I've seen a few close calls already, between riders and other vehicles
  2. I've come close to clipping a lane splitter while in my car due to aggressive splitters and how quickly it can happen
  3. I need to know my bike better (i.e. become a better rider)
Love to hear peoples thoughts on it.

H
 

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Hi,

I find that in most states here in the US (correct me if I'm wrong) it's illegal so I don't do it anywhere as I don't want to get caught out.

However living up until my 40's in the UK, it was perfectly legal and called 'filtering'. I recall actually seeing a cop pull over a car driver who 'annoyed with being stuck in traffic' tried to prevent a bike from filtering and was given a ticket for obstruction. Way to go that chap.

From a safety perspective I would advise strong caution, as you leave yourself open to all sorts of idiots. I would very slowly and carefully creep up to the front at traffic lights but that's about it.

So in summation; if it's legal then only do it when all traffic is at a stop and then only very slowly and carefully.

Well that's my tupence.

Cheerio,

Roy
 

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First thoughts are, if you aren’t comfortable, wait until you are. Ease into it after you are comfortable with your bike and riding. Situational awareness comes with mileage which you will gain over time. You can start to try it by advancing between cars at stop lights. Sometimes in slow moving 101 traffic, I’ll ride with my hazards on.

I’ve been riding in California for 19 years and it’s a big benefit, especially where my work locations can be all over town. The big danger isn’t the speed, but difference in speed. I rarely go too much faster than traffic, and usually let faster riders pass me. The biggest danger in LA is distracted drivers.
 

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Lifetime rider and (Bay Area) California native. Yes, I lane split but am much more cautious than past years. I lane split less and less every year due to many drivers don't like you doing it and will try to pinch you off, open doors, close gaps etc. Which will often lead to their broken mirror or caved in door panel. Oops. Then you have the lane changers without signals weaving in and out of traffic only to gain nothing. Then the distracted, cell phone users, make-up appliers, book readers perched on steering wheels, etc.


My advice? Only creep up at stop lights or if freeway is stopped. Otherwise, wait and enjoy the view of the idiots around you.



This was interacted back when all cycles were air cooled so had to keep moving or get too hot. Those days are fewer and fewer.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is great advice from you all, thank you.

You pretty much justified the way I'm going to approach it.
 

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I’m in OC as well, I lane split whenever traffic is stopped or moving slowly. I believe the actual law is lane splitting is legal at <30 mph and you can only go 10 mph above traffic. Only do what you are comfortable with, start with traffic lights. Sometimes you get caught between cars but that’s ok.
 

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The actual law in California only states that 2 vehicles can occupy 1 lane at the same time. Just like a previous post said, it’s from the air cooled era of motorcycles.

A couple of years ago, California, or the chp, (I forget which) attempted to publish guidelines suggesting <50 and no more than 10 mph difference, but the AMA fought it every step of the way.

In the end, it’s a grey area, and if you crash doing something stupid, it’s negligence. Personally, I find it the safest to be splitting lanes while following a chp motorcycle officer during my commutes.
 

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Lane splitting is just one of the advantages of riding and a huge benefit in overcrowded traffic.
But it an art that should be respected and eased into; NEVER ride much faster than the moving traffic and always expect drivers to be aggressive & angry if there is bad traffic + it’s hot. And of course don’t do it when you feel the circumstances aren’t right.

I highly recommend doing a course to gain some extra (advanced) riding techniques - especially low speed maneuvering & rear brake control (among many other things...)
That will teach you to relax and keep your eyes up and looking way ahead.
 

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I’m new to lane splitting (recently started riding in CA) but have been riding for 30yrs in other states. Lane splitting requires a lot of attention. I have a personal rule of not passing between two parallel cars over 30mph and will wait until they are staggered. Even then, I don’t swerve between the cars but will stay in between the lanes. I keep the stagger rule to ensure I have enough space to escape idiots. This means I’m one of the slowest lane splitters in the LA area and I frequently have to move over for faster splitters. At slower speeds, I relax my rule as motorcycles are more maneuverable than cars and can get out of the way. Two things I like about lane splitting is it reduces the likely of getting rear ended in traffic and keeps air moving through me in hot weather rather than cooking in traffic.
 

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One more word of advice that I see on a daily basis. The most common time I have experienced for a driver to abruptly change lanes, is when one of the lanes you are splitting between has a reasonable sized gap (2-3 cars). When this happens, even if only for a short time, I pull completely into that lane, and even to the far side of it.

Not even the double double yellow carpool lines on the 405 stop this from happening
 

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One more word of advice that I see on a daily basis. The most common time I have experienced for a driver to abruptly change lanes, is when one of the lanes you are splitting between has a reasonable sized gap (2-3 cars). When this happens, even if only for a short time, I pull completely into that lane, and even to the far side of it.

Not even the double double yellow carpool lines on the 405 stop this from happening
Filtering is illegal in Germany although the rozzers normally don't bother, if an accident happens you'll be guilty though
 

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The actual law in California only states that 2 vehicles can occupy 1 lane at the same time. Just like a previous post said, it’s from the air cooled era of motorcycles.

A couple of years ago, California, or the chp, (I forget which) attempted to publish guidelines suggesting <50 and no more than 10 mph difference, but the AMA fought it every step of the way.

In the end, it’s a grey area, and if you crash doing something stupid, it’s negligence. Personally, I find it the safest to be splitting lanes while following a chp motorcycle officer during my commutes.

Thank you for the clarification, you are absolutely correct. It was just a guideline.
 

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Loud pipes help make filtering a bit safer too.


My Bobber's not overly loud but it still gets driver's attentions when I approach.


My old Buell on the other hand - that was so loud, it was like the parting of the Red Sea whenever I was riding between lanes of traffic!
 

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definitely a good topic - especially for anyone living in california. i could probably write pages and pages on my experiences, but hopefully will try to keep this simple and short. :)

i moved to california a little over 20 years and have been lane splitting ever since. it is definitely a huge benefit for us riders, but does obviously come with risks. just be careful if you choose to do so. think the general safety guidelines for lane splitting to use is only at speeds less than 40mph, and your speed shouldn't exceed more than 15mph faster than the cars you are passing. anything that appears dangerous or reckless is grounds for you to be pulled over by the cops.

it's always been legal to do so in california for the longest time, but i remember not too long ago it has now been made "officially" legal now. (a driver can actually be cited if they intentially try to block riders from lane splitting) i feel people are more aware of the legality of lanesplitting and noticed a definite improvement over the past few years with drivers being more aware of his and actually making an effort to give us room when they see us coming through. i also think/hope they are also just thankful when they see us coming through, that - hey, that's one less car on the road among all this traffic!

i still though encounter the occasional d-bags out there that do try to intentially block me. even had somebody once stick his arm out of his window to block me. i imagined him probably saying something like, "hey, no cuts!" while doing so. there will always be people like this out there. i think either they do not know that lanesplitting is legal, and/or they are just jealous since they're stuck in traffic. oh well.

be comfortable with your bike and aware of it's dimensions, etc. is also key. i do love how on the bobber, the mirrors make great reference points. as basically they are the widest points on the stock bike and give you a good indication on your clearance.

hope i didn't ramble on too long. just be safe out there! cheers!
 

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I dunno how those of you that live in a country/state that forbid's filtering (lanesplitting) can handle it, I really dont. Been filtering since my first day riding and will continue to do so till well after the dvla gets thier sticky paws on my plastic card, fair number of close shaves, couple of 'OH S**T owowowowowowowowowwow' moments but months if not years of city traffic blasted through.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
There may be rules in California for lane splitting, but I'm always seen riders blast through slower traffic at high speeds.

Again, more great advice and insight from this site, it keeps giving ;)

I have plans for a second, intermediate riding course some time in the future, plus I may try very simple, easy splits which are no brainers; stopped traffic with huge gaps etc.
 
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