I consider myself very lucky to live in a state where we embrace the art of lane splitting. Hell, we even have a pizza chain named after it.
I personally partake in it when safe to do so, and I’ve personally seen both the bright and dark side of it. In high traffic situations, it’s a huge perk to be on a motorcycle. Okay, yes, we are decreasing traffic, but it really feels more like a “get out of jail free” card when we’re driving. When done at reasonable speeds and full awareness, it feels almost completely safe and puts us into control.
The flip side of this argument, particularly in our traffic-ridden and frustrated city of San Francisco, is we are targeted by drivers. In my car, I keep an eye out for motorcycles and give them as much room as I safely can so they can pass, but this is not a typical sentiment amongst others on the road. I’ve had to break hard when a car swerves into my path so I can’t easily pass, or because they’ve tried to change lanes without signaling to get ahead. Slow and steady, folks.
RideApart, which is a project by Hell for Leather, takes a look at lane splitting and breaks down the benefits while providing some basic tips. There are some good points here and is a solid beginning to make the case for other states in the Union to allow for it.
Here are some highlights from the video:
- Lane splitting allows us to control our environment
- Let things go! Angry driver making your day difficult? Respond with kindness and let it go. Remember this one, kids.
- Cover your brakes so you’re not reaching for them (two fingers should do)
- Paint has less traction — and you know what lines are made of right?
- Stop within the car’s field of vision. This is imperative. Cars are not paying attention and will make rash decisions without realizing you’re there. This really is the case whether or not you are lane splitting. Also, refer back to point #2.
- Watch driver’s blind spots. They have big ones and you should try not to be in them.
- To add one in of my own: Don’t lane split if you’re a nervous nelly. You have to commit to it. Take your time and build your confidence.