Edmunds Answers

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  • avatar rfr 12/28/07 8:20 pm PST

    Lane splitting is riding a motorcycle in the narrow space available between two lanes of traffic. It is also called lane sharing, but rarely. It's illegal in most states in the US, but is allowed most notably in California, a state with many motorcyclists and a climate amenable to year-round riding.

    Although not expressly banned, motorcyclists who lane split in a manner considered unsafe by a law enforcement officer can be ticketed for other traffic offenses, ranging from unsafe lane changing to reckless driving.

    High-speed lane splitting, though inherently dangerous, can be done intelligently if not altogether safely. The greatest danger to the motorcyclist is unsignaled, rapid lane changing by careless drivers. Experienced lane splitters will therefore be especially alert when the lanes they are riding between are not moving at a similar speed. Another dangerous circumstance is when there is a large car-free space in one of the lanes. That space acts as a magnet for twitchy drivers.

    Smart lane splitters always limit their overtaking speed while lane splitting. No amount of skill can save a motorcyclist who consistently overtakes, in a very limited space, at a very high speed.

    Another tactic used by motorcyclists is "filtering". This is low-speed lane splitting at a stoplight. There are two reasons motorcyclists do this. One is to pass many cars at once, and although it can infuriate drivers to see a motorcyclist "get ahead" like this, it should be kept in mind that usually the motorcyclist, using the inherent acceleration advantage of a bike, will zoom away from all the stopped traffic when the light changes. So the motorcyclist has not actually "cut in front" in any meaningful way. The second reason to filter at stoplights is to avoid being rear-ended. Every motorcyclist has heard (true) horror stories of bikes being crashed into by drivers at stoplights. Filtering up to the front of the stopped traffic limits this possibility.

Answers

  • rfr 12/28/07 8:20 pm PST

    Lane splitting is riding a motorcycle in the narrow space available between two lanes of traffic. It is also called lane sharing, but rarely. It's illegal in most states in the US, but is allowed most notably in California, a state with many motorcyclists and a climate amenable to year-round riding.

    Although not expressly banned, motorcyclists who lane split in a manner considered unsafe by a law enforcement officer can be ticketed for other traffic offenses, ranging from unsafe lane changing to reckless driving.

    High-speed lane splitting, though inherently dangerous, can be done intelligently if not altogether safely. The greatest danger to the motorcyclist is unsignaled, rapid lane changing by careless drivers. Experienced lane splitters will therefore be especially alert when the lanes they are riding between are not moving at a similar speed. Another dangerous circumstance is when there is a large car-free space in one of the lanes. That space acts as a magnet for twitchy drivers.

    Smart lane splitters always limit their overtaking speed while lane splitting. No amount of skill can save a motorcyclist who consistently overtakes, in a very limited space, at a very high speed.

    Another tactic used by motorcyclists is "filtering". This is low-speed lane splitting at a stoplight. There are two reasons motorcyclists do this. One is to pass many cars at once, and although it can infuriate drivers to see a motorcyclist "get ahead" like this, it should be kept in mind that usually the motorcyclist, using the inherent acceleration advantage of a bike, will zoom away from all the stopped traffic when the light changes. So the motorcyclist has not actually "cut in front" in any meaningful way. The second reason to filter at stoplights is to avoid being rear-ended. Every motorcyclist has heard (true) horror stories of bikes being crashed into by drivers at stoplights. Filtering up to the front of the stopped traffic limits this possibility.

  • ihop23947 08/28/08 9:51 pm PST

    In some states lane splitting is perfectly legal and you won't get a ticket. Although its not the smartest thing to do.

  • fatmando 08/31/08 2:18 pm PST

    lane splitting is driving on the lane lines, rather than in between them.

    just because it's leagl in some states does not make it a smart or safe thing to do.

    it's legal to ride without a helmet in some states... must be if you crash in Idaho your skull wont explode on impact because the softer roads in that state will cusion your impact, right?

    don't be a tard. ride safe, and wear proper equipment and clothing.

    every time some idiot gets killed on his bike I get to listen to my wife try and talk me into selling mine for a month.

  • msteel 02/07/10 5:36 am PST

    In California lane-spliting is legal. There is no law that says two vehicles can't share the same lane. So if you are being safe, and the cars are polite and letting you share their lane, go for it! It beats the hell out of sitting in traffic.

  • kkear3 02/13/10 7:40 pm PST

    Don't EVER do this next to a big truck! We cannot see you, even with all the mirrors! A paramedic did this to me in NYC right in front of a hospital in Harlem. Not only is it illegal, but he would have been dead. I don't know who was scared more-me or him, but I know he had to change is shorts.

    Source: Personal experience and I asked an NYC cop.

  • mrscooby 03/18/11 2:28 pm PST

    Essential

  • bigboychukk 06/07/11 5:08 pm PST

    i'm sorry, after reading all the post i realize my idea of what it might of meant to lane split, or, what is it split lanes..was wasn't driving down the highway under the influence seeing double lanes but you're driving in the middle of them...LOL...no..but really, i agree with the rest of the guys, driving in between vehicles on a motorcycle without an helment is just not a cool thing...in fact if you ask me i'd say it's suicide...lol...no i know that wasn't the question"with out a helment", no but, legal or not, i wouldn't ride inbetween vehicles in any circumstances...wait a minute who am i kidding, i'm a daredevil!! i'd LOVE to try that!! NO,no,no, i'm joking...and if i wasn't that still doesn't make it safe....bottom line. Love you all, wish the best!...especially for that guy who asked that question, hope you're not actually thinking about doing it. don't listen to your friends, sounds like they want you to try it and they won't even tell you what it is!! Come on!!...LOL...Joking..Love ya brother... :-]

  • mowerman30542 09/09/11 10:58 pm PST

    Lane splitting refers to a two-wheeled vehicle
    moving between lanes of vehicles that are proceeding in the same
    direction. More narrowly, it refers to passing stopped or slower moving
    traffic between lanes at a speed greater than surrounding traffic.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_split
    t...

  • rn0ble 02/14/12 8:09 pm PST

    If you are inclined to split lanes, especially in very slow or stopped highway traffic, be very careful to be aware of angry drivers. I want to tell you a story from 1971 outside Long Beach, California. I was third in a line of motorcycles who were splitting in stopped freeway traffic. We were traveling a bit faster than prudent but as the first motorcycle passed a car I met the drivers eyes in the rearview mirror. I cannot say if the driver was aware of the second motor but I know she knew of the first one and me. She opened her door in time to catch the second motor about 1.5 car lengths ahead of me. I, barely, had time to get stopped but that second motor took off her door and died. No charges were filed in the case, either among us lane splitters (if I remember right there were 6 of us) or the lady in the car.

    I believe her only reason for opening the door was to stop us bikers from passing. I am not sure of this but I saw no attempt on her part to get out and her windows were already open, although I do recognize that the door coming off might have stopped her from moving to exit the vehicle.

  • tsurf 02/25/13 8:10 pm PST

    I diont really have an answer to the question, but rather a question in regards to one of the answers - why would it be allowed in California when it is clearyl SO dangerous to drive ANYTHING here... the traffic is outrageous and the driving skills of people are getting worse by the day?

  • bemur930 04/03/13 4:39 pm PST

    its for motorcycles! different in each state i think

  • scanman1 07/07/13 5:57 pm PST

    I used to think it was crossing a solid whie line in fl but I could be wrong.

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