lane spliting
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Thread: lane spliting

  1. #1


    lane spliting

    Recently I purchased a sv650. Since I am relatively new to the bike scene, I have been careful not to take the turns too fast or go between cars at any speed. However, there was a recent nascar event that forced me to decide between going 0-5 miles an hour, or 20ish between cars.
    Much to my luck, I was met by an unknown experienced rider. He took the lead and helped me through a hugh mess of traffic (to me anyway).
    There were three lessons I learned from him. One, the horn is not as effective as reving the engine, but when right next to a car it can be heard. Two, when in doubt, go really slow between cars who are barely moving. And three, if in the lead, tap your helmet to let the riders behind you know there is a cop ahead. Aside from being able to pass on what I learned, I would also like to take the time to thank every one on this board who has been aware, or just purely kind, to help other less experienced riders.

    Thanks for everyone's advise, it does not fall on deaf ears.

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  3. #2

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong. But California state law says lane splitting is legal up to 10 mph between cars. If traffic is going between 10 and 1 mph you can only legally do 10 mph. Otherwise you stay in a lane above 10 mph.

  4. #3
    Fox is offline

    Yeah I remember reading that it was legal in Cycleworld.

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  6. #4

    all the Ca statute says is that it can be done at a reasonable speed. This leaves it very open to personal interpritation. It can be kinda nerve wracking when you first start to do it, but after awhile you can't stop from doing it any longer.

    Just remember that there are some a**holes out there that when they see you splitting will purposely open their doors right in front of you

  7. #5

    Lane Splitting - Squid sighting...
    Yesterday my daughter and I were heading up I5 north of Seattle to a family get together. Major traffic jam. I don't think lane splitting is legal in Washington. We are in the left HOV lane. Squid roared past us riding between the lanes. Could see him up ahead continuing between the lanes. It might not have been a big deal if he was moving slowly. I have to admit I was tempted. But he was really moving.....

  8. #6

    As far as I know Ca is the only state that it is still legal in. I could be wrong here though

  9. #7
    Clunked into first gear
    Boston, MA
    When I started riding here in MA, I was seeing riders doing it all the time and I thought it was illegal too. So, I called the state police and asked. The officer there told me that "forward progress" is permitted as long as it follows these forms:

    1) The vehicles you are riding between must be stopped and not moving. Once they are moving you must merge back into lane.
    2) You are not permitted to drive on the yellow line side of traffic (i.e. the middle of the road and possibly interfering with oncoming traffic).
    3) You are not permitted to drive in the breakdown lane, but are permitted to use the shoulder (this made no sense to me, because breakdown lanes are only on highways....).
    4) You should try to always be moving forward between 2 lanes of vehicles.

    I've passed many a police car moving up through stopped traffic and have had no problems. I always move no faster than low speed in second gear. This is more for my own preservation than anything else. People do like to slam their vehicles over into an open spot in the neighboring lane without much warning.

    As far as highway riding and motorcycles slamming up between the lanes while everyone is moving, that's gotta be the biggest Squid move I've seen. That's a sure way to end up as road pizza. It's bad enough trying to secure your spot in a lane on a highway, now you give it up completely to try to zip between vehicles. People who do that are just asking for trouble.
    If at first you don't succeed, then maybe skydiving is not for you....

  10. #8
    Kickstand Operator
    My Bike(s)
    2001 VZ800
    i just took my permit test and if i remember coreectly lane splitting or "SHARING" can be done up to 30mph in california . Tho i dont go that fast.I've almost hit a few mirrors just going 15mph all i need is to hit one at 30.
    "The Key to Immortality is first living a life worth remembering." - St. Augustine

  11. #9
    007 is offline

    Badkitty, you just got your permit and you already lane splitting????
    bad, bad, bad kitty!....

  12. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by badkitty
    i just took my permit test and if i remember coreectly lane splitting or "SHARING" can be done up to 30mph in california . Tho i dont go that fast.I've almost hit a few mirrors just going 15mph all i need is to hit one at 30.
    Kitty I'd seriously encourage you to get a few thousand miles under your belt before you try that. You have to be able to instinctively control brakes, throttle clutch, and any evasive actions necessary. Thats a lot on anyones plate. Especially a PERMIT rider. Please get summo experience before doing that anymore.

  13. #11

    Finally found the actual law for Washington State. The manual I found used terms like discourage.... Here is the statute:

    RCW 46.61.608
    Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic.
    (1) All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such a manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane.

    (2) The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.

    (3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.

    (4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.

    (5) Subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their official duties.

  14. #12


    RCW 46.61.614
    Riding on motorcycles -- Clinging to other vehicles.
    No person riding upon a motorcycle shall attach himself or the motorcycle to any other vehicle on a roadway.

  15. #13

    OK....last one....

    RCW 46.61.612
    Riding on motorcycles -- Position of feet.
    No person shall ride a motorcycle in a position where both feet are placed on the same side of the motorcycle.

  16. #14

    Funny seattle kat.

    Nice work on calling the mass police, great idea, I am suprised you got that much information.

    I live in california and commute everyday (hey yellowbee! was that the sonoma nascar event?). I would have to say that California is the most liberal lane splitting state, I followed a motorcycle cop lane splitting when traffic was going 35+. I know I know, what he does doesn't mean I can do it.

    Anyhoo. I have never gotten a clear definition of the lane splitting rules. The most common explaination I get is "Lane splitting is permited as long as its REASONABLY SAFE". Once again, rememeber California is super liberal with this fact, and always has been. As opposed to Hawaii, in which you NEVER see lane splitting (even tho it is hotter), because I imagine the rule originated due to air cooled motorcycles overheating in the heat if idling in traffic.

    Back to california. I don't know If I am correct, but have seen and done the following.

    I split on all divided highways with more than two lanes.
    I split at all traffic slowdowns, no matter the speed.
    If someone is going below the posted speed limit even by a few miles an hour, I split where safe.
    Commuter lane splitting is done alot.
    I split at traffic lights, and stop signs when congested (middle or right).
    I generally don't exceed 45-50mph (40-45 actual) when traffic is jammed.
    I use my highbeams at all times during these activities.
    Usually in 2nd gear at 6k rpm (loud).
    Splitting is almost exclusively done between the far left and 2nd lane, where cars expect you to be splitting.
    I split toll conjestion, all the way up to the front.
    I split on/off ramps when completely stopped.

    Here are some additional thoughts on my experiences.

    I split traffic lights and stop signs because I am afraid of getting rear ended.
    The most dangerous lane splitting is the first moment traffic jams up, and people start puddle jumping.
    Ironically, the faster the cars are going, the safer the lane splitting. This is because faster moving traffic/cars change lanes slower. In slower or completely stopped traffic, cars yank the wheel to get in the other lane. Splitting in traffic that is going 25 miles an hour is always safer than stopped traffic.
    Identify puddles (open spots) in the traffic ahead as danger points. Approach these cautiously as cars tend to jump into them. Go as far as to pull into them if they are big enough.
    Identify drivers actions by looking at thier heads, see if they are looking at you in thier drivers side or rear view mirrors, reading the paper, drinking coffee, talking on cell phones or looking around quickly ready to jump.
    When splitting at high speeds do it casually and slowly (2 seconds to pass) so as to not startle the cagers.
    Discover real quick how wide your motorcycle is. If in doubt slow down to pass. Watch out for mirrors of the larger pickup trucks, they extend out for trailer pulling.
    Let cars with blinkers on move to the next lane, notify them with a wave, of the hand, they get confused easily into a game of chicken.
    Be more cautious on curves (of course), or not at all.
    Don't hang out in between two cars.
    Personally I avoid going multiple speeds (slow then speed up). It helps me concentrate, when going one speed.
    If you wonder how quickly you can stop, practice by driving at a speed along a row of parallel parked cars. Stop as quickly and safely as possible. You shouldn't travel faster than that which lets you slow down in one car length. Usually a puddle jumper misses you when you are one and a half car lengths behind him.

    I hope that helps. Once again, these are my observations, it shouldn't be taken as truth, MSF course material, or backed up by the laws of California. Also what may work for my skills may not apply to yours.

  17. #15

    107 has been a little slow lately so I have found myself surfing the web... Been curious about some of the different laws. As I noted above for Washington State the law is very clear, it isn't legal to split lanes. I was searching for a similar clear code for the laws for California. It appears not to be very clear. Came accross the following site.

    Interesting discussion on lane splitting. Also note that is you listen to music while riding you have to be sure you are only covering one ear with the headphones.

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