In recent months, the passage of a bill legalizing lane splitting in California has gotten a lot of press. We believe the legislation is a good thing (Gabe’s opinion, notwithstanding). However, even in states where the practice is not legal, riders should position themselves such that they can take advantage of the space between vehicles at a stop. No cop is going to cite a rider who jumps between stopped traffic to avoid becoming a minivan sandwich.
Take a look at the photo above. The riders have divided the lane into three pieces to illustrate how much room is available within a lane. Ideally when coming to a stop, a rider will end up on the outside thirds of the lane in traffic. This gives those with cat-like reflexes the chance to get out of the way when skidding tires are heard approaching from behind. If the rider doesn’t get out of the way, at least the impact stands a better chance of tossing him/her between the rows of cars instead of the bumper directly in front of the motorcycle. Additionally, this placement keeps the motorcycle’s tires off of the potentially slippery center of the lane where cars tend to drip oil and air conditioner condensation – a potentially dangerous mix even in dry weather.
If you need a more graphic example of what can happen with the wrong lane placement, take a look at the video below. Fortunately, the rider appears to be okay.
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