December 11, 2009

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Ride Friday: The reverse lane split?

I’ve never heard of this being done before, and I’ve certainly never seen it before. Since I lack a better term for it, I’ve titled it the “reverse lane split”. For those that might not know, lane splitting is: riding a motorcycle between lanes in the same direction as traffic. It is also sometimes called lane sharing, whitelining, filtering, or stripe-riding. In short, it is when motorcycles ride the white line on the freeway in slow traffic (and sometimes in not so slow traffic). It is illegal everywhere in the US except for California (thank you Cali for at least one decent law). What happened to me was the… opposite.

I was riding in the left lane behind someone who was not going as fast as I wanted to go. After a brief stretch a new lane was added on the left, and I immediately moved over into this lane to pass the slower vehicle. Right after I did this, I notice an Audi right on my tail. I’ll be honest, I don’t know where he came from. I’m observant and normally catch these people coming up on me, but all I can assume is that he was moving very fast previously. I was riding on the extreme left of this left lane, almost on top of the yellow lane when I noticed the Audi moving to the right side of the lane. I don’t know why, but I knew exactly what he was going to do and knew that the best course of action was to stay where I was. He stomped it, and did it.

The Audi lane split me.

Now keep in mind that at no point did he move (even partially) into the lane to our right since that slow vehicle was directly next to us. He used my lane and passed me. I was completely stunned. I could not believe that anyone would do that, let alone do something like that on a fairly empty freeway (This was mid-afternoon on a weekend; it was NOT busy). If he had waited another 5 to 10 seconds, I would have completed passing the slower traffic AND been out of the lane, but he couldn’t wait.

I wasn’t (and am not) angry about this person doing something like this to me, even though it is extremely dangerous. I could have just as easily decided to move slightly to the right, or just gently move to the center of the lane. I’m just baffled as to why anyone would do this on an unbusy freeway. Of course he exited the freeway about a mile and a half later, so he gained himself maybe 15 seconds. Oh well.

Oh, and if anyone has ever heard of anything like this being done, or has a better term, I’d be interested to hear it.