October 1, 2010

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Ride Friday: Unconscious lane splitting is bad

If you look back on the number of Ride Friday posts we’ve had, you’d think there isn’t much motorcycle riding going on.  Fortunately, that isn’t true, just not a lot going on that is noteworthy.  I ride my motorcycle almost every day now, though, to be fair it isn’t very far.  I take it from home to the local BART station and back.  Not exactly the world’s most exciting ride, though this week I did get a chance to get out a little bit and noticed something.  I’ve gone from being very nervous about lane splitting, to taking it as second nature.  A habit I need to break.

Last night, I got home early and had some errands that needed running.  Being that it was still somewhat rush hour, I had some traffic to deal with.  This isn’t too much of a problem, of course, when you can lane split.  The only tricky part is knowing when to slip in and out, and when the traffic is speeding up and slowing down.  After a bit, I found myself seconds from lane splitting, even though “slow” traffic was still at 65.  Right then I realized what I was up to and backed off.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t get away the split, or that it was terribly dangerous.  It is just a bad idea.  One shouldn’t get into the habit of doing something like lane splitting when it isn’t strictly necessary.  Who knows when you’ll end up in another state where it isn’t legal, with a cop in the area… and you unconsciously lane split?