Now that lane splitting / lane sharing is officially on the books in CA (Seriously, don’t you want to jump out of your chair right now and shout “YESSSS!!” ?) I would like to share my top 10 list of things that motorcyclists do that, frankly, make them suck at lane splitting.
My hope is that some or all of these will resonate with you which will both help you to not suck (you’re welcome!) as well as provide a handy reference that can passed on to your fellow riders. Then we can all be happier, safer and piss other motorists off a whole lot less. Yay.
- You make no attempts to let cars know you’re approaching. You don’t blip the throttle, you don’t use your horn, flash high beams or weave yet you expect other motorists to magically know that you’re coming up on them. It’s YOUR responsibility to stay alive, not theirs. Start making others aware of your presence.
- You absolutely MUST get to the front of the traffic line even if you have to cut cars off to get there. -Um, no you mustn’t. You’re on a motorbike -in California. You pretty much already get to do whatever you want in traffic. It is definitely not necessary to be so hell-bent on getting ahead of every last vehicle like its your God-given right.
- You “almost got hit” on nearly every commute. Yeah, you’re doing it wrong. I am going out on a limb and suggesting that perhaps your bike is moving faster than your eyes are. Do this on your next commute: drop your speed by a few miles per hour while lane splitting. I bet you a hundred bucks that your close calls AND your pucker factor drop significantly.
- You are completely oblivious that there is another motorcycle or scooter behind you who’s pilot is really hoping you’ll slide in so they can get through. You ain’t the only bike on the road, Jack.
- You are completely aware that there is another motorcycle or scooter behind you but you look back and give them the stink-eye even though it’s a whole lot easier (and nicer) for you to slide into traffic than to make the rider behind you go around. Check your ego before you start the bike.
- On the local freeway there is another motorcycle splitting two lanes over. He/she is a bit faster than you. That ego gives you that poke and instead of riding your own ride you start to “race” the other bike, leaving mostly just your comfort zone in the dust.
- You feel quite comfortable blazing through rush hour traffic on your sport bike with obnoxiously loud pipes and -being the self-righteous prick that you are- you really couldn’t give a shit how many old ladies or tech nerds you scare. Thanks for the bad rep, dooosh!
- Your cruiser is too wide to fit between cars so you make effective sonic use of all 88 cubic inches until the seas part. See above, DB.
- You never learned to balance going slow but you still want to get in between cars so you do your best Fred Flintstone impersonation, wearing the soles of your shoes out in the process. So sad. Seriously, take another class.
- You don’t bother to signal “thanks” of some sort when cars clearly move aside to let you by. No wave, no peace sign, nothing. C’mon dude, here’s a car that IS paying attention. Return the courtesy, be a good ambassador of motorcycling and stop treating cars like adversaries. Yes, I also think that car folks are generally less aware and less skilled than most of us but there’s no need to punish them aggressively or passively. Ride your ride, be nice, show your appreciation when they move over.