RideApart 24: Why Lane Splitting Is Awesome

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Our show is part of the DRIVE channel, a mainstream lifestyle outlet targeting young people that are into cars. Having a bike show on a car channel gives us a unique opportunity to sell motorcycling to non-riders. I think we’ve done a good job doing that by showcasing the performance, lifestyle and adventure that two wheels makes possible, so now it’s time to make a case for motorcycles as everyday transportation. Doing so means one thing: lane splitting. Here’s how and why riding between lanes is the best thing ever.

Gear: Jamie
Helmet: Arai XD4 ($540)
Jacket: Alpinestars Atem ($700)
Gloves: Alpinestars SP-X ($100)

Gear: Wes
Helmet: Bell Star Carbon ($700) / Icon Airmada Stack ($260)
Suit: Aerostich Roadcrafter Stealth ($1,000)
Gloves: Icon Overlord Long ($150)

  • http://www.facebook.com/mitchel.durnell Mitchel Durnell

    When I came to Los Angeles from Florida, lane splitting was pretty intimidating. Indeed, the first time filtering on the 405, I was pretty slow. Now, not only is it second nature, it’s necessary, and I think no matter where I end up in the world, if I’m on two wheels I’m going to split. It just makes too much sense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Mucci/91000156 Dave Mucci

    “It’s my job to make sure a terrible driver doesn’t hit me, not theirs.” – this is a great perspective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nickmurphy17 Nick Murphy

    A lot of great info there Harlan…

  • roma258

    Thanks for doing an episode on lane splitting. Most of this country is badly missing out. Brace for a flame war though, for some reason any time the topic of lane splitting comes up, everyone becomes an expert on how dangerous and irresponsible the practice is, evidence be damned.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mitchel.durnell Mitchel Durnell

      People in vehicles hate motorcycle filtering by them with an intense fury, which when you break it down, has no basis and is really unfortunate. Hey cagers, I don’t want to pass you, I just want to get by and leave you more room. More efficiency is to everyones benefit.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mitchel.durnell Mitchel Durnell

      Also on the ‘it *seems* more dangerous tip:
      - texing SUV driver doesn’t look dangerous…
      - Guy doing a wheelie! Watch out, he’s going to kill EVERYONE!

  • cda

    ” a mainstream lifestyle outlet targeting young people” God I hate marketing non-speak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.berndt.73 Jonathan Berndt

    20 to 50mph faster than traffic?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      10-15mph faster.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.berndt.73 Jonathan Berndt

        understood, my mistake.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mitchel.durnell Mitchel Durnell

      Turning left as coming from the opposite direction. Not a lot of splitting in front of cars going the same direction, where the car wants to turn left… also, I wouldn’t say ‘reject’ as much as ‘not ratified’, mostly out of instinct than evidence. The rest of world lane splits just fine…

      • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.berndt.73 Jonathan Berndt

        got you, i thought he was referencing total accident stats when he mentioned the Hurt report. i wasnt aware of stats on lane splitting

    • http://www.facebook.com/afonsomata Afonso Mata

      maybe they rejected it for the same reason they allow people to ride without a helmet….

    • theUg

      Hurt report is outdated and inconclusive as pertaining to filtering (by Hurt’s own words: http://www.soundrider.com/archive/safety-skills/harry_hurt_interview.htm). However, there are other non-U.S. studies available, such as MAIDS from 2009.

    • Ray

      Yes, according to the Hurt Report.

  • Some army medic

    lane splitting is legal in many state only at certain speeds , such as new york lane splitting may only be done at ten mph or less. or texas you may split lanes if traffic is below posted speed limit and you may not exceed posted speed limit or exceed 10 mph faster flow of traffic. as a rider in new york i was cited for reckless driving for it but with knowledge of the law the ticket was dismissed

    • owen

      Do you have any sources for that information, especially on texas you could post? I couldn’t find the law myself.

    • http://www.facebook.com/swfcpilot Sloan Essman

      That’s not correct in Texas. What you posted is what was proposed in a
      bill that has been introduced every year but has never passed.
      Reference the DPS page. Check number 19 on this FAQ page:
      19. Can I ride my motorcycle between cars in traffic?
      law doesn’t specifically say one way or the other, but there are
      several statutes that may come to bear depending upon the circumstances,
      i.e. right of way, obligation to drive in a single lane, signal
      intention, passing with safety, etc. Motorcycles are considered equally
      as cars regarding traffic laws, so the single lane, signal intention and
      other statutes in the Transportation Code could come in to play.

      main statute that makes “lane splitting” illegal is Transportation Code
      Section 545.060, entitled “Driving on Roadway Laned for Traffic.”

      An operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:
      shall drive as nearly practical entirely within a single lane; and
      may not move from the lane unless that movement can be made safely.

      • owen

        Thanks that is exactly what I was looking for!

    • OtisGerald

      Yes, I’d like to see the source of this info. I’ve gotten booked for feeding forward at a light in NYC so this would be very useful to me.

  • Mike Stuck

    Great points regarding splitting. Also, looks like Wes is enjoying his Stich. You guys should do a Stich vs. Motoport comparison (especially since Motoport is in SoCal).

  • http://twitter.com/KeyserBroze JB

    One of your best yet. Well done, gents.

    There’s an error in your post though: Jamie is wearing the Alpinestars Atem jacket, not the GP-R.

  • Jay

    Great topic. Hopefully it will change some minds among car drivers. I’ve tried to make the same points on car forums but there’s quite a bit of “dog in the manger” mentality that’s behind lane splitting attitude and law in the US.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=681612748 William Scott

    Great video. It looks like the youtubers are getting nicely fired up over this one. I still don’t know if it’s legal in Queensland Australia, I haven’t been booked so far.

    • http://twitter.com/VagrantCoyote VagrantCoyote

      Technically illegal in NSW, but at least in Sydney police don’t seem to care. Might get away with it in Brissie.

  • Kevin

    You can ride in the bicycle lane legally (see 2:50)? I find that hard to believe… and I doubt it’s safe given that bicyclists typically don’t have side mirrors to see you coming. I’m just saying is all.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      That’s a bus lane, and yes.

  • Kevin

    This is a really great video guys, exactly what I think the community really needs. More tools & techniques for safe & effective riding!

  • BillW

    Good video. I hope it changes some minds.

    One note: around 5:07, you guys go by the left side of an F-150 with its left turn signal on and a gap opening on its left. It looked like you just barely beat the opening of the gap. Kinda pushing it, I’d say. But then, I tend to be pretty cautious in traffic.

  • Woolfe

    Look at drivers heads, if they are moving they are looking to lane change, 10-15 mph faster, look for faster bikes, move over for them, have a good look before resuming the split, acknowledge drivers that move over a bit for you, getting pissed off takes your concentration, you only have so much, use it wisely (Keith Code), look up. Ride Safe. Thanks Wes!

  • nightscout13

    When I ride, I pretend I’m invisible, ALL THE TIME. Cause most of the time, car drivers are not actively seeking motorcycle riders.

    • GG

      Try to drive in Milan’s traffic, u have to be invisible and invulnerable too….

  • socalutilityrider

    I now use my motorcycle as my primary transport for well, everything, and lane split all the time in San Diego. On light traffic days, it saves me 10-15 minutes over using a car. On heavy traffic days, it can save me up to an hour.

    I work for myself and the extremely valuable time savings were the primary reason I chose a bike over a “fuel efficient” car to commute with. All those minutes really add up and you don’t have to stress over unexpected heavy traffic. You just go where you want when you want.

    I got so used to the freedom of using motorcycles as transportation that I started using it for everything vs. just my commute as originally intended.

    Between the speed of getting to point a from point b and the substantial gas savings (over my Yukon), it was an easy choice for me to get a motorcycle when I had to start commuting.

    More people should do this vs just using a bike as a recreational tool. It’s awesome.

    • HoldenL

      This is the difference between the “freedom™” that Harley Davidson sells, and the freedom that the daily rider enjoys.

      • socalutilityrider

        Ha, those guys rarely lane split! Maybe on the freeway, but I never see them doing it in town. Freedom for them = 300 lbs of ornamental chrome on an already ponderously heavy machine sitting stuck behind a minivan reading those awful family stickers wasting time while I whiz by on the ugly but utilitarian Vstrom.

  • KevinB

    So jealous, but realistically it will never pass anywhere else in the states. No legislature is going to vote for something that will cause a rash of deaths as drivers and motorcyclist adjust to the change, even if there is a long term benefit. You also have the aggro crowd who can’t see logic over emotion.

    • theUg

      It is already safer as it is even though half of California does not know it is legal. All is needed is public awareness campaign.

  • Emmet
    • RT Moto


    • Strafer

      but how does he check if the cagers are texting / watching netflix at that speed? ;)

    • Kevin

      Damn, he’s banging on that rev limiter like an angry landlord after his rent.

  • Soph Tsangarakis

    Damn….. i want that stich.

    • Emmet

      it looks tailored! And yeah, if I lived in an area with year-round riding with a reliable modern bike, I would totally do the same. I secretly wonder how life would be to leave upstate NY, sell off my garage full of vintage beaters and jump on a new Street Triple to San Fran…

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        It is custom tailored, they offer that service. I also have the torso and arms rotated forward into a sport fit, knee velcro and pucks, hip protectors, competition back protector and a chest protector. It’s literally the greatest piece of riding gear ever conceived, basically turns a bike into a car in terms of protection against any weather, safety and convenience. Goes on and off in 15 seconds.

        • http://www.facebook.com/malukas Michael Lukas

          How do the forward rotated sleeves feel on a dirtbike or sumo? I’m getting myself a stich in the near future and will mostly be in the sit up and beg position, but considering these suits last 10+ years I would put money on the sportbike bug biting long before the stich kicks the bucket. Attention deficit generation and all..

          • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

            They work great. Essentially, the just transform the suit from something loose and baggy for old men to something a little more form fitting and suited to physical riding.

            On the ‘Stich, order true to street clothes size and expect to send it back for alterations after you first try it on. You’re buying something that’ll last a lifetime, not an off-the peg throwaway.

      • HoldenL

        Do it, do it! Life in a year-round riding place is great. I live in South Florida, have a Versys, wear an Aerostich Lite, commute on the bike daily, and drive my car less than 1,000 miles a year. I need to sell that damn thing.

  • Chester

    I’m a daily rider in Japan, where we have lane splitting, and I would have to agree with most of the points and tips provided in the video (also I always enjoy the cinematography). Another thing that we have on the driving tests for all vehicles as well as in driving schools is that motorcycle awareness is part of the curriculum/test. For example an extra blind-spot check when making turns to make sure a motorcycle hasn’t come up from behind (we can split lanes as well as driving in the space between the sidewalk and the road). I think awareness of the possibility of motorcycles on the road for normal motorists goes a long way in increasing motorcycle safety.

    Another difference between America and Japan at least is that in Japan motorcycles are a lifestyle while in the States I think most people think of them as toys in a way.

  • Chester

    I think Jamie is a great presence on the show, calm and a good presenter. But I’d like to see Wes on more episodes. And if you can try to become Jamie’s foil and perhaps more opinionated/offensive I think it would give the show more dynamics and make it more enjoyable to watch.

    Again I think the cameramen do a great job.

  • RT Moto

    I’ve been riding since late 2004 here in California and have lane split since the start. At first it was intimidating, but just like anything else you begin to get better at it and gain confidence doing it. It takes time getting adjusted to the heightened alertness you must have while you do it but once you do you see everything. People brushing their teeth, shaving, applying makeup, reading books/magazines/newspapers, texting, making phone calls, looking for something in the console, and basically anything else you do while driving a car. You learn the characteristics of distracted driving and know when to change lanes/slow down/speed up and pass them to get away from them. I learned so much about defensive riding by doing it that when I once upon a time moved to Texas for a short time and couldn’t lane split I felt like a sitting duck with a huge target on my back. That feeling was spot on because no more than a few days of riding went by that I got rear ended in traffic by a girl in her late teens texting. That experience was a major factor when it came to my decision to move back to California. There is no debate in my eyes that would persuade me to think that lane splitting isn’t a safer alternative than riding/sitting in traffic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/randy.renu.5 Randy Renu

      I’ve been riding (IBA and without an accident) since 1978 and only on Harley Davidson. I can’t imagine doing this….scares the heck out of me just watching the pro’s do it. Riding a motorcycle is analogous to flying a combat mission over North Vietnam; only difference is the projectiles you are trying to avoid have wheels and are operated by incompetent drivers.

  • http://twitter.com/VagrantCoyote VagrantCoyote

    Very good point about rear ending. Having been rear ended by a hit and run douchebag, I was lucky to be alive, only getting a broken ankle for my troubles. If I could have lane split in Texas, I would have avoided that near fatal accident.

  • Nathan Wiley

    Wes, when you’re not shilling hipster motorcycle gear you actually have some good things to say. Around the five minute mark talking about how if you, as a motorcyclist, are run over by a car driver it is YOUR fault is spot on. I’ve tried to stress this very thing to rider friends for years. It’s YOUR responsibility to read all the other idiots actions out there before they have a chance to kill you, no excuses. Good on ‘ya.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      You know me, just a corporate shill.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kin.ta.710 Kin Ta

    It might be your only source of scientific studies, but the Hurt Report was published 32 years ago; its relevance is almost but extinguished.

    • Strafer

      a newer study is needed
      but its large scope makes it still one of the most cited studies

    • theUg

      Check European Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study (MAIDS, 2009): “Out of the 921 crashes investigated, 4 (0.4%) were engaged in filtering as the pre-crash motion. Comparatively, 26 (2.8%) accidents occurred while the motorcycle (referred to as the powered two-wheeler (PTW)) was stopped
      in traffic with a speed of zero, and 452 (49.1%) occurred with the PTW moving in a straight line with constant speed.” (quoted from Oregon TD research division white paper).

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.joshua.silverman Daniel Silverman

    I wish I had the ability to lanesplit legally in Arizona, with some of the poorest drivers on record – I often need it just to survive.

  • http://twitter.com/jwongAU Jon

    Great advice. You should of included being aware of car mirrors to avoid the embarrassment of hitting one with your bar end or mirror and that not all roads can be lane split.

    Unfortunately I learnt both of these the hard way.

  • http://twitter.com/jwongAU Jon

    Rear brake? Tell that to Stoner or Doohan :)

  • MeatyBeard

    Love the ending at 14:03. Around the cruiser blocking the lane boys. Strong feeling he was emasculated when he realized what was going on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Sweeney/501437288 Scott Sweeney

    My new favorite part about Ride Apart on Drive is reading all the ignorant youtube comments.

    Another awesome episode guys!

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      ” It pisses me off when motorcycles split lanes. Do skinny people get to push through a crowd lined up at a bar to get a drink? Wait your fucking turn like the rest of us.”

      • roma258

        Motorcycles- the hot girls of vehicular traffic.

      • Mister X

        It’s not illegal in CA, so get over it bub. I’m much more concerned about guys with poor impulse control like you driving/riding drunk than lane splitting.

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          That was a quote from the comments section for the video, hence the quotation marks and that my comment was in response to someone talking about how entertaining the comments were.

          • Mister X

            My bad, and my apology, I’ll pay closer attention to quotes from now on, and perhaps you can let us know it where it was quoted from when you repost it, eh?

            • Jack


              • Mister X

                What are you 12 years old?
                Your juvenile response reminds me of one of my favorite Kinks songs right about now… Jack The Idiot Dunce.


                • Jack

                  Calling someone stupid and childish on the internet is stupid and childish. Especially when that someone was Pwnting your calling out someone else’s lack of citation. Protip: Don’t be so defensive on the internet, noob.

                • Mister X

                  Jack, when you get to the 8th grade you’ll cover reading comprehension, and I’m sure you’ll benefit from that quite a bit, seeing that I did not call you stupid. And yes, your trendy one word comment was completely juvenile.

                • Jack

                  Dunce. A stupid person; a dolt. If you didn’t mean it to be taken as offensive, you shouldn’t have referred to it, Mr. I’m-More-Adult-Than-You. Also, I sure hope reading comprehension isn’t an 8th grade subject where you live. That’s just sad. More on topic, calling someone juvenile during an argument on the internet is a textbook example of hypocrisy, Mr. I’m-More-Adult-Than-You. If you want to portray yourself as the mature adult you’re trying to pretend to be, I suggest you stop stroking your epeen. Further, my ‘trendy one word comment’ was in your favor, as I tried to explain to you. You only further paint yourself a fool by carrying this on, Mr. I’m-More-Adult-Than-You.

                  tl;dr Just get off the internet.

                • Mister X

                  Ok, you win, I’ll do it your way, and you even get the last word baby boy, because unlike you, I have adult things to attend to now.

                  HA, HA, HA… pwnod! Bitch.

                • Jack

                  Pwnod? wtfisdatlol? stfu noob. u stil havnt figruedout dat whyLe mai postz hav no fayce, yurz hav yur naime pic n playce of rezidense cattached 2 them

                  Pwn’d, indeed.

                • Mister X

                  Thank you for that I’ve been reading l337 speak for decades, if that truly is a veiled threat that you follow through on, then you may be biting way more off than you can chew, but your all grown up apparently, so I won’t continue with my caution.

                  Anyhow, sticks and stones and all that rot… we can still be HFL friends right?

                  So, since this is a bike forum n’all, what do you ride anyhow, and do you lane split where you live.

                • Jack

                  My apologies. I had intended to mean that, being an apparent DJ, your words may one day come back to bite you. Whilst I, being mostly anonymous, don’t have that concern. Both bragging, and warning.

                  We can’t lane split here, and the local police aren’t very fond of bikers, so I try not to push my luck.

                • Mister X

                  Poor boy can’t cope with someone who calls out his juvenile behavior and feeds it back to him. Have the last word Jack, you’ve earned it, I’m convinced that you’re an adult, a poor example, but apparently so.

  • KevinB

    Where can I find the CATXFL study you cite?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Kevin, get in the habit of following contextual links in articles. We include them for a reason: http://hellforleathermagazine.com/tagged/lane-splitting/

      • KevinB

        ^0 added value. I’m guessing you’re referring to this? http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2011/07/study-lane-splitting-is-safer/

        The reason I ask is because you said, “the USDOT performed a study”
        in the video, which would be impressive, but the study above is decidedly not. You don’t have to convince me that it’s a good idea, just saying watch your facts or you’ll undermine your argument.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Getting a little tired of your attitude Kevin…

          A link and explanation of the DOT FARS study is here: http://jalopnik.com/5502943/the-phoenix-dump-truck-motorcycle-deaths-were-preventable

          If you want to dig through pages of PDFs, the FARS website is here: http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

          • KevinB

            You mean I’m not your favorite commenter, ever? :’(

            Thanks for the link, and I withhold the right to be retarded, but I don’t see a study. If it’s just pulling raw data out of the NHTSA database, that’s quite a bit different than the USDOT performing a study on it. Intuitively it makes sense and sounds like a good insight, but it’d be cool if there was more reputable research we could point to on the matter. Maybe you can get one of your IJMS buddies to take it on.

            • theUg

              I tend to agree with that. I had seen that data, but the new official U.S.-based study that would include filtering metrics is nowhere to be found, even though pilot study should have been published in 2010.

  • http://www.facebook.com/afonsomata Afonso Mata

    Great episode guys :)

    I would just add another tip on that segment: “check if there is another rider splitting another lane. If so, be cautious”.
    That’s probably the only thing i really get scared when i’m splitting lanes, here in Lisbon’s commuter freeways.
    You’re on a 3 lane freeway, riding your Vespa between the left lane and the middle one.
    The car traffic is flowing at 10mph, you’re doing 30.
    Some drivers, when you appear in their mirror, tend to steer a couple of inches away from you, being polite.
    Suddenly, that “big-bike-guy-who-hates-scooters” comes at 40mph, roaring his exhaust pipes, between the right lane and the middle one.
    The drivers in the middle lane hear him come on their right mirror before the see you on their left, so they politely steer a couple of inches away from him.
    Into you.
    That just gives me the creeps, and it was one of the first things my friends tought me when i started to ride: “If there’s some one else splitting lanes, you split the same lanes.”

    Or i could just sum this up as: “Be polite towards other riders”. ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/afonsomata Afonso Mata

      And also when splitting lanes on the freeway, having the turning lights on are also a bit of a safety measure.
      It costs nothing and increases the “being-seen-factor” by a couple of orange flashing lights ;)

    • http://madebyfred.com fred vg

      As Wes already pointed out, in Belgium lane splitting is actually encouraged. It’s pretty much an unwritten rule that you ride between the furthest left lane and the second furthest left lane. Drivers know this and leave more room, pay more attention and are less likely to make a dash for an exit when they are in the far left lanes.

  • Guest

    Where can I find the USDOT study you cite?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler
      • theUg

        Oregon DT whitepaper (Sperley, Myra, Pietz, Amanda Joy. “Motorcycle Lane-sharing: Literature Review”) talks about new U.S.-based study recently commissioned that would include OECD filtering methodology. However, when I was writing college paper on filtering, I was unable to find it as of last autumn.

  • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

    Sure, I’ll be there in two or three decades, but I’m resolute that my ‘Stich will not be 6 sizes too big and DayGlo yellow when I am.

    • Kevin

      You’re 30, right? You’re there in 10 years, my man. And it will blow your mind out the back of your skull how quickly it comes.

      • Kevin

        By the way, as much as you’ve crashed you may end up with arthritic joints, like my hip following a skiing crash when I was 20. Just letting you know all the fun stuff that’s ahead. :)

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being older (the money’s better and wisdom is sweet) but there are certain realities about age that the optimism of youth cannot prepare for or overcome.

        • AHA

          I’m 53, losing weight, riding faster & better and aiming for extreme enduro some year soon. I might never make it – unless I can get titanium patellas (from Dainese, probably) – but I’m having a lot of fun meantimes. Attitude makes its own reality. Wes will get here OK. He’s doing fine.

    • sixgunsteve

      My ‘stitch shrank a size or two over the Holiday period. My daughter says I look like a grey/hi-viz turducken!

    • http://www.faster-faster.com/ Marc Fenigstein

      I can vouch for the fact that our sales guy, who is pushing 70 and is on his 4th or 5th aerostich (some of which have been dayglo), fucking rips on two wheels. I hope I both survive the number of miles he has and am half as fast as he at that age.

  • Ben Wipperman

    I liked the episode and, at the same time, think it could have made a more compelling point. Someone who sees lane splitting as dangerous would need stronger evidence than what was provided in this clip. Also, having the subjective discussions before going into any sort of evidence or establishing exactly how you’re defining the safe/legal version of lane splitting would make such a person tune out.

    Perhaps that’s beside the point; it seems like a slightly missed opportunity. I’ll go back to watching my mirrors in this wonderful Dallas traffic.

    • Ben Wipperman

      By the way – the Stich does look great. I’m happy with my Teiz, but there’s definitely a part of me that wishes I got a Stich just for Team America.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      We have 10 minutes…

      • Ben Wipperman

        That limitation makes efficiency critical. I enjoyed the episode, as I have every RideApart episode, and I know you can do even better – that’s all.

  • http://twitter.com/KeyserBroze JB

    Could you guys put together a follow up video that goes into some of the more in-depth techniques on how to do this properly? I live in a non splitting state and don’t know how it’s done. I’ve heard some people watch faces in side mirrors, look for out of state plates, profile cars based on how their drivers typically behave, etc. I’d like to see some of that kind of stuff put to real world use and explained a little bit.

  • Hooligan

    As a daily London rider (on a Street Triple R Big thumbs up) I am happy we exchanged the right to own a military automatic gun with the right to filter (as lane splitting is called in England). I think riding in London is artform, damn we have to do it on narrow medieval streets as well, none of that 4 foot between cars. 1 foot is more usual. It is marginally dangerous but you develop the survial sixth senses necessary. Some people cannot take London traffic. But hey, Compared to Istanbul or the large cities in Brazil – London is a poodle.

    • AHA

      +1. Great episode BTW. Could you maybe hire the NRA to lobby for lane splitting?

      • roma258

        Heh, seriously. Or convince AMA to take up the cause.

    • Filly-fuzz

      I’m seriously trying to find some mirrors that end at the handlebar ends for the street trip. For me that would be the best performance upgrade.

      • Hooligan

        Sorry cannot help there squire, you might look at the Italian aftermarket companies like Rizoma or Barracuda who have a selection of mirrors for the Striple. Personally I kinda like my OE ones – they do work.

  • Porter

    I use them almost exclusively during low speeds. They help keep the bike upright during tight U-turns. Also, I like to use them when I am in super slow or stop-and-go traffic (no lane splitting here) and I don’t want to drop my feet. It helps a lot.

  • Robotribe

    Great video, guys; the best yet. Nothing makes a SoCal native rider miss California than riding in Florida for 1.5 years without the ability to lain split/filter. I’m so happy to no longer be a sponge on two wheels.

    Stop looking at the camera, Wes! (I need to work on that too for my job)

  • http://twitter.com/TheseIronLegs Greg Hanefeld

    Fantastic episode, and a great return to form. These round table discussions between Wes/Grant/Jamie were what really endeared me to the first season, and I’m really happy to see it coming back.

  • Dan S

    This was great! Seriously do wish lane splitting were legal on motorcycles. As mentioned in the vid it is not legal in Philadelphia. But… It is legal to lane split on a bicycle in Philly (surprisingly this is illegal in the rest of the state).

    Feels great to get some lane splitting practice while riding through town on the bicycle, it leaves cagers green with envy and I get to most places much more quickly than even on the motorcycle.

    Btw asked a cop once if Motorcycles can use the bicycle lane… they are not and if caught will be issued a ticket. I still think that kinda sucks.

    • roma258

      Another Philly rider here. I lane split on a motorcycle on a pretty regular basis (Vine Street, Schuylkill, I-95, etc…). Never got a ticket before, fwiw. It’s a pretty awesome way to make time, just pay attention for the road ragers, most of whom don’t notice till you’re long gone.

  • Ray

    I’m a longtime New York/ Texas/ Maine motoryclist. I’m still not convinced; I think you all repeat assertions too emphatically and are ultimately short on data, mostly anecdotal, and are telling the story only from the motorcyclists’ point of view. You do not provide enough evidence to sway a car driver into supporting what essentially seems like allowing motorcyclists to cut in line. Once one commits to the premise of sharing lanes, what’s to prevent a car from moving into a lane already occupied by a motorcyclist when they want to pass a slower vehicle? Can you have it both ways?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Bikes have great vision, brakes, handling and stuff like that. They don’t have a steel cage around you. Movement = control = safety. Come out and try it some time, I think you’ll understand why splitting just makes sense.

      • Ray

        What makes lane-splitting dangerous where I ride is hostility to it, and car drivers do know it is illegal. I’d say that one in ten or twenty drivers edge toward me and seek to block my progress between lanes if they see me coming in their side mirror. I generally only do this in stopped or crawling traffic on the BQE or other highways, and regularly, though not on surface streets.

        If you want to seriously lobby this or other issues for legislators, I’d love to contribute, but it needs to be supported by harder data and rationale. I’d also be interested in looking at the history of HOW California came to break with all other DOT policy on this issue.

        I wil say that educating drivers is a start. In this and other issues, I am totally with you that the AMA needs to grow to imagine motorcycles represent an environmental constituency. I am generally horrified by their libertarian electioneering this past fall. As a charter life member, I have some clout there, and I’d like to see them represent all motorcyclists rather than the side of the political spectrum that represents the motorcycle industry. Where’s Grant these days?

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Yeah, I mean we’re making a show, not a formal petition to change a law. As such, it has to be as entertaining as it is informative.

          Any organized effort to implement pro-lane splitting legislation would need to come from a body like the AMA, and then be supported by publications like us.

        • http://twitter.com/KeyserBroze JB

          From what I gather, lane splitting in CA had nothing to do with making traffic more efficient in its inception. The idea was to give air cooled motorcycle engines the ability to move into fresher, cooler air during traffic jams. The law was instated at a time when most cars had moved to liquid cooling and bikes were still mostly air cooled, thus leaving them at a severe disadvantage in stand-still traffic. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can correct me.

        • Mary

          I know this is a dead thread but…
          Part of the hostility is because it’s illegal in other states. In CA, CHP is making efforts to educate drivers about checking for motorcyclists. I split lanes on my commute and most drivers move out of the way when they see me (even though it’s unnecessary). I think they understand that a rider on the road is one less car to cause traffic.

  • normax004

    As long as you’re doing Flashbacks (Cody Lundin), I would like more Pierre Camembert! C’est manifique!

  • Mister X

    Apologies for the slam, but many young guys feel that ‘old guys’ don’t have any value or know how to ‘live’, or some other crapola and that’s nonsense, we slow down because our bodies force us to as we age.

    And mark my words, you will be surprised at how ‘fast’ older age comes upon you while we’re busy living your active life.

    And as a great grandfather all my gear fits very nicely, I hate baggy clothes/gear, and just because a few safety Nazis wear day-glow suits doesn’t mean we ALL like them, sometimes good guys don’t wear white.

  • Mister X

    I’ve been riding on the street in CA for 44 years, and in populated areas, lane splitting is the bomb, totally makes traffic manageable.

    I’m not crazy fast about it though like some of the younger guys who don’t yet realize that they aren’t immortal, I take it fairly slow because I’ve had idiots see me coming in their side view mirror and attempt to block me with a squeeze play, kinda scary when that happens.

    And don’t forget in the summer when peoples vehicle windows are open, anything, and I’ve seen it all, may come flying out at any time, intentionally or not, as these kinds of folks are often a couple of quarts low in the consciousness department, so watch in upcoming vehicles mirrors as often as possible for clues that this and sudden lane changes may happen.

  • karlInSanDiego

    I split daily in San Diego – filtering does add a degree of safety, but splitting does not, IMO, more to go wrong, smaller margin for error. Even here where it’s common cars are often unaware you’re coming which increases your chance of getting clipped by someone who makes a quick change without careful checking. My tips:
    as mentioned but not explained in the video, when there’s a space for a car to make a lane change and you are filtering, you are at the greatest risk, treat it almost like flashing red signal. It’s nice to say I’m not cutting ahead and making everyone else later, but if I filter with two other bikes and tip two of those bikes in ahead of the lead cars as shown in the video, there is literally no other way for a car driver to interpret this. I try to counter bad vibes by staying between the two lead cars when I stop, always a shoulder ahead to get their attention. Equally important, get gone when the light goes green. A valuable benifit of filtering, is enjoying a traffic free bubble after a quick squirt on the green light. And if you make the next light and the cars behind do not, you haven’t slowed their commute, at least directly. If however, you cruise to the next light and take a full lane, you have in fact pushed everyone back, and they are aware of it. I do not filter forward on the outside of a left turn lane, or split filter if it’s two turning lanes. Taking off at a turn through an intersection (with extra birth of lean) and trying to joust for the lead is a recipe for dumb.

  • magiced

    Fantastic episode fellas, your best by far yet! Good use of graphics, i especially liked the how to lane split captions, really good use of font and text positioning.

    Jamie is a great presenter, and manages to come across as really genuine
    and natural, without seeming over rehearsed or over polished at all, and you can see he’s getting more comfortable in front of the camera since the first few episodes he was in.

    Also, how was the zero? Is that the new model, and if so, will you be revisiting your living with an electric bike test with it?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      That a 2011 or 2012 S I believe, heavily modified by Hollywood Electrics.

      We’ll definitely test the 2013s at some point.

  • KeithB

    We don’t have lane splitting anywhere in Canada and I live in Toronto where traffic congestion is much like LA. Sometimes, I will split lanes downtown between parked cars and the open lane but out on the 400 series highways would be suicide!
    Many times I am sitting on my bike , stopped in traffic on a multi lane highway thinking WTF is the problem with me filtering through slow or stopped traffic?
    This is also a province where motorcycles can’t use the HOV lanes on highways!
    I’m shakin’ my head here…

  • Ben Wipperman

    Do California roads have the dreaded combination of paint and reflective road nipples as lane markers? I think about that when I consider splitting lanes here in Texas. Sure, even with “just” paint you don’t want to ride right on it, but those nipples certainly add a different factor.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Yeah, remember that splitting occurs literally everywhere else in the world, so somewhere, at some time, riders are dealing with any obstacle you can think of.

      • Ben Wipperman

        Good call, Wes, thanks you for the perspective. I think I really need to get some offroad time to develop more confidence with debris and crappy roads. Particularly mid-turn.

  • Hoover Niebold

    I say lane split all you want. Unfortunately I’m confined to my lane because I use a truck for work. A dually with an eight foot wide flat bed that’s twelve feet long with large fixed steel mirrors that protrude 18 inches from each side of the cab. It literally fills my entire lane with the mirrors nearly over the line on each side. Would moving slightly right or left be considered lane splitting?

  • Andrew

    Maybe a more realistic change for the rest of the 49 states is legalizing only stop light filtering. This way motos can avoid being rear ended and get to the front of the line without so much potential for the high speed lane change related crashes everyone has talked about.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Lane splitting laws are always a bit of a grey area, but nowhere is it legally tolerated at highway speeds. The unwritten rule in CA seems to be that the cops don’t mind at a traffic speed of up to 45mph (this is on the highway, not surface streets where traffic needs to be much slower) and so long as your relative speed to that traffic isn’t faster than about 20mph.

      The dynamics of lane splitting don’t change if traffic is going 2mph or 45mph, you just adjust your relative speed accordingly. That 10-20mph differential still applies and your brakes, reaction time, ability to steer and whatnot remain the same.

      It’s that ability to use our superior vision, brakes, handling and awareness that makes lane splitting safer for motorcycles. Going faster than traffic puts you in charge of your interaction with cars. Sitting in traffic makes you a passive participant, subject to the errors of others.

      This is simply the way motorcycles are meant to operate.

      It’s really, really, really not hard at all to avoid bad drivers. Even a car veering wildly, sharply and abruptly is doing so at a much lower degree than a decent bike and decent rider are capable of.

      • http://twitter.com/ADEYSWORLD adey

        “It’s really, really, really not hard at all to avoid bad drivers. Even a car veering wildly, sharply and abruptly is doing so at a much lower degree than a decent bike and decent rider are capable of.” Only a few and I MEAN a FEW people will be able to comprehend this statement without getting their panties in a bunch.

      • Ben Wipperman

        Thanks for spelling this out, Wes. I went back to the original HFL “how to lane split” article by Sean “The Catheter Catastrophe” Smith and asked that question for detail after finding none on the CHP site. Lesson: check old posts for info, ask followup questions on the new one.

  • TestSalad

    If a motorcycle is filtering and they hit my car when I’m changing lanes; am I liable?

    • George Roberts

      If you hit them, yes. If they hit you, no. If you can managed to prove either in a court of a law, it would be a miracle.

      Sadly for us, in the real world most riders are automatically assigned blame in this type of accident. Even in clear-cut cases where a car strikes a motorcyclist, all it takes is the magic of mentioning lane-splitting to burn the biker.

  • Mitchell Cardwell

    What are you shooting the show with?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      5D, GoPros, etc.

      • Mitchell Cardwell

        Gotta love the 5D and you guys are doing a great job of tweaking the GoPro to match.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karenkthomson Karen Thomson

    This is a fantastic video. It really makes the points of how motorcyclists must take ownership of their own safety and the benefits of Lane Splitting. Everyone who is considering riding in California &/or Europe should watch this video.

    I would love to use this video in a presentation I am creating on Motorcycle Touring and the Responsible Rider. I will be giving it first in March at the EURO MOTO 2013 motorcycle show in Lynnwood, Washington as the owner/operator of AVID MotoTours, a motorcycle tour company. Please let me know what it would take to comply with your copyright.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Hey Karen. Email me on wes at rideapart dot com and we can talk about that.

  • orthorim

    Living in Thailand, I find this debate amusing. Usual traffic here is that scooters and bikes go anywhere there’s room. When in the car, they’re constantly streaming by left and right. Cars have the right of way by virtue of being bigger – driving a car, I can just ignore all those bikes as long as I follow the one rule: Lane changes have to be very, very slow so all the bikes have time to get out of the way.

    If you tried to explain the lane splitting controversy to a Thai person they wouldn’t even know what you’re talking about.

  • Darragh McD

    Autoblog just posted a link to this Vid today, with a little poll giving three options: lane splitting is good; lane splitting is dangerous; and i’m not sure”. another car site getting their readers opinions. comments are just starting to filter into it…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1238621024 Valko Yotov

    lane splitting me style:

    Helmet: 60 bucks new MT Thunder full face
    Jacket: 30 bucks Frank Thomas from fleabay
    Gloves: 30 bucks new Spada Junction WP

    better results with less money :-)

  • Kevin

    The CHP has lane-splitting safety guidelines here: http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html

    My favorite touch is they added tips for drivers:

    Messages for Other Vehicle Drivers

    1) Lane splitting by motorcycles is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.

    2) Motorists should not take it upon themselves to discourage motorcyclists from lane splitting.

    3) Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal (CVC 22400).

    4) Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcycle is illegal (CVC 22517).

    5) Never drive while distracted.

    6) You can help keep motorcyclists and all road users safe by

    Checking mirrors and blind spots, especially before changing lanes or turning

    Signaling your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic

    Allowing more following distance, three or four seconds, when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency

  • Scott

    I lane split in Los Angeles, in fact in the video they pass the office i work in a few times.

    it is true you have to be more alert and ready for anything, I have had someone open a door on me as I approached, i have seen people on phones and doing their nails while driving their SUV’s, shaving, reading their ipad’s, etc, Ive been hit in the shoulder from behind by bicycles hanging way past the side of the SUV. Everyone seems more interested in the phone, plus one other thing.

    Ive been riding for 25 years and it appears it is getting worse every day. But i can still make it from my home to Hollywood in less than 30 minutes by lane splitting vs an hour to an hour and a half in my car, and that is nearly 2 extra hours a day, I get to spend with my daughter.

    One thing for sure, is you need really good gear (leathers, helmets, gloves etc) to ride the white line with any confidence

  • yipY

    Slow speed splittin’ is just dandy but I find 100mph wheelie splitting a tad too much adrenaline that requires a good cigar and a spot of tiger wrestling shortly after arriving home in order to chill and resume a civilized life at a human pace.

  • yipY

    On sportbikes and big old standards using the rear brake around fast tight or off camber corners make bikes hug the desired line far better:it “sucks”them into the corner.The rear brake controls wheelies and Stoner would have used his to control wheel spin sometimes.

  • MarkinArl

    In Massachusetts, lane splitting is illegal for motorcycles, but legal and extremely common for bicycles, especially when stopped at traffic lights. I have submitted a bill, H.3062, which among other things makes laws for bicycles the same as other vehicles. Proposing to make lane splitting illegal for bicycles I hope would feed reconsideration for motorcycles. In general, I hope motorcycle promotion is leveraged using all the pro bicycle agenda. BTW, here, only 50cc max bikes are allowed in bicycle lanes.

  • ljhughes8

    i always ride when i can. when i hit you split lanes and i ride a goldwing.

  • disqus_QbLfNxsRjA

    I ride in California and lane split when traffic slows, but if traffic is moving good speed, I stay in the lane.

    As a driver, I have to say it is kind of rude for a bike to filter up at a stop light, pull in front of you, and then when the light changes, go slow and hold traffic flow. Seen it several times, scooter or 250 or novice rider, pull to the front and then go and everyone is trying to get around them. I also do not like riders abusing the splitting, going way over speed.