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Lane splitting

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by abvc, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. Hello, I got some questions about lane splitting...
    1. If there is only 1 white stripe at the front, and the front car already occupy this, do you stand beside the car, or get beyond the white stripe, or do something else?
    2. When there are long line of cars and it is expected you won't make it in time and not much space for a bike in between, do you keep going and slip in the front wheel between cars in somewhere in the line?

  2. It all depends on the situation.

    On a GPX250 I'd wanna be a bit ahead of the front cars so they know you're there for one thing, but if you're at a intersection with lots of pedestrians and stuff around then moving ahead might be a bit inconvenient.

    You also want to try and keep an eye on the lights that the cross traffic is using to see when they switch to yellow so you can get the jump on the cars next to you, not much fun being in a Commodore sandwich.

    If there's a long line and you won't make the front you can try and find a gap to sneak into, sometimes there's enough room to pull right in, other times you'll be stuck in the middle and have to force your way in somewhere as the cars start moving off.
    Best to be moving along if you need to force your way in, bikes don't need much of a gap.

    The more you do it the better you'll become at reading the situations and working out what to do.
    If you plan on pushing in at the front a lot I hope your good at quick takeoffs on your GPX because plenty of drivers will try to blow you away, it's easier to fly off the line on a bigger bike.

    You could also read here.


    Disclaimer: For closed circuit use only lol
  3. Be where ever, just aslong as you know you can accelerate faster then everyone else, also lane splitting with out bikes, do not cross lanes and if there is one behind you move out of their way so they aren't stuck between cars.
  4. Lane Splitting in general is a touchy subject...

    I have spoken to several cops about it and all have had different opions.

    Because there is no CLEAR, defining law about the intricacies of lane splitting, the "understanding" of it is a little murky.

    Some say: Yes you can lane split as long as:
    You only do it while traffic is stationary at a set of lights and you proceed in a cautious, safe manner &,
    You split on the ride hand side of the lane. Undertaking is illegal.

    Others say: No you cannot do it as its illegal and some cops WILL fine you!

    I guess its just the luck of the draw... I split a lot of the time but if i see a cop car, i wont just in case it has "one of those" cops driving behind the wheel.

    I cant wait for that final day when the law is clearly defined and we all know what the hell si going on!!!! :shock:

    Safe Riding
  5. that will be the day when they say no you can not do it :(
  6. And the lucky Queenslanders can legally pass a stationary line of traffic on the left.
  7. i lane split for the first time today, just thought, hmm big gap, and felt awesome

    had to take off pretty quick though...not an easy task on my bike lol
  8. Absolutely! The less definition the better, as far as I'm concerned.
    But if you're talking practicalities rather than the law, abvc, then for my money:
    1. Go in front of the leading car rather than beside it, and
    2. Try not to go further forward unless you're sure you can get to either a gap, or the front, before traffic starts to move. This won't work all the time, and in those situations, yes, you will have to try and slip back into the lane wherever you can.
    Just my (illegal) opinion. You make your own choices.
  9. I decided while riding yesterday to have my first go at splitting where i felt the gap was big enough for me to comfortably split, and that one thing i did notice is that i had to give the bike a really hard spurt just to stay out in front of a stock commodore! damn 250cc's and me being 100kgs!
  10. Does make it tricky! Can't say I had any trouble with your average 6-cylinder, but I was a little lighter and on a slightly more gutsy 250. ;)

    Generally though, even a 250 can get to 60km/h before most cars will, so as long take off quickly and move into the lane with the slowest car, there shouldn't be a problem.
  11. Hey Grey, could you possibly explain this one further?? I'm from Brisbane, so anything which makes me "lucky" to live here I should be aware of ;)
  12. You can't change the ccs on ur bike but ya can shave a few kgs ;)
    Hahaha. Nah seriously though the best way to not have to compete for a lane is to get your front wheel infront of their car. ie. once you've come up the middle choose which lane to take and dive your front wheel in. That way they are forced to let you go first.

    I learnt the hard way after a few faster cars nearly knocked me over.
  13. Just make sure some pri&k isnt running a red from the right or left if you have "pole position".
  14. one thing which has always bugged me about this is that because it is a gray area, motorcycle riding schools won't go near the subject for fear of being seen as endorsing a possibly illegal act. So, one incredibly valuable avenue of learning - ie from professional instructors - is cut off, and considering in many cases splitting embodies some of the most dangerous aspects of riding on the roads, that seems like a real shame.

    Sure, to an extent your buddies will fill you in, and you can pick up a lot just from going and doing it, but it sure would be nicer to have a more formal method of conveying the collective wisdom/experience of others as opposed to scraps you hear from your mates, close calls, or actual accidents which make you realise that yep that was kind of bad.

    As an example, and maybe in the hopes of passing on something to the OP*, a couple of things that I 'learnt' but wish I had been taught (for the record, none of this is new and everything I say here and more is quite thoroughly covered in https://netrider.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=26081 ) :
    1. When lane-splitting up to the lights, I always prefer to (where possible) go over the line and 'take' an actual lane, in order to make it clear I am in this lane.
    1b. Check your rear when you come to the lights while splitting. If there is another bike behind you, try to give them space to get into a lane as well.
    2. When about to lane split always check that the split is free (ie you aren't going to cut off another motorcyclist already doing it). Conversely, keep an eye on motorcyclists in a lane when you are splitting.
    3. Be VERY careful when splitting in gridlock past big vehicles you can't see through such as busses and vans, particularly in cbd areas at rush hour. Very often you will come across pedestrians darting through the traffic, assuming because its gridlocked they won't not checking
    4. Eyes open when splitting across an intersection. There can be vehicles going through this because the way is clear.
    5. I like to leave my mirrors slightly less than completely tight so I can pull them in if I need to fit through very narrow gaps :)
    6. If the traffic starts moving, try to stay away from big vehicles with large wheels. As opposed to denting someones paintwork if something goes wrong, you can actually fit under the frames of these vehicles and get squished.
    7. Get familiar with your regular roads. Often, there will be factors that affect your ability to make a good split. For instance, there are often times when I am willing to split more aggressively in familiar areas because I know e.g. the lights change slowly (reducing the chance traffic will start moving while I'm splitting), the road condition is good, there are no intersections for a while, the lanes widen up a little further ahead and so forth. Conversely, sometimes I won't split despite given an opportunity to do so because I'm on a banked road and the road turns slightly at these lights; I know the road condition is extremely poor/uneven and/or there's a pothole at this intersection, and it happens to be lightly raining, or I know there's always a lot of debris on the road here, which is going to make it harder to get clear of the traffic when the lights go green.

    I suppose where I am going with point #7 is that it is more than a matter of "I always split"/"I never split" - there are going to be specific and sometimes subtle factors relating to specific situations that will dictate whether or not it is appropriate to split in that instance.

    I know some of this should be obvious and commonsense, but some other things I personally hadn't thought of until they happened to me. For example #3, once while splitting in the city a pedestrian came out from the front of a bus 20m ahead of me, without so much of a glance. In this case I had plenty of time to stop (I wasn't exactly at burninating speed), but it made me think holy cow if I was a few seconds earlier that would most definitely have ended in tears.

    * For the record, I am not an expert rider and some of the advice I give may actually be downright dangerous. I'm aware the subject is constantly done to death but I commute daily to work on my bike, split practically every time and basically consider it the most dangerous thing I do on the bike. Subsequently I'm always happy to reopen the topic to see if I can pickup anything I don't already know.
  15. I tend to split maybe one light in 10 or so, and to have specific sets of lights that I like to split at, as adante said, because they have wide roads and long waits and nice spots at the front ahead of the lines.

    I don't split if I think the lights will change before I get to the front, but of course I don't always get this right, and it's usually no hassle to just pull in to one lane or another as the cars spread out by accelerating away from the lights at different races.

    I usually do try to get right in front of one car or other at the front rather than sit between them, then get away quickly, but I *always* look left and right for red light runners, don't just hit it and trust.

    I tend not to bother splitting if I'm going to make up only 1 or 2 car lengths, but only if I'm going to make up quite a bit of time. It is riskier than waiting (chance of being rear-ended, which is always carefully watched and prepared for, notwithstanding), so I use it sparingly. Others' milage may vary.

    Splitting is legal in Queensland but not in other states... someone quoted the actual law here a while ago but I can't recall. That makes me happy...

    But yeah, do look over your shoulder as well as into your mirror before heading between the lanes - nearly got cleaned up from behind by a scooter splitting past me by not doing that one day!
  16. Nah seriously, with that kinda stupid/ridiculous/dangerous advice its a suprise you havent been
    knocked down yet.

    & if thats the thought processes you have when on the road, one day you will dive in front of
    a motorist thinking you have forced them to let you go first, & unfortunately that may very well
    be the last mistake you ever make dude.

    Think about it.
  18. Well I haven't - luckily.

    From my experience every time I've come to a redlight after lane splitting without moving into a lane then I am forced to compete with the cars beside me. What I've started doing is once I've reached the front of stopped traffic I choose a lane and move into it as much as possible.

    I always take off faster than traffic anyway, but it has stopped the johnny gelatos trying to race me off of the lights. The only issue I can see here is a driver not looking infront of them when taking off - but I do try to make as much noise as possible. That and I figure they've got a much better chance of seeing me if I'm infront of their car than beside their passenger door or blocked out by the pillar of their car door.

    If I've got it wrong explain it to me, no point in wasting your time telling someone they're wrong if you're not going to say why.

    Edit: Adante & Bravus have said similar things dude, I apologise if I've given some other impression - maybe you thought I meant during moving traffic.. Also, on Adante's note about knowing the roads - be careful about grooves in roads - especially if there are wheel grooves that have pushed the road up in the centre of the lanes. The other day I was slowly splitting through traffic when I hit a huge groove and my bike nearly dove into a car. oops. :p Since then I've always paid massive attention to the surface of the road as well as other cars when lane splitting.
  19. Just having your front wheel in front doesn't block a car. I used to do that until a couple anticipated the lights and cut around me, almost knocking me off. If you want to say "I'm going first" pull right in front of the car, but make sure the lights are nowhere near changing in case they move forwards as you're cutting across them. I've had that one too :( I've learnt that, if you're not sure about the lights, wait between cars but over the line. If I know the lights and they're nowhere near changing to green I'll cut in front of the car but with plenty of room, just in case they rolled as I cut across. Some people see another moving vehicle going in the same direction and think the light must be green, and so start to take off. It's better to be well over the line than taking chances being too close to the car.

    Basically, I don't want to get caught between the split and the full blocking of the car. If you have time, block the car completely, make eye contact and regardless of their response, give a thankyou wave and when the light's green - quick check for red-light runners and get outa there!
  20. Some of you might find this a slightly better variation on gewtting going when the lights change...

    Watch the traffic and the lights in one direction - this way you can see when the lights are about to change, AND you can make sure traffic from THAT direction is actually stopping.
    Then you only have to worry about one direction...get ready to go, and switch your view to the other direction and the lights facing you...if everyone is obviously stopping or stopped and the lights go to green...away you go with a fair chance of safety.
    (But always be prepared for the idiots out there)