Author Topic: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?  (Read 5200 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Centex

  • Moped
  • **
  • Posts: 222
    • Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association
  • AREA: South Central Area
  • COG#: 9476
  • Membership Level: Expired - Expired Term
Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« on: December 17, 2011, 06:13:40 am »
In a separate thread about a specific lane-splitting ticket, member "PopPop" mentioned an October, 2011 Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN) article about lane sharing.  I'm starting this thread for discussion of ideas presented in that article which are very different from the subject of the 'ticket' thread about unilateral lane-splitting in a state where it is not an accepted practice.

Thanks, PopPop, for mentioning the MCN article by Steve Guderian titled "Lane Sharing - Not a Hazard, But a Global Solution for Motorcycle Safety".  I got a copy and as you implied, it is provocative and presents data that make me rethink my opinion of the practice.  I encourage anyone that's interested in the subject of motorcycle safety to read the article.  Unfortunately, the article is not available online. I won’t post or provide copyrighted material, but here’s a brief summary:

Mr. Guderian posits that:

1.   Rear-end collisions, both ‘by and upon’ motorcycles, are a significant cause of motorcycle fatalities.
2.   Rear-end collisions, both ‘by and upon’ motorcycles, are significantly reduced in locations where lane sharing is accepted in comparison to locations where lane sharing is not practiced.

As I use the phrases, ‘by a motorcycle’ refers to cases when the bike rear ends a vehicle; ‘upon a motorcycle’ refers to cases when the bike is hit from behind.  Mr. Guderian presents data for both situations separately in his report.

Mr. Guderian uses US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accident data to support his position.  He compares data for California (the accepted lane sharing location) with data for Texas, Florida and Arizona (locations with similar weather and riding seasons but where lane sharing is not practiced).  National averages for the data are also presented.  The accident data seems fairly presented and seems, to me, to rationally support Mr. Guderian’s position.

Mr. Guderian further posits that:

3.   Where lane sharing is practiced it is likely that accidents of a type not seen where lane sharing is not practiced will occur.
4.   The types of accidents that occur when lane sharing are less serious than rear-end collisions and therefore there is a ‘net gain’ in motorcycle safety where lane sharing is practiced.

Mr. Guderian relies more on intuitive and rational discussion than on statistical data to support his position about these last two points.  Some general data relating to lane sharing accidents in California and in Europe (where he says lane sharing has long been practiced and is known as “traffic filtering”) are used to support these last two positions.

Mr. Guderian is careful to point-out that in both California and Europe, safe lane sharing is a function of both rider and driver awareness and acceptance.  He also acknowledges that it is possible to lane-share in an unsafe manner.

In his concluding paragraphs, Mr. Guderian seems to suggest that wider implementation of lane sharing as a practice could provide a safer environment for motorcyclists.


I have never lived in a place where lane sharing is practiced and from afar, I’ve long considered it an insane endeavor practiced by fools who value time more than life.  The data presented in the MCN article is the first to cause me to consider a different perspective on the subject.

That notwithstanding, I have trouble with the idea that lane sharing could be introduced in locations where it is not currently practiced with positive results.  It is my understanding that in both California and Europe, the practice of lane sharing has evolved with all other road-use habits since the dawn of motorized transportation.

Each generation has learned to drive and ride with lane sharing as much a part of the process as red, yellow and green traffic lights.  Surely there are driving habits that are particular to lane sharing that must be learned and implemented by both riders and drivers for the practice to be safe.  I can only imagine that a phase-in of lane sharing in a place where it is not already institutionalized would result in an extraordinary number of lane sharing related accidents.  Who can predict if that learning-curve cost would be worth the gain that seems to be present after lane sharing has been long accepted as suggested by Mr. Guderian’s article?

Even if I accept the safety benefits for riders that seem to come with lane sharing in California, I would not want to see lane sharing made explicitly legal in my home state of Texas.  Both as a driver and as a rider, I’m concerned that too many folks in both seats would pay too high a price for too long until everyone learned the new rules of the road.  In this case, I think the tuition is not worth the benefit of graduation.


« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 06:40:46 am by Centex »
Alan in Central Texas
2004 Pearl Black Connie
2001 Ducati M750

Offline Centex

  • Moped
  • **
  • Posts: 222
    • Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association
  • AREA: South Central Area
  • COG#: 9476
  • Membership Level: Expired - Expired Term
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2011, 06:32:31 am »
I should also point-out that Mr. Guderian's article has prompted a bit of discussion on MCN's forums:

A thread here,

and another here.

And an MCN Forum thread with lane-sharing anecdotes.
Alan in Central Texas
2004 Pearl Black Connie
2001 Ducati M750

Offline Diff22000

  • Tricycle
  • Posts: 39
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: forum
  • Membership Level: Expired - Expired Term
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2011, 09:09:32 am »
Hi All,

I live in the UK and we are allowed to 'filter/lane split".  It can save you hours on some journeys but if done wrong can land you in hospital.

The rules I go by are as follows
I don't filter if the traffic is going at more than 20mph.
I dont filter at a speed of more than 20mph as I want to be able to stop if a car suddenly pulls from one lane to the other.
I always thank car drivers who move over, just a quick wave or a nod of the head.
I am always covering the brakes and clutch whilst filtering.
Never weave between lanes, it only antagonises other road users.
Look out for motorcyclists coming up from behind at a greater speed and move over to let them pass, never get pressured into going faster than you feel safe.
Watch got people sticking arms etc out of vehicles.
Pay special attention to drivers using mobile telephones as they probably wont see you.

Have a look at this clip.  Nigel is an advanced police motorcycle instructor.

M5 - M6 Motorway Filtering on motorcycle


Also have a look at this clip as this rider is also an advanced motorcyclist who shows again, how to 'filter' safely

Tips on filtering or lane splitting


Best wishes

Colin.

Offline PopPop

  • Tricycle
  • Posts: 26
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: forum
  • Membership Level: Forum Subscriber
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2011, 09:10:26 am »
Centex,

Good job of capsulizing the article. I share many of your concerns.  Living in the I-95 corridor between Philly and Baltimore I certainly share the concerns about how a change like this would be accepted and how dangerous it could be to implement it.  I'm not sure that's a risk I would be willing go take.  What the article did do for me is to help me rethink my very strong feelings against lane sharing in Ca where it has been legal for years.  I'll be in Ca. this summer when we go to the MotoGP race and it will be interesting to observe it first hand.

Offline ChipDoc

  • Sport Tourer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2706
  • Work to ride - Ride to work!
  • AREA: Southeast Area
  • COG#: 9934
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2011, 10:35:32 am »
Thanks for sharing those videos, Colin.  Before I saw them I was fairly ambivalent about lane-splitting or filtering.  If you wanted to do it, I wasn't going to object, but I wasn't going to follow you either.  I'm just not in that much of a hurry.

But having watched Nigel (an advanced police motorcycle instructor who probably understands the mechanics of riding better than I ever will) I find that type of riding to be utterly suicidal on the US Interstates.   We simply don't drive that way over here.  Our cars zip back and forth between lanes as each cage driver tries to get a few extra feet ahead.  And they'll do it with no warning whatsoever.  Turn signals?  What the heck are THEY for?  Perhaps it's a cultural thing and people are simply not as crazy in Europe than they are here.  Perhaps it's that a larger percentage of drivers have ridden bikes. 

I stay alive by being able to anticipate what that guy ahead of me is about to do and in that six minute clip I saw DOZENS of instances where drivers on my local super-slab would have darted right across the lane divider and creamed poor Nigel.  I can't say that I have NEVER used the maneuverability of my bike to scoot through small holes occasionally, but if I drove here the way he does there, I'd be dead.

Offline ConcoursKZ

  • Sport Tourer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2747
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: Forum
  • Membership Level: Forum Subscriber
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2011, 11:03:41 am »
I lived in San Diego for years and it was common practice. In Ohio I am betting if I tried it people would purposely move into your way and cut you off. It should be legal but drivers today have little or no common sense and only think of themselves. Tim
2008 Concours ABS 1976 KZ 900 B1   CDA#387
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Offline S Smith

  • Northeast Area Director
  • Officer
  • I Need a Life
  • ****
  • Posts: 5276
    • COG Northeast Area Home Page
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: 3184
  • Membership Level: Administrator
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2011, 11:30:51 am »
It seems the concept of "filtering" can have value in society that considers motorcycles a mode of transportation and not a form of recreation, all operators are trained on the benefits and methods, and where the technique is applied in a legal manner.

I lived in San Diego for years and it was common practice. In Ohio I am betting if I tried it people would purposely move into your way and cut you off. It should be legal but drivers today have little or no common sense and only think of themselves. Tim

A question for For Tim and other who have lived in CA other states... How about educating us with unbiased comparisons and differences of riding in both environments.  I've driven in CA, but never ridden. The freeway system is designed with wider lanes than we have here in the northeast.  Even if legalized here in the northeast, it will take a generation or two before "filtering" will work as well as shown the UK videos. 

| Steve Smith | COG #3184 | MSF/CONREP RC |

There is more to be gained by members raising hands saying "I'll do that" instead of pointing fingers saying "nobody's doing that."

Offline ConcoursKZ

  • Sport Tourer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2747
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: Forum
  • Membership Level: Forum Subscriber
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2011, 12:39:59 pm »
It seems the concept of "filtering" can have value in society that considers motorcycles a mode of transportation and not a form of recreation, all operators are trained on the benefits and methods, and where the technique is applied in a legal manner.

I lived in San Diego for years and it was common practice. In Ohio I am betting if I tried it people would purposely move into your way and cut you off. It should be legal but drivers today have little or no common sense and only think of themselves. Tim

A question for For Tim and other who have lived in CA other states... How about educating us with unbiased comparisons and differences of riding in both environments.  I've driven in CA, but never ridden. The freeway system is designed with wider lanes than we have here in the northeast.  Even if legalized here in the northeast, it will take a generation or two before "filtering" will work as well as shown the UK videos.

I lived in San Diego from 1982 to 1996 and rode every day rain or shine for most of that time. I still get out there every year. I am sure I logged over 500,000 miles during that period. Southern California is by far the the most Motorcycle friendly area I have ever driven. All forms of bikes are on the road 12 months out of the year and motorists are familiar and respectful to them. The road conditions are also top notch as weather does not damage the surface. I always rode 10 miles over the flow of traffic and never knew anyone to get a ticket driving this way. You are more apt to get a ticket for following too close. Cars are used to Motorcycles year round. Ohio on the other hand is really a weekend and good weather state. Road conditions are totally different as loose gravel, foreign objects, chuck holes, and surface oil are common place. Only tough time in San Diego was after rain when you had not had rain in a while and the roads were like glass as the oil was brought up to the surface. San Diego drivers are incapable of driving in the rain.
In Ohio many drivers have an agenda and will not respect the rules of the road. Merging right to yield right of way to faster traffic is virtually non-existent. I-75 from Michigan to Kentucky is the best example of the worst drivers I have ever experienced. Ohio drivers are by far the worst I have ever seen. Michigan is great and they truly understand the merge right rule. The also drive faster than any other state. If you drive under 85 MPH on the Detroit Autobahn you will be passed by just about everyone and you better get out of the fast lane or Detroiters will move you out. If you like to drive fast Michigan is the place. Triple digit speeds are the norm. The minute you cross the border into Ohio it all changes.

In Ohio I have had to change the way I drive. I might be wrong but what has worked for me is actually putting a car in front of me at a safe distance as a blocker to protect me from cars pulling out in front of me.  Riding out in the open on side roads or main roads by myself lends Ohio drivers to pull right in front of me. They don't even see you. Ohio is also the only place I have ever seen where motorists get mad at you when they are in the wrong. Also if traffic is backed up on the freeway in Ohio and you pull your bike to the shoulder drivers will actually pull over and block you.

Cleveland Ohio would be exempt from the Ohio problems. Great City to ride in.  Terrible road conditions in some areas. A lot of Hardcore old school Color Riding Bikers. Very respectful and accepting of other than Harley brands. I have also found them to be the best actual Motorcycle riders. (lane position, side by side, etc) They will even let you ride with them if you know how to ride. Huge Harley town. A lot of old bikes on the road everyday. They actually will ride just about year round.

I bet if you tried to lane split in Ohio someone would open there door.

West Virginia I have found to have the best road condition anywhere. Outside of all the dead deer and other animals debris is non-existent. You will also never find a chuck hole.

If you speed in Indiana no matter what the flow of traffic you will be ticketed.

Kentucky drives slow and they merge right. Very nice and a lot of bikes year round. Lexington Ky has the best looking Women outside of San Diego...Tim
 
2008 Concours ABS 1976 KZ 900 B1   CDA#387
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Offline Diff22000

  • Tricycle
  • Posts: 39
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: forum
  • Membership Level: Expired - Expired Term
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2011, 01:01:12 pm »
Hi ChipDoc,

It sounds as though the problem will be how to educate car drivers to look out for "filtering" motorcycles, the practice is so common over here it is taken for granted.  It is a shame because once mastered and executed correctly it really does work well.

Best wishes

Colin

Offline Stasch

  • Crotch Rocket
  • ****
  • Posts: 1890
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 6830
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2011, 01:37:34 pm »
i spent a week in LA and was able to drive in their traffic and observe bikes lane splitting.

i felt safer driving there than back in MI in spite of the congestion in LA.

LA drivers are much better than the average MI driver in merging, accomodating other's merges, and cooperating with others in the constant busy traffic.

MI drivers seem to have no concept of fast lanes, turn signals, passing only on the left, moving to the right when faster traffic is behind them and the list goes on.

i would be very hesitant to lane split in MI if legalized, but wouldn't feel the same in LA based on what I experienced.
Stan Visser - COG#: 6830  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - > C10 STUFF FOR SALE - Parts List

He IS a racer, hence the forward lean!!  by: Mettler1

Offline Apeman

  • Bicycle
  • *
  • Posts: 50
  • AREA: Southwest Area
  • COG#: 9793
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2011, 08:42:57 pm »
I live in Berkeley, and at least two days a week (sometimes five) I commute by motorcycle across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.  The traffic is extremely dense with all lanes filled with bumper to bumper traffic going between 35 and 60 mph.  For the seven miles while on the Bay Bridge the traffic lanes are narrower than the typical freeway.   The bridge is double decked, west on the upper deck, and east on the lower, so there is no risk to anyone from any opposing traffic. 

When I can I "lane share", the California bikers' name for lane splitting.  There are many, many bikers in the sea of cars and trucks.   Most split between the #1 and #2 lanes, at a speed differential of about 10-15 mph.   The commuter car drivers are accustomed to this, and generally give up a little of their already tight space to the bikers splitting.  Trucks and buses also use all five lanes, and generally have no extra room to give.   Passing them requires a break in traffic, or a maneuver over to an adjacent lane.  A rider must use all his skills.  Besides the traffic, the bridge has a lot of ups and downs and curves, and a short tight tunnel in the middle where it goes through the top of Angel Island.

The experience is much like running along with a very close herd of elephants on the move.  The elephants mean you no harm generally, and sometimes know you are there, but often they do not.    It is the job of the biker to keep him or herself out from harms way, to not get bumped by or run over by the elephants. 

Lane sharing lets you avoid those elephants coming from behind who do not see you.  It also lets you keep your distance from those who follow too close for comfort.  If you are in the "split", and traffic slows or stops suddenly, a biker can ease through the split space ahead and gain some protection. 

I am easily able to split on one of my old KZ750's , but it is more of a challenge on my Connie, which is much wider.  The guys on smaller sport bikes are able to zip through easily. 

I definitely save some time riding a bike and splitting, but splitting only save significant time if traffic is going at or near a standstill.  Filtering to the front at traffic lights in downtown San Francisco and Berkeley probably saves me ten or twenty minutes.  Splitting on the Bay Bridge in traffic probably only saves me a minute or two if traffic is already going at 35 mph or more.  The biggest time savings comes from being able to use the HOV lanes at the bridge approach, and thus being able to avoid the back-up at the toll plaza (which is often a 20 minute wait for a car).   

For me, lane splitting is a part of life as a biker.  It is certainly not for the inexperienced rider, nor for the inattentive. 

I have learned so much from the mistakes I have made.  1993 Concours, and three 1980-81 KZ750s.

Offline fartymarty

  • Crotch Rocket
  • ****
  • Posts: 1010
  • AREA: South Central Area
  • COG#: 9712
  • Membership Level: Asst. Area Director
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2011, 10:28:18 pm »
I fail to see how showing the videos of someone getting away with it, in anyway shows how to do it safely.

However the original post brings up a good discussion about perhaps avoiding rear end collisions
by "tucking in" and stopping. I could see where if the cagers got used to the idea and if the cyclist
didn't try to get ahead of anybody when traffic started to flow that it would be a good idea.  Of course
lane splitting would be acceptable as an escape route, so between the two, rear end collisions of either type
would be reduced. If I'm the last in line in stopped traffic my vision is glued to my mirrors and I'm flashin'
 the brake light if I see some one approaching at speed. It would be nice if it was an accepted practice of
tucking in between the last two vehicles in stopped traffic.
MI drivers seem to have no concept of fast lanes, turn signals, passing only on the left, moving to the right when faster traffic is behind them and the list goes on.

Oh don't pick on MI, those drivers are everywhere I've been, and in abundance. (No, I have not driven in CA, yet.)

« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 10:32:10 pm by fartymarty »

Offline ChipDoc

  • Sport Tourer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2706
  • Work to ride - Ride to work!
  • AREA: Southeast Area
  • COG#: 9934
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2011, 12:03:29 am »
I fail to see how showing the videos of someone getting away with it, in anyway shows how to do it safely.
Actually it does show that.  In order to do it safely, you have to be in an environment where the drivers of other vehicles are aware of the practice and amenable to it - neither of which is the case where I live.  Law or no law, I'm sticking to my lane except in the direst of emergencies.

Offline BJ_CT

  • Street Cruiser
  • ****
  • Posts: 745
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: 9058
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2011, 01:49:38 pm »
I'm with ChipDoc.  I try very hard not to be in that much of a hurry (unless I'm trying to keep up with Bob).  Admittedly easier to do as you get older (wiser). When I was young, I was lane splitting with my 442. ;D

Offline Cap'n Bob

  • GOLD STAR
  • *******
  • Posts: 10955
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: 7134
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2011, 04:16:17 pm »
I'm with ChipDoc.  I try very hard not to be in that much of a hurry (unless I'm trying to keep up with Bob).  Admittedly easier to do as you get older (wiser). When I was young, I was lane splitting with my 442. ;D


And just who may that be pray tell?   ::)

Offline Stasch

  • Crotch Rocket
  • ****
  • Posts: 1890
  • AREA: North Central Area
  • COG#: 6830
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2011, 03:20:20 am »
I'm only say MI since that's where I am at and do the most riding and driving.  I'm sure we don't have the market cornered!
Stan Visser - COG#: 6830  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - > C10 STUFF FOR SALE - Parts List

He IS a racer, hence the forward lean!!  by: Mettler1

Offline Slybones

  • Sport Tourer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2633
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 6953
  • Membership Level: Expired - Expired Term
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2011, 06:31:22 pm »
The interesting thing about this debate is the safety thing, and the idea that its safer when its done right is the definition of "done right" appears to be all over the place.

The original post and the articles mentioned are trading off being "rear ended" versus other type accidents ( such as some one opening a door taking out a rider ) not seen in non lane splitting states. There is a net gain in safety as the other type accidents tend to be less serious than rear end collisions with motorcycles. Reading the debate on other forums, it seems that CA has a lower rate of rear end collisions with M/C's that other states without. However those threads also bring plenty of debate to how the statistics are gathered and used. And we all pretty much know statistics can be made to show anything.

One person mentioned in this or the 'ticket' thread about wishing there was lane sharing when it was 100* and traffic was stopped. ATGATT is a bitch in this scenario. I too would consider lane sharing in this scenario. I have not been close to passing out yet, but this sucks. BTDT. I see this as more of a comfort factor. But can agree that passing out from heat exaustion is a safety risk. I also see someone mention about time saved.

In all I can see the time saving and comfort factors being advantages of lane sharing. but still wondering about safety. Why? Well because what I observe is the definition of "if done right" seems to be all over the place.

In the video we see the rider stays in lane and moves with the flow of traffic, and only lane shares when the traffic slows to a very slow pace and or stops.  I could see this reducing rear end collisions.

One poster says they go 10 over the flow of traffic. No mention of the speed or what the traffic flow condition is. So I assume this to mean any traffic even at normal traffic.

One poster who says that when traffic is at 35mph or above they only save a few minutes. And when traffic is 35 or below the time saved is much greater. The poster says "time saved" in the parapraph ( but not the whole post ) so my comments here are not meant to single this out. I am just 'thinking out loud' here on the forum for discussion purposes, and related to the argument of safety, how someone on a motorcycle is at risk of being 'rear ended' when traffic is moving 35mph or greater. Could it happen? Sure I guess it could. Anything is possible.  However thinking back to the statistics, and am betting the rear end collisions causing the fatalities where these statistics are gathered are when motorcycles are at or near a stop and an driver not paying attention rears end the vechicle in front of them. I simply fail to understand rear end collisions when traffic is flowing. Not that it could not happen, but I doubt this is the cause of the problem.

Of course this part is only my opinion. I can see where changing lanes and other sorts of hazards are at lower risk when traffic is stopped and all jammed up. Maybe not the door opening part, but for the most part I can accept that typical hazards of people changing lanes and such are lower when traffic is stopped. I can see where trained drivers who expect lane sharing have the extra time to devote to scanning for motorcycle sharing the lanes, when they are stopped versus moving. However I gotta wonder at speed, how is this true. I see people change lanes all the time at when the traffic is flowing. Even for a trained driver, I gotta wonder how much added time they have to devote to scanning for lane sharing when driving at speed.  I am just not seeing the 'safety" factor under these scenario's.

And so it would appear to me, reading these posts, that lane sharing is not really about safety, since it is performed at all sorts of speed and traffic flow conditions that have little to no risk of the thing they are safe from. And in many cases are just probably adding to the risk. IMO of course.
 
Still, when it 90* - 100* outside and traffic sucks, you just might find me doing it. Well if it were legal.
2003 Concours, 121K
2005 GL1800ABS, 52K
COG #6953, IBA 28004

Offline Dave Scott

  • I Need a Life
  • ******
  • Posts: 6840
  • AREA: Southeast Area
  • COG#: 8603
  • Membership Level: Asst. Area Director
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2011, 06:54:07 pm »
is anyone aware if construction processes in CA are different than other areas of the country with regard to lane widths?  Perhaps it's just because the motorist practice is to hang to the side of a lane in order to provide lane-sharing space, but I'm not sure if our roads around here are wide enough to safely accomplish the task.

Offline ConnieFan

  • Mini Bike
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • AREA: Southwest Area
  • COG#: forum
  • Membership Level: Expired - Expired Term
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2011, 09:39:18 pm »
Sport Rider:  Most states generally follow the guidelines of AASHTO for road designs.  Assuming this, CA lanes would be about 12 feet wide. 

When it comes to lane sharing, "done safely" involves both the rider and the car who is being required to share their lane.  You can be doing it as "correctly" as defined by whoever, but if the car does not see you, what difference does it make?  None of us wants to be dead right.

IMHO, the first issue is driver awareness.  They need to be aware that a m/c might be there.  If they are aware it might happen, then they may be more cognizant about checking before changing lanes. 

The other issue is relative speed; the speed difference between the m/c and the vehicles.  When you split with a greater speed difference, the car has less time to become a threat as you pass it.  That's good.  On the other hand, you have less time to react to the actions of a vehicle that changes lanes in front of you.  That's bad.  I suppose the ideal way would be to approach the vehicles at a lower speed difference, then pass quickly. 

Personally, it's not for me since it relies too much on the behavior of people who may be on their phones or texting or are just plain stupid.  They are dangerous enough in normal driving situations.  Well, that and lane sharing is not legal in AZ.  Should they ever legalize it here, I could see it in situations where the cars are moving slow or are stopped, but I'd only pass at low speed differences, the goal being to minimize the injury risk should some pull out in front of me.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Every day above ground is a good day.

Offline SantaCruzRider

  • Street Cruiser
  • ****
  • Posts: 586
  • AREA: Southwest Area
  • COG#: 8702
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2011, 10:20:25 pm »
I share lanes nearly every day I ride, with a 90 miles RT commute on California freeways and 4-lane mountain passes.

In my personal experience, it saves me both time and I believe is safer than not having the option. I know it's not statistically valid, but in 14 years of driving roughly the same daily route, I've been involved in 3 rear ending accidents in my car. On the bike, I've only had one near miss when I split past the car in front of me and the guy behind me hit the car I just passed.

As mentioned, every rider out here has different thoughts on what is "safe" lane sharing. Personally, I do it when traffic slows below 30-35,  and both lanes are moving at roughly the same speed (which greatly reduces cars hopping in front of you to switch to the faster lane). I also reduce my speed so that I'm only going 5-10 mph faster than cars that are virtually stopped. In practice, this allows me to quickly bypass accidents and often saves me 15-30 minutes each direction (the worse the pileup, the better my gains). Of course my personal guidelines mean that it's not at all unusual for me to be pulling aside to allow faster riders to push on through -- and I'm happy to do it.

As for the whole issue with people opening doors and such -- I've never seen it. I have had a couple folks honk in frustration or even abruptly pull their cars to close the "motorcycle lane." But I'm always moving slowly enough to react. And for every one of those, I've had 5 where people have cheered out the windows, yelling "lucky," or "take me with you."

More typical is the lane pinch that happens as motorists see you approaching in their rear view and start to follow their gaze and slowly turn towards your path. It usually lasts only a second, and then they snap awake and lurch out of the way. But the most prevalent reaction here in the Bay Area is for motorists to calmly turn out of your way and leave a huge path down the center of two lanes.

I personally believe it's this last reaction that is key to making the motorcycle lane more safe. It likely has come from years of California motorists experiencing bikers sharing the lane. I'd be willing to wager that lane sharing is far less safe (forget about legal) in states where a limited number of motorists are accustomed to it and fail to provide the space needed for safe sharing.

Just my 2 cents/experience.
Dan Breeden
Concourier editor emeritus (2015-'16), OtP tag-along rider 2017
'94 Concours; '02 FZ1

Offline ChipDoc

  • Sport Tourer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2706
  • Work to ride - Ride to work!
  • AREA: Southeast Area
  • COG#: 9934
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2011, 06:33:25 am »
IMHO, the first issue is driver awareness.  They need to be aware that a m/c might be there.  If they are aware it might happen, then they may be more cognizant about checking before changing lanes. 
More typical is the lane pinch that happens as motorists see you approaching in their rear view and start to follow their gaze and slowly turn towards your path. It usually lasts only a second, and then they snap awake and lurch out of the way. But the most prevalent reaction here in the Bay Area is for motorists to calmly turn out of your way and leave a huge path down the center of two lanes.
And this is the bottom line, I think.  There is really nothing which is going to make lane splitting safe by fiat in any place where it is not already common practice because it depends primarily on OTHER motorists to be aware of what's going on and willing to play along.  The riders in California and Europe and other places where it is already in place had to have, at one time, paid a price in blood to make it workable.

Everyone who is ticketed has at least survived the experience.

As far as motorists being "more cognizant about checking before changing lanes" goes... I've seen idiots pull in front of semi-trucks.  I'm certain that a motorcycle isn't going to be more conspicuous.

Offline Centex

  • Moped
  • **
  • Posts: 222
    • Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association
  • AREA: South Central Area
  • COG#: 9476
  • Membership Level: Expired - Expired Term
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2011, 10:14:59 am »
Lots of varied experience and opinion having a calm, rational and civil exchange of ideas here.

Looking forward to meeting some of y'all 'around the campfire at the National'.

 :beerchug:
Alan in Central Texas
2004 Pearl Black Connie
2001 Ducati M750

Offline Diff22000

  • Tricycle
  • Posts: 39
  • AREA: Northeast Area
  • COG#: forum
  • Membership Level: Expired - Expired Term
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2011, 05:48:20 pm »
If the traffic is doing more than 20-25 mph I dont bother, if it is slower than this I do it.  I never blast past the traffic as that would be suicide.  Slow steady progress as in the second vid is the way it is done over here and does indeed demonstrate it perfectly.  If filtering is not for you then so be it.  Over here as I say it is common and works very, very well.  And no I have not been in an accident and have been riding for many years without a ticket or an insurance claim.

Offline oldsawfiler

  • Crotch Rocket
  • ****
  • Posts: 1819
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 8062
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2011, 05:49:13 pm »
We need a pole. 
Well...even if you fall on your face you're still moving forward.

COG # 8062  AMA # 1084053  ROMA

Offline 2linby

  • Iron Butt
  • *****
  • Posts: 3711
  • I rode today, did you?
  • AREA: Northwest Area
  • COG#: 5539
  • Membership Level: Active
Re: Should Lane Sharing be Made Legal to Improve Safety?
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2011, 05:59:37 pm »
If it was legal and there was a universal advertising campaign to this effect, perhaps. But made legal without the publics broader knowledge I think there will be a lot more incidents and collisions resulting from ignorance and straight up arrogance from both cars and trucks AND motorcyclists than just collisions resulting from the everyday dangerous as heill inattentiveness we all experience.
"2linby" Get it? "Tooling by" "Everything is simple, but nothing is easy".
Ex NWAD, AAD, COG #5539, IBA #15034 TEAM OREGON MC Instructor, Mentor 2001 Sonic Blue  166K and counting!
http://tinyurl.com/njas8 (IBA BBG)
http://tinyurl.com/lwelx (Alaska trip