Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lane Splitting...CRAZY or NECESSARY?!

Have you ever tried lane splitting?  What is lane splitting you ask?  I say it's nuts!  But, in some situations it's absolutely necessary, even if not legal.

In general, lane splitting refers to a motorcycle being ridden between lanes of vehicles that are moving in the same direction, passing stopped or slower traffic.

If you frequent the highways and byways of California, either as a bike rider or a cage driver you've experienced this first hand.  Of course, if you've driven or ridden the roads of California you totally understand why bikers choose to split lanes; traffic is constant and congested, at least in my experience.  And as dangerous as it seems, I too have split lanes while stuck in traffic between San Diego and L.A.

But it's now more dangerous than ever.  It seems that virtually all cage drivers are on the cell phone, talking or texting, despite its illegality in many cities and states.  So splitting lanes, especially today, is a death-defying act.

On the otherhand, imagine sitting in rush hour traffic in Phoenix during the warmer (hotter!) months of the year and watching and listening to your air-cooled engine slowly dying from overheating.  I have had to suffer that situation on too many occasions.  While it's not legal in Arizona to split lanes, I know many bikers who do so when stalled in traffic, and I think appropriately so.  If you find yourself stuck in traffic in a high heat situation the choices seem to be risk a ticket and save your engine or sit and listen to your engine dissolve beneath you.  I'll go with the risk for the ticket; it's a lot cheaper than a new engine which could easily cost thousands of dollars.

And, lastly, there's always the risk taker that thinks splitting lanes, even when there's no need for it is a fun and exciting way to make the commute, some of them pulling wheelies while splitting the lanes.  Exciting to see?  Yes.  Nothing wrong with wheelies in my opinion, but when you are putting others at risk it's stupid.

Does your state allow lane splitting?  Would you do it?

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