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Offline ren

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How I stopped lane splitting forever
« on: August 17, 2019, 05:46:35 AM »
So I had an accident a few months back (in california where lane splitting is legal).  I was hacking my commute a little too hard I think.  Got into some bad habits and next thing I know Im flying through the air.  All ended up ok minus one S1r and some lingering soreness.  I *wasnt* lane splitting when this happened.  I was coming up the right shoulder at a dead stopped intersection when someone did something unexpected just as I was passing them.

When I bought a new s1r, I got back on and started commuting to work like it never happened.  Except, of course..it did.  So mentally I had a problem on my hands.  I dont know if I was turning into a speed junky on the s1r or what (thats not my personality in general), but even after a not minor accident, I had zero absolutely zero fear of traffic, lane splitting or anything.  But I knew (and had promised my wife) I would make some changes.

For me personally, Im not the best at changing habits unless I have a real good reason.  An accident seemed like a real good reason, but deep down I realized I had to make a change against my instincts and use some higher part of my brain to slow down and ride safer.  When you have been commuting in brutal traffic for years with no incident or only one incident it seems like you have seen it all, but of course you haven't and hopefully never will. 

So mentally for me since I wasnt afraid of lane splitting but I wanted to ride safer all around, I needed a reason. And the reason I came up with was that being IN a lane in almost all situations is safer than NOT being in a lane.  And if that *is* true (some may argue its not or is highly situational), then lane splitting, ahem, 'contributes to mission failure'.  With the only mission being getting to work with myself in tact.  I needed to be reminded of the mission for sure. (Pardon the military sounding lingo).

Armed with this platitude, on my way home from work when the commute is at its worst, when I could feel my brain squirming sitting in traffic and heat, I started timing how long each slow down took until the next clearing.  8 mins here, 10 mins here, another 10 mins maybe later.  The slowdowns are generally all in roughly the same areas every day.  Once I understood the somewhat trivial amount of time saved compared to never walking again or dying, I never get impatient in traffic any more and my brain stopped even looking for opportunities to split.  (Except in the middle of completely stopped traffic within 15-20 yards of a light and slowly).

I know riding every day in commute traffic will never be a truly safe activity, but I thought for me this was a kind of a different mental approach since I never thought of myself as a risk taker and the fear was simply not there to do it automatically.  Anyway, I flash the peace sign when the splitters pass me on the right in commute traffic.  I'll see you out there. Be safe. ;)

Online zombie

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2019, 04:09:00 PM »
IMO, filtering (lane splitting when traffic is stopped or nearly stopped) is more or less safe... lane splitting (when traffic is moving) is not.

Maybe I'm wrong about the terms filtering and lane splitting, but that's my explanation.

It's not legal up here in Canada, so I don't really worry about it but watching various youtubers (Royal Jordanian, primarily) makes me wonder how he does it in London without having a heart attack.

Online SimonUK

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2019, 06:33:56 PM »
I 'filtered' into London(with a pillion) for over 2 years. I had never heard  of 'lane splitting' until I came to the US, so to me they are they same thing, just different countries. I never felt unsafe filtering in the UK. Would I do it here in the US? Hell no, even if it was legal, car drivers are generally only aware about and care about themselves. It seems that using mirrors and turn signals are optional, and if seems that someone has an advantage(ie lane splitting) their sole aim is to negate that advantage.

There are also laws to filtering:
only if the flow of traffic is below 20mph(or maybe 30, can't fully remember),
filter at no more than 5 to 10 mph above the speed of the flow of traffic



Just some of my thoughts


@Ren - very well worded thoughts  :028:

Offline DRoss

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2019, 07:49:14 PM »

Offline VARRAKK

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2019, 11:00:48 PM »
As long as the traffic is moving above lane splitting, I don't filter.
There is little to be gained time wise, when there's a red light I just move to the front.

You are the only one that is going to get hurt if something happens.
I'm not in that much of a hurry (and these bikes expensive to fix).

Offline windyrun

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2019, 01:04:57 AM »
 :0461:

Offline subs_p

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2019, 11:04:38 AM »
I used to commute into central London in all weather conditions (but on a CBF600). I have filtered at ridiculous speeds both in standstill traffic and in moving traffic upto 50mph. I feel unsafe only when theres a significant difference (of more than say 20mph) between my speed and the surrounding traffic. Every single time I do it, Im constantly thinking that one bad move from anyone in front could literally end my life. But the thing is, most car drivers dont really enjoy randomly changing lanes - its mainly boy racers whore trying to be cool and get ahead. I use a combination of a loud exhaust and blipping my Denali soundbomb horn to just make people aware of me on the road, and that has so far worked (touch wood). Its rare to run into a twat stuck in traffic who wont move over to let bikes through, but they do exist. Its also much safer to filter in a convoy of bikes (eg during morning rush) because as a group you immediately become far more visible. I think filtering is like everything else - its a necessary evil, but done correctly and carefully its safe.
The time reference is actually something else Ive been thinking about. I can only talk about London but would be interested in hearing thoughts from other cities - in such a rainy windy cold place, a car is obviously the far more comfortable choice to get around. But if you need to be somewhere quickly then you ride because you can filter and jump the queue at lights etc. But the thing is, significant time savings are only to be had in the middle of the city, if you come even a few miles out then most of the time traffic delays a car by only 10 or 15 mins compared to a bike. Of course if youre commuting into the city then you have to think about congestion charge (or buy an electric car) and parking (electric you may be, but parking shall never be free!). In London most of the time on a bike Id say I save 10mins per journey but thats discounting roadworks and accidents etc in which case its more like 30mins in central London. Anyone else had a similar experience?
CBF600N8 daily commuter
S1000R for sunny days

Offline ren

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2019, 09:17:57 PM »
When I was lane splitting, I would generally use my hazards (and it definitely improved visibility as drivers would see and part the waters sooner than without).  But in my accident which was caused by a driver simply making a turn without looking at all, I realized that visibility only matters if someone bothers to look in the first place.  People still obviously turn into you when you are in a lane properly without looking, which just changes the question to, was the fact that I was in a lane when the driver did that give me more space and time to stay out of their way and for them to realize they screwed up?  It seems to.  That berkeley study appears to conflate apples and oranges.  Because it doesnt address the issue of whether lane splitting riders in accidents would have been in an accident at all had they been in a lane.  Its comparing injuries and fatalities of different types of riding accidents.  I think its a subjective thing for most riders. I like most were using the metric of 'do I feel safe' about this.  I think our minds when measuring fear and risk in real time can convince us that our routine has shown something to be safe because nothing has happened yet.

Offline Enzio

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 08:14:34 AM »
In South Africa:
1) People all drive with their phones in their hands, inattentive and generally like a-holes.
2) People drive super aggressively here, road rage is quite common.
3) It is legal to lane split under 50km/h.
So, in general, driving is dangerous here considering driving behaviour and road conditions.
Motorcyclists are seen as inconsiderate twats, a generalisation that is not misplaced if I am honest looking at how most fellow motorcyclists ride in this country.

I used to commute on a section of the most congested road in the country, the N1, which connects Pretoria and Johannesburg. One the reasons I commuted on the bike when I started working was to get through this crap traffic (20 min to get to work on the bike, 25 min if it was raining - 40-60min with the car).
When I was doing this I used to lane split at high speed (120+ km/h) and I still had guys on bikes flash to get past (yes...while lane splitting).
When I changed jobs, and started using the N1 highway in the opposite direction without all of the traffic I also came to horrific realisation that I used to be way too comfortable with what I had been doing.

These days, I do take the odd gap where I maybe shouldn't - but I have tried to stick to the legal requirement so once I hit around 50km/h I will simply join the normal flow of traffic.
Agreed with the above comments that once you look at it critically, you only save time at the really congested areas where you can get to the front of the queue at traffic lights.
I got nothing.....

Offline VARRAKK

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Re: How I stopped lane splitting forever
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2019, 08:48:21 AM »
*Originally Posted by ren [+]
a driver simply making a turn without looking at all

This was the main reason I bought the S1KR, better brakes.
Had a few stoppies on my older Street Triple. Quite frighting when its not something you planned for.

Powerful brakes, ABS and fingers always on the lever. That's how I commute in Copenhagen.

 


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