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Old 03-17-06, 09:39 PM   #1
Wheels4
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Lane Splitting....

I've heard alot about it in the motorcycle world... but, I haven't heard about on here. probably b/c of the differences in speed. well, i was on my way home today from work.. it was about 5-5:15. so, i turn onto a busy highway(most of the time) and traffic is at a stand still. not a big deal.. actually great for me, until i notice cars and trucks in the right hand lane moving over to the right while inching up. left me with about enough room for my left pannier to hang over the road. of course, I got alittle irritated. so, I decided to do something about it... (out of character, by the way) I went between two stopped cars and split the cars/lane. did it for about a mile. no one was moving and I had PLENTY of room. I know it was dangerous... but, I really believe it wasn't for that situation.... cars stopped and all.

by the way... the cement stopped just after the white line on the side of the road. there was no run off.


anyways... just wondering if anyone else has done this?? is it normal to do in traffic jams?

thanks for looking,

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Old 03-17-06, 09:59 PM   #2
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I'll lane split, with a few simple rules. I won't pass a moving vehicle on the right, but a stopped one, no problem. I'll pass a moving vehicle on the left if the lane is wide enough that he would pass me if he were the one going faster. I won't pass just because I can -- there has to be some point.

Despite all the whining you hear from motorists about cyclists who won't share the road, it almost never happens that a motor vehicle will pull right to allow a faster cyclist to pass. I say "almost never" because I recently had it happen for the first time! I was riding through a park on a road with a 15 mph speed limit, and I came up on a bus labeled "driver training" that was doing exactly the speed limit. He saw me coming and pulled right to let me pass, glad to see they're training bus drivers that way! In 12 years of commuting I figure I've passed 10,000 slower vehicles and that was the first one to pull over.
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Old 03-17-06, 11:52 PM   #3
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I split lanes all the time. When I'm keeping up w/ traffic I take the lane. I've been squeezed a few times between buses and trucks so be careful when you do it.
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Old 03-18-06, 04:16 AM   #4
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Here in New Zealand ,as with all ride/drive on the left side of the road country's, lane splitting is normal & legal and doesnt seem to cause a lot of friction between motorist's & cyclist's .Our Road Code recomends that a cyclist is given 1.5 metres room but it is a little know fact (as far as the motorist's are concerned) !!!
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Old 03-18-06, 04:56 AM   #5
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I pass cars wherever there's enough space that I fit into without endangering myself or others (i.e. forcing them to do crazy evasion manuevres). That's what I'm on a bike for in the first place. I'm not riding a bike to places because it's tiresome and somewhat dangerous and rarely tops 25mph. I do it becuase it is flexible... sidewalk, bike lane, traffic lane, between lanes, on tram tracks... wherever.

I couldn't care less about the cagers' potential frustration. Motto is: "If you're sitting in a traffic jam in your car and are pissed that I pass you on a bike, get your fat ass on a bike and you can do it too."

P.s.: Actually, I do endanger myself from time to time. Look at it as an extreme sport if you like.
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Old 03-18-06, 07:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCCommuter
I was riding through a park on a road with a 15 mph speed limit, and I came up on a bus labeled "driver training" that was doing exactly the speed limit.
why were you breaking the law by going faster than the posted speed limit...?
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Old 03-18-06, 08:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by fixedpigs
why were you breaking the law by going faster than the posted speed limit...?
I was exercising my "cyclist immunity."
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Old 03-18-06, 08:43 AM   #8
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No, I don't lane split. I'm not tempted to do it because the section of my route on busy multi-lane streets is so short. I would have in the OP's situation.
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Old 03-18-06, 09:36 AM   #9
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glad to hear i'm not alone... it would have been interesting to see the reactions to the drivers i was passing.

it's funny, i made a note of some vehicles that were sitting in that traffic... to see how long it would take them to pass me up. one that I made note of, a red jeep with cheesy rims, passed me roughly 8 miles later.

thanks for sharing,
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Old 03-18-06, 09:42 AM   #10
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I do every time that traffic is stopped. Sometimes some donkey will try to block me, but the bike is nimble and I do not do it at great spead for the same reason.
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Old 03-18-06, 09:26 PM   #11
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I'm with DC Commuter. When traffic is stopped at a light or other traffic jam I will split lanes, but I never do it with moving vehicles. It just feels too scary for all concerned -- one inattentive driver and you're screwed with no place to go. I also err on the side of caution when lane splitting. If a space looks at all too narrow I stop and wait my turn, but most of the time its not an issue.
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Old 03-18-06, 09:48 PM   #12
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Traffic on my commute is generally moving fast enough that it's not necessary. With one exception. There's a stretch of road that crosses over a freeway overpass with onramps/offramps and about 5 traffic lights in the space of a quarter-mile. On my commute home traffic is always backed up along this stretch and I'll split between the two lanes to avoid having to wait through multiple light cycles, rather than riding along the right 'cause there is lots of side traffic in and out of driveways, and cars lining up for right turns. The way I look at it, it'd be ridiculous not to split in that situation.

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Old 03-20-06, 10:45 AM   #13
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Help a newbie here. This means that there are two lanes of traffic in your direction and you are riding between them? Not on the right of the right lane.
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Old 03-20-06, 11:41 AM   #14
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I'm with the other posters. I'll only split lanes when traffic is stopped, but I usually just try to avoid streets where I even have to make the choice.
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Old 03-20-06, 12:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imnotclever
Help a newbie here. This means that there are two lanes of traffic in your direction and you are riding between them? Not on the right of the right lane.

two lanes of traffic going your direction, you get inbetween the cars that are in both lanes and continue pedaling... that is lane splitting.
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Old 03-20-06, 12:46 PM   #16
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Before retiring, I split lanes daily on my commuting route. Mostly, the traffic was moving, but slowly. And, most weeks, there would be a driver/drivers noticing me coming up behind them and widening the gap slightly.

This may or may not have been concern about their paintwork . I assumed not and always waved acknowledgement. Only once in 22 consecutive years of commuting did anyone deliberately close the gap
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Old 03-20-06, 01:31 PM   #17
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And, most weeks, there would be a driver/drivers noticing me coming up behind them and widening the gap slightly.
I don't split lanes because there's no 2 lane (in the same direction) road on my commute (or anywhere else I ride for that matter). But if I'm filtering forward, the only thing I've ever had happen is that if someone notices me, they move RIGHT to try to stop me. Doesn't work unless they're willing to drive all the way out into the ditch.
But I don't filter much anyway; I prefer to change my ride times until I'm riding when there's hardly any traffic.
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Old 03-20-06, 03:45 PM   #18
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But if I'm filtering forward, the only thing I've ever had happen is that if someone notices me, they move RIGHT to try to stop me.
If that happens to me I pull out and pass them on their left, since they have provided me with the space.
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Old 03-20-06, 04:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by marqueemoon
I'm with the other posters. I'll only split lanes when traffic is stopped, but I usually just try to avoid streets where I even have to make the choice.
I actually am just the opposite. I love doing it. I know that sometimes it is dangerous, but that is part of the fun. I just try not to be rude or endanger anyone else. I don't do it without a reason, though, and I do try to protect myself.

We have one light on my way home where the traffic will back up for 1/2 mile in two lanes. There is no room/bikelane/shoulder on the right and all this perfect space between lanes. There is no way I ride all the way in every single day just to sit through 5 rotations of lights and take my turn. HECK NO.... I am taking my turn now baby! Yeehaw. I have to fight the urge to fly up the middle of the lanes, though. I know some redneck is going to try to door me someday.

I am with other posters here....if drivers have a problem with it, they can get on a bike too.
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Old 03-21-06, 12:10 AM   #20
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on my commute to campus i will ride on the left hand (driver's side) along a stretch of road that passes the high school. Since children no longer have the capacity to walk there is a LONG line of traffic that is slow moving at best. My only options are:

1. Ride on the sidewalk were hundreds of high school students are all at.
2. Ride on the right hand side of traffic where I will surely get smacked by a kid opening a door from his parents car or get smacked by parked car that some kid is getting out of and not watching.
3. Ride on the left hand side of traffic (closest to the yellow line -it is a two lane street) and avoid the problem all together. The parents are getting out of their cars and most of the time the ones who can see me coming will edge over a little to give me room.
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Old 03-21-06, 04:11 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atbman
Before retiring, I split lanes daily on my commuting route. Mostly, the traffic was moving, but slowly. And, most weeks, there would be a driver/drivers noticing me coming up behind them and widening the gap slightly.

This may or may not have been concern about their paintwork . I assumed not and always waved acknowledgement. Only once in 22 consecutive years of commuting did anyone deliberately close the gap
Hooray for Leeds drivers! Here I get about 3 people a day giving me more space when they see me, and 1 closing the gap on purpose. I don't know why they want the paint chipped on their mirror...
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Old 03-21-06, 09:21 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by AndrewP
If that happens to me I pull out and pass them on their left, since they have provided me with the space.
That's great if they're the only one at the light. In my case passing on the right would mean pulling into the oncoming lane (with tons of oncoming traffic) to get around the people who didn't pull to the right.

Someone did it to me again last night. I had no intention of filtering forward, but he saw me riding to the right and pulled halfway onto the shoulder. As I actually got close to the line, I pulled out and took the lane (left wheel track) as I usually do at that light. When he saw this, he moved back into line (he'd let a gap form in front of him).

I can only assume that people have gotten used to cyclists that break the law a lot. I have actually only even filtered forward maybe 4 or 5 times, as an experiment at this one intersection. I don't do it anymore.
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Old 03-21-06, 10:37 AM   #23
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Splitting lanes when cars are stopped, is usually not a problem. BUT be very careful splitting to the front of a queue stopped at a light. Often the first vehicle will turn right and will NEVER expect a bike to be there. Don't put yourself in a dead vision spot. Either get in front of front bumper BEFORE light changes, or is about to change, or drop back.
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Old 03-21-06, 02:35 PM   #24
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Splitting lanes when cars are stopped, is usually not a problem. BUT be very careful splitting to the front of a queue stopped at a light. Often the first vehicle will turn right and will NEVER expect a bike to be there. Don't put yourself in a dead vision spot. Either get in front of front bumper BEFORE light changes, or is about to change, or drop back.
Well said Silver. As much as many people like to hammer on HH, I am convinced he is right about many cycling deaths being avoidable on the part of the cyclist, regardless of who is at fault.
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Old 03-21-06, 03:14 PM   #25
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I think it depends a lot on when and where. On my commute in the suburbs it virtually never happens that I am moving faster than traffic. The only places are the railroad crossing (cars are stopped) and a four-way stop on my commute (too much traffic for a stop sign, ought to be a street light. So it backs up for quite a ways with cars slowly inching forward).

At the four-way I don't split lanes, though I could. when I was turning left there I would ride up the left shoulder AFTER it widens out (there's a left turn lane that is currently hashed off, whenever they put a light in the intersection it'll be a left turn lane), and now that I am going straight there I'll get on the sidewalk and ride up to the light, but I don't split lanes or ride up the right. There's no right shoulder, just a curb, so all it takes is a car a little over to the right and I couldn't get past, and if I split lanes I'd wind up at a stop sign with a car on either side about to take off which seems like a bad situation to be in.

I have split lanes at the train intersection but in that case there are no cars moving at all. (I've also ridden under the train gate and across the tracks... only while the train was receding however never when it was approaching).
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