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  • The AMA and Lane Splitting

    I thought this was an interesting statement put out by the AMA:


    Lane Splitting


    The American Motorcyclist Association places significant emphasis on motorcyclei operator and passenger safety. On every type of public roadway, motorcyclists encounter challenges from other roadway users and are constantly vigilant to unsafe conditions around them.
    Perhaps one of the most dangerous situations for any on-highway motorcyclist is being caught in congested traffic, where stop-and-go vehicles, distracted and inattentive vehicle operators, and environmental conditions pose an increased risk of physical contact with another vehicle or hazard. Even minor contact under such conditions can be disastrous for motorcyclists.
    The Hurt Report1, the most comprehensive motorcycle crash causation study to date, noted that, “Moderate or heavy traffic was the situation at 59.2% of the accidents [studied].” Reducing a motorcyclist’s exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can be one way to reduce front- and rear-end collisions for those most vulnerable in traffic.
    In many countries (excluding the United States), lane splittingii and filteringiii are normal practices for motorcyclists. Particularly in the highly urbanized areas of Europe and Asia, motorcycle and scooter operators are expected to pass between conventional vehicles and filter (advance) to the front of the group.
    Recent events in the U.S. have renewed motorcyclists’ interest in lane splitting. Therefore, the AMA has prepared this position statement to aid in understanding this issue and assist motorcyclists in deciding whether to support efforts to permit lane splitting in their state.
    One of the recommendations in the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety (NAMS)2 is: “Study the safety implications of lane splitting.” In support of this recommendation, the report states:
    “A motorcycle’s narrow width can allow it to pass between lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars on roadways where the lanes are wide enough to offer an adequate gap. This option can provide an escape route for motorcyclists who would otherwise be trapped or struck from behind. There is evidence (Hurt, 1981) that traveling between lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars (i.e., lane splitting) on multiple-lane roads (such as interstate highways) slightly reduces crash frequency compared with staying within the lane and moving with other traffic.
    “Although lane splitting is allowed in just a few areas of the United States, notably California, it appears to be worthy of further study because it offers a means of reducing congestion in addition to possible safety benefits. It is widely used in many other countries.”
    In a statement issued by the Motorcycle Industry Council in 20113, the trade group states: “In full consideration of the risks and benefits of lane splitting, the Motorcycle Industry Council supports state laws that allow lane splitting under reasonable restrictions.”
    For decades, California has been the only state to permit lane splitting. While not specifically permitted or prohibited in the California Vehicle Code, lane splitting authority comes from the California Highway Patrol. In the Frequently Asked Questions section of their website athttp://www.chp.ca.gov/html/answers.html#03, the following question-and-answer is provided:
    Can motorcycle riders "split" lanes and ride between other vehicles?
    Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner.

    In early 2013, the CHP published lane splitting guidelines4 for the first time. While the guidelines do not carry the force of law, they provide clear indicators under which a motorcyclist might be cited for unsafe or imprudent behavior.
    Legislatively, there has been state-level activity on lane splitting, although to date no bill has been enacted5.
    Passing legislation to permit lane splitting may be the easiest part of the process. Significant effort would subsequently be required to educate the law enforcement community, officials and administrators within state departments of transportation and public safety, prosecutors, the judiciary and the general motoring public on the benefits to those groups and motorcyclists to make lane splitting safe for everyone. Using public service announcements and campaigns, traditional broadcast and print media, social media, and other forms of information sharing could assist in highlighting the safety, congestion reduction, and other benefits of lane splitting.
    Taking into consideration that the vast majority of the motoring public does not ride motorcycles, we are certain non-motorcyclists do not understand the risks and the benefits of lane splitting to the riding community. Motorists in California being the exception, we believe it would take many years of experience and substantial and ongoing public information campaigns to educate non-motorcyclists to accept motorcyclists passing them between lanes of traffic.
    The AMA endorses rider responsibility and actions that make roadways safer for motorcyclists. While research and evidence suggest that lane splitting may reduce a motorcyclist’s risk exposure somewhat, we are cautious to issue a blanket endorsement of legislation supporting the practice. In particular, experience has taught us that the legislative process and the implementation of new laws are fraught with uncertainty. A straightforward lane splitting bill may easily be amended with provisions that the AMA and the motorcycling community would find unacceptable. Provisions such as mandatory helmet use in an adult-choice state or mandatory minimum medical insurance coverage provisions would quickly poison an otherwise well-intentioned effort.
    Motorcyclists who oppose lane splitting should remember that it is optional in California. Permitting lane splitting is not the same as requiring it, so those opposed to the practice should consider the desires of other motorcyclists who believe they would benefit from it. Lane splitting is an issue of choice.
    Even with the best intentions and organization, inappropriate behavior by motorcyclists can quickly garner a large negative response from the motoring public. With the easy availability of video systems and the Internet, a few postings of public roadway stunting, such as speeding past motorists stuck in traffic, could sour a legitimate campaign to approve lane splitting in a state. While the AMA has long advocated responsible riding practices and does not condone any behavior that violates the rules of the road, we caution that the future of lane splitting in any state could be derailed by the actions of a few irresponsible motorcyclists. Advocates of lane splitting should be prepared to counter any negative responses they receive from legislators and those responsible for implementing lane splitting laws.
    Given the ongoing success of lane splitting in California and the recent enthusiasm for lane splitting and/or filtering in other states, the AMA endorses these practices and will assist groups and individuals working to bring legal lane splitting and/or filtering to their states.

    http://americanmotorcyclist.com/Righ...Splitting.aspx


    sigpic

    David
    2014 Street Glide Special

  • #2
    Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

    Very interesting article and the first time I have seen these studies, etc. I lived in CA in the 80's, SF Bay Area, and did not have a motorcycle. My observations of this practice convinced me that most riders must have had a death wish. If cage drivers all obeyed the rules of the road and drove with some sanity lane splitting would be doable, but they don't. Lane changing is constant even if there is no room to maneuver. Drivers are constantly tossing liquids out windows in stop and go traffic. Even worse they will often open doors to spit and/or pour cold coffee onto the road. I have seen riders, often, daily, lane splitting when traffic was moving the speed limit! I have never seen one pulled over for this practice.
    I always tried to be alert for riders but in heavy traffic they are very hard to see coming and was startled often when they passed me. It was not uncommon to have riders in each lane at the same time passing traffic. I don't recall witnessing an accident myself from this behavior but there were many. Not something I would consider doing nor condone.
    I have been knocked down by an inattentive driver at highway speed in normal traffic while doing all the right things. Not a fun experience. Putting yourself in even greater danger by lane splitting is nuts. Like the helmet laws it should be left up to the individual to decide but don't expect me (taxpayer) to pick up the tab when things go wrong.
    sigpic
    1998 Goldwing/TriKing trike, 1995 Cycle Mate, 1993 Kwik Kamp
    CMA Chapter #697 On Eagles Wings

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    • #3
      Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

      Like the helmet laws it should be left up to the individual to decide but don't expect me (taxpayer) to pick up the tab when things go wrong.[/QUOTE]

      I agree, the problem is that there are too many poor motorcycle drivers out there that give the motoring public a bad image of us by doing stupid and dangerous acts.
      Ritchie & Lyn
      Proud Parents of a Marine, a Solldier and a Salior
      2010 GL1800 Champion Trike, 2013 Aspen Classic
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

        If the practice was allowed in more places, I'd venture that we'd see an upsurge in motorcycle/scooter use. I mean it wouldn't take long for motorists often stuck in traffic to notice bikes going past them being able to easily move right along.


        If it were to be allowed, the info campaign should/would have to come out loud and clear well in advance of the actual implementation. Still, I think there would be a rash of incidents until it became better established, accepted and understood by the motoring public at large.

        I don't need to commute to work anymore, (retired) but I sure would have liked to have been able to get past jammed up traffic back then. (I wouldn't have gotten into trouble so many times for being late)

        Just being able to filter up through at traffic lights would have made a huge difference. Lane splitting at speed is a whole different thing and the consequences of vehicle contact much more severe. That is something I couldn't see myself doing. But I wouldn't mind being able to move up through traffic that was stopped or moving no faster than something like 30 MPH.
        Rochester Hills Michigan Dark Side Rider
        4 Honda Reflex scooters and a 2006 FSC600A Silverwing
        Originator of the
        "Darkside" Honda Reflex.
        "Sometimes I'm so far outside of the box, the Hubble telescope can't find me"

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        • #5
          Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

          A lot has changed since you left California. There has been a lot of education to all drivers about lane splitting in print, news programs, and emergency Electronic signs on the highways. I live in California during the summer to enjoy the Sierra Mtns. and other great roads while its a little warm in Arizona and lane split often during commute times with and without my wife.

          I also move over for sport bikes who push the rules of lane splitting, and those with out mufflers who feel they have to make as much noise passing cars as they can. When traffic is moving 30 mph or less I will split lanes, but once it pick up again I get back in line. Never have had a problem since the late 90's early 2000's when drivers were not to warm to the idea of being passed. I give a slight wave when ever I can, and once and a while I have seen people wave back.
          A lot has changed in 30 years.

          http://www.latimes.com/business/auto...#axzz2kdVJ5rvk

          Same thing from the CHP;
          http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitting.html
          Honda Goldwing
          '04 Titanium ABS Double Darksider
          Member - E. CLAMPUS VITUS
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          • #6
            Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

            Originally posted by Clamper View Post
            A lot has changed since you left California. A lot has changed in 30 years.
            Indeed, it seems that a lot has changed. Given that it has taken decades to educate people in CA where it has not been illegal, I can't see it being a safe maneuver anywhere else in less time.
            In any case I will never do it unless the traffic is totally stopped. These old bones don't heal very fast anymore.
            Since my trike is 54 inches wide I probably wouldn't get very far anyway.
            sigpic
            1998 Goldwing/TriKing trike, 1995 Cycle Mate, 1993 Kwik Kamp
            CMA Chapter #697 On Eagles Wings

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            • #7
              Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

              I'm all for it. I've ridden in CA for many years prior to moving to TX. Wife and I were out there again last Xmas for a coast ride from LA to SF and back to LA. She was familiar with lane sharing, as we prefer to call it, having lived in South America, where it is prevelant. When traffic backed up while we made our trip, we went to the middle and skirted the jam up of cars. Very efficient and safe method of keeping bikes moving, which is one of the factors being suggested as safer then a sitting duck to the driver behind us...

              Being in TX for decades, I feel it would move traffic here as well, but the education process would take years, if ever! TX drivers are not going allow riders to advance when they themselves cannot. I've had drivers move over on purpose to take the shoulder when I've been in it to pass a few vehicles to get to an exit. Very territorial driving attitude.

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              • #8
                Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

                Filtering in the UK is legal, as long as it is done safely. You go mad, you get a ticket.

                I recently done a bit of filtering around London, I had quite a few cars move to block my way through. Filtering on a Valkyrie is quite difficult due to the width of the bike.

                In France, a motorcycle is expected to filter and everyone in a car will move out of your way.
                I came across a line of stationary traffic in Belgium last August well over a mile long. I started filtering and every single car moved out of my way,, I felt like royalty.

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                • #9
                  Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

                  I don't think it would work here in Kentucky. We have far too many people who would think it would be cute to set in traffic with their door open simply to block the path of of a motorcycle. To be honest, we have a lot of idiots on the road here that couldn't stand the thought of someone getting to an intersection before them. We have a bypass that has two lanes going one way in each direction here in my home county. I can't tell you how many times I've had to set and follow two idiots driving side by side for the length of it, usually at five miles per hour or more under the speed limit.

                  This brings me to another issue we have here locally, older drivers. I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but I think that once you reach a certain age you should have to take the driving test again to see if you still have the skills to drive. Thankfully my mother knew when to hang up the keys and take public transportation, or let me take her where she needs to go. While a lot of people think it's their "Right" to drive, they don't have the "Right" to endanger others on the road because they no longer have the vision, hearing, or reflexes to safely operate a motor vehicle. I know this sounds harsh, but let's face the facts, there isn't one person on here that hasn't seen it out on the roads.

                  Before I step off the soapbox, I have to say that I find it completely moronic that Kentucky has a $25.00 fine for texting while driving. Don't get caught in Alaska!

                  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505124_1...in-your-state/

                  If the texting penalty was the same as it is for a DUI, maybe it might cut down some of the accidents that this causes. Just yesterday I saw a woman who was waiting to turn left at an intersection creep almost all the way into the oncoming traffic. She was laughing and frantically typing away on her smart phone the whole time. She seemed offended when one of the drivers yelled at her to "Hang up and drive", although she didn't seem to notice all the horns blowing at her! This is getting to be an everyday occurrence here locally, and it's not just the teenagers, I have been run off the road by a Kentucky State Trooper who was looking down while driving. I'm only guessing that he was texting or dialing, but he was doing definitely not looking where he was driving. It's really scary when the elderly dig for a phone that's in their pocket or purse and then try to answer it when driving!

                  I'll shut up now, be safe out there!
                  Steve

                  2017 Suzuki DL650A V-Strom 2005 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom, 2002 Harley Road King Classic, 1976 Harley Sportster

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                  • #10
                    Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

                    Originally posted by Ironheadziggy76 View Post
                    I don't think it would work here in Kentucky. We have far too many people who would think it would be cute to set in traffic with their door open simply to block the path of of a motorcycle. To be honest, we have a lot of idiots on the road here that couldn't stand the thought of someone getting to an intersection before them. We have a bypass that has two lanes going one way in each direction here in my home county. I can't tell you how many times I've had to set and follow two idiots driving side by side for the length of it, usually at five miles per hour or more under the speed limit.

                    This brings me to another issue we have here locally, older drivers. I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but I think that once you reach a certain age you should have to take the driving test again to see if you still have the skills to drive. Thankfully my mother knew when to hang up the keys and take public transportation, or let me take her where she needs to go. While a lot of people think it's their "Right" to drive, they don't have the "Right" to endanger others on the road because they no longer have the vision, hearing, or reflexes to safely operate a motor vehicle. I know this sounds harsh, but let's face the facts, there isn't one person on here that hasn't seen it out on the roads.

                    Before I step off the soapbox, I have to say that I find it completely moronic that Kentucky has a $25.00 fine for texting while driving. Don't get caught in Alaska!

                    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505124_1...in-your-state/

                    If the texting penalty was the same as it is for a DUI, maybe it might cut down some of the accidents that this causes. Just yesterday I saw a woman who was waiting to turn left at an intersection creep almost all the way into the oncoming traffic. She was laughing and frantically typing away on her smart phone the whole time. She seemed offended when one of the drivers yelled at her to "Hang up and drive", although she didn't seem to notice all the horns blowing at her! This is getting to be an everyday occurrence here locally, and it's not just the teenagers. It's really scary when the elderly dig for a phone that's in their pocket or purse and try to answer it when driving!

                    I'll shut up now, be safe out there!
                    I agree with you on older drivers (except for me ) having to be tested at some point. It was an 80 yr old man that knocked me off and a 78 yr old that hit me head on in my van. I hope I have the good sense to quit when the time comes. I still hold a commercial license.
                    I also agree with you about texting. I think it is now even more of a danger than older drivers. I noticed that CA had only a $20 fine. Another reason to not lane split there.
                    sigpic
                    1998 Goldwing/TriKing trike, 1995 Cycle Mate, 1993 Kwik Kamp
                    CMA Chapter #697 On Eagles Wings

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                    • #11
                      Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

                      I'm doing my very best to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut about cell phones,texting while driving one of these days I'll stick my dash-cam to the side window and just post a 5 min video I guarantee 3 out of 5 cars are driving distracted I'll shut up now or I'll end up typing for the next hour about 4 wheelers driving habits


                      end of thread highjack
                      Posted via Mobile Device
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                      2004 FLHTC 1982 FLHP 1974 CB360 1996 Kwik-Kamp
                      Life Member ABATE
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                      • #12
                        Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

                        Originally posted by DILLIGAF61 View Post
                        I'm doing my very best to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut about cell phones,texting while driving one of these days I'll stick my dash-cam to the side window and just post a 5 min video I guarantee 3 out of 5 cars are driving distracted I'll shut up now or I'll end up typing for the next hour about 4 wheelers driving habits


                        end of thread highjack
                        Posted via Mobile Device
                        I would guess that on this forum you have lots of company sitting on hands with mouth taped shut.
                        sigpic
                        1998 Goldwing/TriKing trike, 1995 Cycle Mate, 1993 Kwik Kamp
                        CMA Chapter #697 On Eagles Wings

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                        • #13
                          Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

                          Originally posted by Sugarman View Post
                          I would guess that on this forum you have lots of company sitting on hands with mouth taped shut.
                          Yep Yep.
                          Gary

                          2005 Honda VTX 1800,2001 Honda Shadow VLX, 1970 Honda Passport 70
                          2013 Ural Patrol -1989 Holsclaw cargo
                          MOPH, American Legion, NRA
                          IBMC,UMCI,ADV,PGR
                          sold 1981 Honda Goldwing 1100
                          sold 2005 Electra Glide
                          sold 1974 Yamaha 500DHC
                          sold 1978 Yamaha Enduro 175
                          sold 1970 Honda trail 70
                          sold 1965 Honda 100

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                          • #14
                            Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

                            I would be against the idea of allowing lane splitting (at least in my state).

                            I guess I feel motorcyclists should be treated as equals on the roadway, not be given special privileges, nor be discriminated against. We bitch when bikes are banned from subdivisions or parks, but we want special treatment too??

                            Things are easier and simpler when everyone follows the same rules, rather than giving special privileges to certain groups.
                            2014 Harley Ultra
                            2014 Honda CB500x
                            2011 Bunkhouse

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                            • #15
                              Re: The AMA and Lane Splitting

                              Originally posted by badger View Post
                              I would be against the idea of allowing lane splitting (at least in my state).

                              I guess I feel motorcyclists should be treated as equals on the roadway, not be given special privileges, nor be discriminated against. We bitch when bikes are banned from subdivisions or parks, but we want special treatment too??

                              Things are easier and simpler when everyone follows the same rules, rather than giving special privileges to certain groups.
                              In TX and many other states, motorcycles are allowed to use the HOV, high occupancy vehicle, lanes. That is special treatment. The result is not having to ride in bumper to bumper traffic with the danger of a distracted driver from behind. The lanes are only open to commuters with 2+ occupants.

                              The trend is there to create more opportunities to move traffic more efficiently and safer. Move commuters from single occupant vehicles to MC, buses, car pools, etc. Lane sharing is not for everyone, but when done in a safe manner can ease traffic for all vehicles.

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