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Arizona to Legalize Lane-Splitting, France to Ban it?



The French protest

One barrier to widespread adoption of motorcycles as transportation in the USA is that of practical advantage. In most places, two-wheeled transport offers few advantages over the four-wheeled kind. That’s partly because unlike almost every other country on Earth, the practice of “lane-splitting”-riding in between lanes of stopped or slow-moving vehicle traffic-is outlawed in what is allegedly the Home of the Free. That means that in every state but California, not only do motorcyclists have to endure the privations of motorcycle travel, they also have to bump along at the maddeningly slow pace of traffic-snarled trucks and automobiles, even though there is little evidence that the practice of lane-splitting (if done in a safe and reasonable fashion) is particularly dangerous.

So kudos to the Arizona legislature for honoring the Goldwater legacy of personal liberty tempered by individual responsibility with Arizona House Bill 2475. Introduced by Harley-Davidson-riding Representative Jerry Weiers (say “wires,” R-District 12), the bill will legalize, for a one-year probationary period beginning January 1, 2011, lane-splitting in stopped traffic. It will only apply in counties with populations greater than 2 million (according to 2006 population estimates, this is just Maricopa county, with the Phoenix-Glendale-Scottsdale megalopolis). The bill sailed through the Transportation committee (which Weiers chairs) and the House Rules committee, and has been read to the State Senate as well. It’s looking like there is little opposition to the bill so far, which makes sense: those who lean to the left should like the message of encouraging the lower environmental impact of motorcycle transportation, and those on the right should appreciate the individual-rights angle.

Sadly, the majority of the car-driving public, even in states like California, don’t like the idea of lane-splitting. The main reason, judging from comments posted in response to articles on the topic, is jealousy: if I have to be stuck in traffic, you should be too (the “it looks dangerous” argument seems specious, as car drivers as a body show little concern for the safety of motorcyclists). Luckily for Californians, law enforcement is firmly on the side of the lane-splitting argument, as it allows motor officers greater mobility in high-traffic areas. That helps defeat bills every time legislation is advanced to outlaw the practice in the Golden State. That support seems to be present in Arizona as well, so we’ll see if another state gets to experiment with legal lane-splitting in 2011. If you live in Arizona, call or write to your legislative representatives. If you live outside AZ, write to or call the AMA (what? You don’t belong to the AMA? Call 1-800-AMA-JOIN!) and ask if they support the legislation.

Meanwhile, in France, a recent proclamation from a Transport Ministry official that police would start citing bikers for “filtering” between cars prompted the FFMC-that’s the “French Federation of Angry Bikers”-to organize a massive protest. Over 40,000 motorcyclists turned out, making a point to not lane-split, being sure to take up as much space as a car. The result was hours of massive traffic congestion on Paris’ ring road, and further snarling of the Metro when hundreds of helmet-clad bikers stuffed subway cars in response to French Transport Secretary Jean-Marc Belotti telling motorcyclists that “they can take the metro like everyone else” if they don’t like being told not to lane-split. A happy outcome: Belotti has met with the FFMC and is re-considering the restrictions on lane-splitting.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about lane-splitting: send them to editor@motorcycledaily.com.

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MD Readers Respond:

  • Your article comment that “The main reason, judging from comments posted in response to articles on the topic, is jealousy: if I have to be stuck in traffic, you should be too” I think is correct. As a cyclist, we get aggro from motorists from both directions, perceived obstruction and resented filtering ability. It is quite usual for the average West Australian driver to roar past into a blocked intersection then position their vehicle to try and prevent you repassing them. It is a curious attitude as every traveller that uses a bicycle or motorcycle actually frees up road space for cars, but so many drivers are too dim to realise that. In a recent article in the Australian 60 minutes programme about cycling to work, even the presenter admitted to feeling resentment towards cyclists as they sailed past whilst she was stuck in a traffic jam. Maybe this is a subconscious anger resulting from manufacturers promoting cars as the ultimate expression of ‘freedom’, whereas the truth is, it’s not, it’s just more white goods.   Peter
  • The arguments against lane splitting are specious. Put simply, laws against lane splitting that exist in most of these United States are the product of ignorance, and typical of the American populace.   Paul
  • Its a green thing good for the inviroment. not waisting fuel sitting in traffic.   Cliff
  • I can’t tell you what ever you want to imagine, but the true is you can’t understant the big problem the line splitting can be. the only way is to travel to Caracas Venezuela. or any city in Venezuela and live what we live. the indignation you fell by the atrosities you will start to live whit and amount of irresponsable bikerider who hits your mirros because they feel they deserve the privilege to be in the split line, and those tiefh one, I know america is a big country but it could become incotrolable. I don’t agree with it, Miguel
  • Interesting there was no mention in your piece about the dangers of NOT splitting lanes. I believe rear-end collisions are by far the most common type of accidents on congested freeways. A motorcyclist sitting between two SUV’s in rush hour traffic is a double-amputee waiting to happen.   Mike
  • I am against lane splitting because it clearly puts the risk of injury
    behind the need to cut travel time for a few. Lane splitting only
    increases the odds of lesser accidents and does nothing to prevent the
    type of accident described in this article. Should bikes be allowed to
    run red lights too to prevent getting rear ended?

    I have seen accidents where cars plow into bikes waiting at lights, but
    lane splitting won’t help that. The traffic is stopped against cross
    traffic. Being able to move between lanes only helps if the rider is
    looking backwards.

    Q: If I change lanes and a bike runs up into my blind spot while I’m
    signaling and moving, who is at fault for the resulting accident?

    I recently drove to Chicago (after dark) and lane splitting bikes were
    darting through traffic all around me. My attention was shared front ,
    rear, and side with the rear getting smallest share of attention.

    There was no time to see oncoming bikes, judge their relative speed,
    anticipate their position relative to traffic, give them visibility to
    my signaling a lane change etc.

    It was nearly impossible to see the bikes until they were on me and
    depth perception for headlights in the mirror is poor to non-existent.
    Traffic stop and go is a high risk period no matter what you do but
    having bikes weaving from lane to lane at up to 30 miles and hour faster
    than traffic is just ridiculous. I know that lane splitting is supposed
    to be limited in speed differential but really who expects that riders
    will do that all the time. On visits to California, it was clear that
    daytime was only slightly more helpful. Bikes were visible for less
    than 2 seconds before they passed me. It is impossible for drivers to
    look backwards 100% of the time.

    My bias is towards safety rather than convenience. I ride a VFR800. I
    have ridden for almost 25 years and have taken several Motorcycle Safety
    classes to augment my skills. You can say what you will about blind and
    ignorant car drivers but in this case, it is impossible to say that they
    are at fault for accidents resulting from lane splitting.    Allen

  • From my perspective lane splitting is a huge advantage that can benefit all traffic when done properly. It’s the careless (thoughtless) few that may ruin it for all of us. And we all know who they are! High speed slalom practice on a public road way is idiotic and makes me at least as furious as any non-motorcyclist. If you need to practice those skills, get out of town.  David
  • lived in Los Angeles for 17 years, and regularly utilized lane splitting (that would be ALWAYS). Upon moving to Baltimore, I saw no reason to stop the practice. I’ve never been stopped by the police for doing it in 11 years of riding here, though I’ll admit to having potentially “peaked” their interest a time or two along the way – however traffic denied them the ability to do anything about it even if they wanted to. I started to do it because, especially in the modern era with rampant cell phone usage, there’s a real danger of getting crushed by an inattentive driver in the accordion like stop and go on the beltway (it happened to me in my Ford Explorer). Hence, I stay to the right of the fast lane, ready to split the lanes when traffic decelerates, and then trickle through at ~ 10mph when traffic stops. In So Cal, I used to get the occasional irate driver who showed resentment at being stuck while I was not, but at least they expected it. Here in Baltimore, they have no expectation that a motorcyclist is going to come by them, which adds total surprise to many (what, look in my mirror?) to the almost universal resentment. I never respond with anything but a friendly wave as I blow by the observant, notwithstanding their best efforts at blocking me, which I’m sure adds to their frustration but only leads to a mental giggle within my helmet. The bottom line is that no one else’s progress is impaired – I am not in the same traffic flow as the car drivers.
  • Hooray for AZ, all states should allow lane splitting.
    I lived in Sunnyvale in 1988 and 1989. Lane splitting made living in
    the Silicone Valley much more bearable. I never had an issue lane
    splitting and always felt like it was a safe practice.  
    Matt

  • Being in southern California, I think it’s an absolute luxury to be able to lane split past stopped or slow traffic. Most bikers do not know the law though. 15MPH max faster than the traffic flow. Most fly by or blast those loud pipes and scare the hell out of the people in cars. I hope they never stop it here.  Mike
  • In response to your article I definitely am in favor of lane splitting. Although I live in the US I have ridden in Europe and found lane splitting to definitely be an advantage especially in stalled traffic. While traveling in the US especially in the summer I have been caught in mid city traffic passing through places like Washington DC in a full set of leathers with traffic moving nowhere when you know you could easily make great strides in your progress as you drip inside your helmet. As you mentioned the main objection from drivers seems to be American attitude of somebody feeling like your cutting the line. Nothing to do with a safety issue. The French response was appropriate.
  • Thanks for the article, which I read with interest as an Arizona rider and voter. HB2475 passed in the House with 54 ayes, 0 nays, and 6 members not voting: http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/hb2475.hthird.1.asp. I wrote a friendly letter to my state senator urging him to vote yes when it comes before the Senate. I also wrote my House representative to thank him for voting yes on it (and encourage him to vote in favor of future pro-motorcycling bills), and copied my other House rep, who was one of the non-voters on this bill.

    For other AZ riders who want to look up and contact their state senator and representatives, go to: http://www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp.

  • As always some one or many will f*** it up for the rest of us.
    Just buy being the idiots they are from birth we will all lose a good thing.
    Not only idiot motorcyclists will rune it but the whining motorists complaining about those crazy motorcycle riders cutting them off in traffic.
    Not ever clueing in to the fact that some one cutting you off is usually traveling at a higher rate of speed so it in no way affects you if you maintain your speed.not to mention the average motorist has no sense of judgement.have you watched any one pass on a two lane highway lately?
    You should because I do very frequently as I drive a big rig and see it all the time and nintey percent of people do not know how to pass.
    Some of these people may be motorcycle riders and do not use the same passing techniques as when they ride.any one on a motorcycle knows that passing is quite easy because most bikes accelerate very rapidly.
    I am sorry for getting off track but I just can’t help myself from getting angry about this just knowing some idiot is going to screw it up.
    But the main reason most people will complain is not a safety issue
    But a how come I am stuck here and they can just ride past crybaby issue we in no way will add any time to there day buy passing them.
    Most of these people will gladly wait 24 hours to see a monster truck show. Just kidding I meant WWE.just kidding again I meant NASCAR.

  • I spent 17 years in CA before moving to Tucson. Lane sharing is
    a way of life in CA and it really helps move traffic. If they do a test in
    Maricopa county (Phoenix) and it is successful, it should be made
    AZ state law and not just for one county. Done properly, lane sharing
    is a very safe way to negotiate traffic jams at rush hour.  Mick

  • I am one of the lucky ones that has lived my whole life in Cal. so I don’t know any better than to seek out the path of least resistance when riding. Although there are riders out there that give us a bad name by riding in what is and looks like a very unsafe manner. I do agree that most people are just very pissed that they are stuck in traffic so you should be stuck also sucks for them. I never did get why it was such a big deal. Good for AZ
  • I’ve driven cars and motorcycles, and I’ve seen noth in traffic. I’ve seen many clueless, disrespectful motorcyclists on the road. They pass on the right at very inappropriate times, pull into traffic when there isn’t room, and lane split when it’s not legal. The media also hypes up bad behaviour. Most shows I see about biking focus on stunting, ‘race’ bikes, bike gangs, and over compensating custom bikes, which corrupts the opinions of the public. Some emotional response from car drivers is to be expected, considering all these factors. They Feel unsafe. Many motorcyclists we see on the road I would label as offensive and unsafe, not to mention they are driving vehicles capable of way more than they can handle. Most car drivers aren’t really that good either, so things look pretty bad. Most people who oppose it think of those cyclists when they respond, and like me, they don’t know the safety facts related to lane splitting and motorcycling.

    Something Americans (and Canadians) have to consider is that sometimes public safety is more important than the Privelege or driving a bike however You feel is safe.

    One thing I believe strongly is that all motorists need more education and skill training. Canada’s system of licensing drivers is very weak.   Zeke

  • Is it only certain, high-population counties in California that get to lane-split, or can you do it in northern California too? I live in Tucson, AZ and think it would be useful in the metro area here as well – to say nothing about introducing county-specific traffic law confusion (do we already have those? I don’t know).   Don
  • Interesting – I ride in AZ – here is the link to the bill: http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=2475

    There are 2 versions so far, the first was written to be a change of the AZ road laws. The second has been re-arranged into something with the 2 million people min limit and the time period.

    This is only going to be available in stopped traffic, what does that mean? Less than X mph or wheels not turning? What if someone creeps forward a few feet, is he still stopped? If there is a right turn lane at a light and that lane is moving, can you pass the stationary vehicles in the straight ahead lanes? The bill is very short and doesn’t cover any of these things.

    This will be very handy at railroad crossings, especially when those trains stop, back up and then go again. On the other hand, will drivers think they can lane share with us at any time.  Rich

  • Thanks so much for your article on lane splitting. I live in California and
    ride a motorcycle and have frequently thought that, if the benefit of
    lane-splitting were taken away, much of the benefit of riding a motorcycle
    would be gone. They fit in smaller spaces. That’s their main point. We
    used to benefit from “wind-in-our-hair,” but THAT was taken away by helmet
    laws!

    When I’m in my car, I often think how nice it is when motorcycles filter
    past me in traffic–those bikers COULD be taking up space, lengthening the
    line of vehicles. I get to my destination sooner because they gently move
    along through traffic.

    If we have to wear helmets and we have to stay in designated spaces in the
    lane, then we might as well just get convertible cars. Then we could at
    least feel the wind in our hair again!

    I’m so excited about this new law in Arizona. I hope others see the light
    on this issue!  David

  • I am originally from Mexico and over there is legal to lane split when riding a motorcycle, and not only is this better for traffic but is also safer for the motorcyclist as the person can advance all the way to the front of a stop sign or a red light when all cars are stopped, making the motorcycle more visible to all cagers and safer for the motorcyclist since he/she can take off the stop first and get ahead of traffic. I would like to see the same in Indiana and the rest of USA.
  • Having been raised on a motorcycle in the eastern United States and then coming west, you should know that it is not the angry car drivers that cause problems in CA, it is the rudeness of the motorcyclists that anger the auto drivers. If the law states slow moving traffic, what is slow moving traffic? Less than the posted speed limit, or less than a motorcyclist wants to go? Having spent the last 4 months in southern CA driving I- 5 to work in the mornings and home in the evenings, I think it is more of the latter. The posted speed limit is 65 in the Oceanside area, where routinely bikes zip between vehicles well over that speed. As a matter of fact, the cars are well above the posted speed limit. If traffic is moving at 55 MPH, should a motorcyclist be able to split lanes at a faster speed? I am sure that the state of CA would greatly reduce their budget worries if they were to enforce the motor vehicle codes they have on the books. If you justify the splitting lanes issue because the police do it, then why do we even have a speed limit. It is seldom enforced on officers by each other.

    I don’t think the splitting lanes is an issue of right or wrong, but the AZ proposal is for” in stopped traffic”, which means what? If the traffic is moving at 5 MPH or 25 MPH, is it stopped and will motorcyclists split lanes. Given an inch, they will split lanes and claim that it was stopped. Watch and you will see. It is hard to justify the speeds at which the splitting lanes in CA happens. Come drive I-5 in San Diego County sometime on a motorcycle and enjoy the weather. Try to observe the law about lane splitting and watch the people who believe they are authorized to split lanes anywhere and at any speed. It will embarrass you if you are a true motorcyclist.  Don

  • It is not legal to split lanes in California, show me where is says it’s legal. On the other hand, show me where it says lane-splitting is illegal. You can get cited for unsafe diriving and or tailgating, mostly within city limits but almost never on the freeway or highways. Lane-splitting has almost always been tolerated
    by the CHP. There is a fine line on lane-splitting, pun intended …..ride safe.  Joe

  • I live in California and lane split regularly at stopped traffic (i.e. red lights). The reason it is way safer than staying back in the mix with cars all around. I simply move to the front and accelerate out ahead of the pack and then slow to normal flow of traffic speed; now I have no one around me as I move along to the next intersection. A lot better than having cars all around me with half of the people in them talking on cell phones!
  • I’m totally in support of lane splitting, but I know a lot of motorcyclists who aren’t. It does seem to come down to an irrational jealousy, drivers in this country generally see it as a competition as opposed to transportation. I’ve even had an avid motorcyclist tell me he tries to narrow the lane if he thinks someone is going to split it. There’s no good explanation for that behavior, though I suppose I often see cars switch to the slow lane to pass one vehicle in traffic so it shouldn’t be surprising.
      
    Keep up the good work.  Bryan

  • Given the mentality of too many car drivers and the conduct of some motorcyclists that helps to create an anti- bike attitude, I have no intention to be on the cutting edge of lane splitting in my state—-Florida. It is enough to hope to be seen here, especially in South Florida where, given the metro area, lane splitting would make some sense, but only on paper.
  • I’m a longtime rider and do not live in California. But the mere thought of splitting lanes with some of the jokers I see out riding makes me cringe at the thought. It does sound dangerous and would seem to up my chances of being a statistic. Now, once traffic is stopped at a light I could see inching up forward but as the light changes better be sure to have a place to ride in.

    I seldom am caught in heavy traffic that would make it seem logical to gain a few places in line. Legalize lane-splitting if that makes everyone happy and it’s shown to be a relatively safe practice. I just might not join in.

  • I have lived in countries where lane splitting is both legal & illegal…here in North America it is frowned upon by most motorists & I think mostly due to jealousy, this is particularly so in regions where motorcycles aren’t able to be ridden year around.If filtering is done in a safe manor it actually helps the flow of traffic…but remember it is the responsibility of the rider to know when filtering is safe & not safe!  Rick
  • Hats (helmets) off to the motorcyclists of France for sticking together. Congregations to Arizona law makers for using good sense.
  • IMO it should be legal , it is one of the best things about riding a motorbike, being able to pass cars stuck in traffic jams.
  • In SA, many years ago lane splitting was allowed then it was banned and now for the last several years it is permitted again…
    Why get a bike or a scooter to commute if you can’t lane split….  Gregg

  • They are looking to ban it in the Australian state of Victoria too. If this happens it will spread to other states. We have to fight it.

    The pathetic thing is, as you mentioned, the majority of opposition emanates from pure jealousy and resentment that motorcycles might have some advantages over cars. The same sort or resentment that fuels the anger at bicycle riders. These people ought to grow up. Car drivers think they own the road and 2-wheelers are less worthy. It’s crazy because more motorcycles means less traffic congestion and lane-splitting eases it even further.  Joe

  • I think that motorcycles should be able to lane split. I also think that motorcycle should have more freedoms on the roads than cars. But, infact the whole world is out to bring us down. Jealousy. Yep. I’d say that sums it up pretty well. I have been tossing an idea in my head for some time now that motorcycle should have there on lane. Like a car pool lane but maybe 1/2 the width. In between the safety and fast lane. This I believe would be much safer than splitting lanes.
    Lane splitting is dangerous. Because car owners gererally don’t give a crap about motorcyclists and there are some stupid riders that ruin it for the rest of us. I’ve been guilty of being bad myself But people need to be educated about lane splitting not only motorcyclists but also the 4 wheel commuter too. DMV needs to get strict. There needs to be more intense drivers training and get Granny ( the 90 year old blind people) off the road.

  • Filtering… Sharing… Splitting, whatever you want to call it! …is a good thing. I started riding in CA a few years back specifically because I was sitting in traffic in my F150 watching MCs flow through traffic like water around boulders. Hmmmm, I’m sitting here moving at less than 5mph and they’re riding right past me. Its been a fun ride since! Oh, and if y’all don’t think something like a BMW R1150RT can share lanes, you’ve got another think coming.

    I say Bravo! AZ for finally seeing the light! Now, about the REST of the state? Specifically, there’s another spot in the State that has similar issues as Phoenix, but certainly doesn’t receive the recognition: Tucson and Pima Co. Why limit the bill/law to JUST Maricopa?

  • I love the idea of being able to lane split here in Arizona. What makes me weary to actually do so are the atrociously bad drivers here. There seems to be an abnormal amount of bike/car collisions here and lane splitting will just add to road rage in my opinion. There needs to be an aggressive awareness campaign before the law goes into effect along with strict police enforcement of any careless/reckless act on the part of any drivers.  Victor
  • As a California lane-splitter I am glad to see Arizona coming on board with reasonable legislation. “Dangerous” is a relative term. In slow traffic, cars (or car doors) do not suddenly move sideways without exaggerated driver input. Until one has experienced the relative safety of being ‘in the gap’ between car doors, rather than between car bumpers, one cannot make a judgment on lane splitting.

    Interestingly, I notice that local moto/traffic cops are really down on splitting, but CHP doesn’t mind at all. A CHP officer once questioned me my I wasn’t splitting on a metered on-ramp during the morning rush hour.

    And, hurrah for the French bikers to show how transparent motorcycles can be in traffic. (Though I wouldn’t consider lane splitting in Paris)  -maynard

  • I am in favor of it. Once you experience it, it only makes sense. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of such an obvious benefit of riding a bike verse driving a car?
    Seems like a no brainer to me.  Dan

  • Here in Long Island, the normal morning commute is filled with road rage. Throw in motorcycles splitting lanes past them and drivers get insanely angry. Twice i’ve had cars intentionally cut me off to prevent me from lane splitting, one of them shouting at me “obey the law a**hole!”. It apparently didn’t occur to him that intentionally causing harm with a motor vehicle was against the law! Anyway, I see nothing wrong with low-speed lane splitting.   Chris
  • I live in CA. I lane “share” all the time. I go to the front of the queue at stop lights. I’ve been doing it for years and have never had a real moment. It’s true, some people don’t like it. But I’ve found that the majority of people actually move over a bit when they see you coming. I try not to let them see me coming, so that can’t do anything stupid until I’m already past them. It’s safer that way. The world should lane “share”. It would save time, ease congestion, and we would probably see more two wheeled vehicles on the road, which would produce even more positive benefits. This issue is a no brainer. Only the jealous and the ill informed can possibly be against lane “sharing”.
  • Lane splitting- An idea whose time has surely come and should be adopted all across America… What we need to do is educate (or retrain?) all the “squids” out there who wheelie at high speed down the free-ways convincing everyone that motorcyclists are nuts.  Richard
  • Thanks for another well rounded article!I’m glad you took the time to point out the pervasive negative
    attitude of California automobile drivers towards lane-splitting. The
    general consensus is an ignorant one, based on bias and negative
    stereotypes. I read a local blog “Claycord.com”, which runs local
    news stories about the general area which I live. Every time there is
    some motorcycle accident story, no matter the circumstances, and least
    40% of the comments take the time to make negative statements about
    lane splitting, even though I don’t think even one accident report
    involved lane splitting at all.

  • I favor the legalization of safe lane sharing and severe penalties for unsafe lane sharing (the difference to be described in the statute).  Jimbo
  • I live in Maricopa County (Arizona) and am looking forward to being able to lane-split. It may take the cagers a little time to get used to it, but they will. It’s too bad that so many bikes have no mufflers, as that will probably drive drivers nuts, even to the point of complaining to their representative. I have no problem with aftermarket mufflers, I do have an issue with no muffler what-so-ever. There’s loud, and then there’s obnoxious a-hole loud. I have commuted in 113* F heat, and being able to lane split will help me and my engine stay cooler. But as the article says, it will be approved for only a one year probationary period. If we riders abuse it, we will surely lose it. – Mike
  • I spent two weeks driving in France last year and lane splitting works
    there. The reason it works is because France has a lot better drivers
    that pay attention. I live in Iowa and there is no way lane-splitting
    would work. Drivers are distracted and can barely stay in their own lane
    while they drink coffee, talk on their cell phones, text, etc. On a side
    note, in France the drivers also know that the left lane is for
    overtaking. Spend a few days driving in most European countries and
    you’ll quickly realize how bad we are in the U.S.

  • That AZ has a law against lane-splitting but not one requiring a helmet tells me the law is all about envy, not safety. I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma and got my motorcycle license when I was 14 (you couldn’t get a car license until you were 16). I never knew there was a law against lane splitting (maybe there wasn’t in those days) so I’ve been splitting lanes most of my life. I’ve lived in California since 1962 and I didn’t realize other states were a bunch of uptight, ticket writing, nanny states till I went to the Motocross des Nations at Bud’s Creek with my brother-in-law. He told me we couldn’t split lanes and we couldn’t even ride beside one another. He was so accustomed to sitting in traffic, when we got to the ten-mile long line of cars waiting to get into the track, he was surprised when I just pulled out into the opposing lane and drove past all ten-miles of them.

    In the LA and Ventura county areas where I ride I don’t really seen any evidence of envy. A lot of drivers will even pull over a little to give me some more room. Maybe they appreciate I’m not going to take a parking spot they could use; that I’m part of the solution not part of the problem.  Brent

  • All states should make it legal. If a rider feels uncomfortable doing it, he doesn’t have to. Sit on the Interstate in Charlotte, NC commute traffic in August when it’s 95 degrees and traffic might be moving at 5mph. The temptation to break the law is almost overpowering. To the jealous drivers I say join us. You will be better off all around. Try it, you’ll like it!  Barry
  • One of the many pleasures I enjoy on my daily surface street commute is
    riding between long lines of stopped cars on my way to the front of the
    intersection. When the light turns green, I’m the first one off the
    line and on my way briskly at the head of the pack.

    On the rare occasions when I travel a California freeway, it’s always
    fun to split lanes while all the cars are stopped.

  • Wow! Way to go France! What a great show of pride, passion and solidarity. Here in the great state of Wisconsin I have only been stuck in traffic on my bike 10-15 times (lucky) as I tend to ride away from traffic but it would be a great relief to know that if necessary, the law would be on our side for once. Thanks for a great site…Brian
  • Lane splitting good!  Tommy
  • I commuted from the east side to West Hollywood/West Los Angeles and Santa Monica every morning for a good two or three years. I made sure never to split if there was any real flow of traffic, only in jams.

    Unlike my experience on surface streets or fast moving traffic (where there was always some jerk who had to be faster than the bike) I never encountered anyone try to cut me off or slow me down or do anything rash and stupid like cracking a door open. These were the same routes where stories of road rage were common and real.

    In fact, it was more common to have people nudge over a bit to give me and other bikers a bit more room. They waved. I waved if I could.

    The more states that allow splitting, the more we will see that the dangers of lane splitting are vastly overstated.

    Way to go Arizona.  Tommy

  • Riding a motorcycle in rush hour traffic in San Antonio is something I avoid at all costs. We have some of the worst, most aggressive and rude drivers I have ever seen, and I’ve lived all over the US and in Europe. Lane splitting in the Alamo city sounds like suicide.
  • I have been lane sharing for over 35 years in California without incident many of those years a have commuted daily. If California was to ban the practice I would stop commuting to work on my bike. Done responsibly I believe it is safer than merging with traffic. I say that because I have been rear ended while merged in a lane. Got to love the French riders for their demonstration. If we could only get the motor officers here in California to slow down a bit when splitting…….
  • Have you ever driven in Phoenix in rush hour?
    It sounds good and I agree with most of what you say but the reality of pissing off that line of armed, texting traffic has the potential for bad things.
    Not many people paying attention already, even for those stopped at lights let alone lane splitting.
    http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2010/03/27/20100327driver-in-phoenix-motorcycle-crash.html
    How about an end to the I didn’t see him defense with some mandatory penalties for those who take out bikes?
    http://www.havasunews.com/articles/2010/03/30/news/doc4bb1903194c7b130398204.txt
    I won’t cross a crosswalk with the little green man while walking down there if the cars are still moving and won’t lane split on a bike if they’re not.
    Rules to live, longer, by.

    Three on throttle, two on the brake always, Randy

  • The only drawback to lane splitting that I can see is that some 4 wheeled vehicles will also think they have the right to encroach into a motorcyclist’s lane space. Since many 4 wheelers already think they have this right, I am not sure that motorcyclists would actually lose anything.
  • Legalizing lane splitting outside California is probably the single greatest thing that could be done to increase the numbers of commuter motorcyclists, but it would have to be in effect for quite some time here in Texas before I think I’d be willing to give it a try… too many Bubbas in pickups whom I suspect would take personal offense. Image the incentive to ride though, if we were to combine lane-splitting with the free meter parking that has already been put in place for motorcycles here…  -Bob
  • All for it, having grown up in London have always done it. It should be legal everywhere in the USA!!!!  Tarik
  • Having lived and ridden in more than a few states, I can attest to the
    advantages offered to motorcycles in high congestion areas. However,
    education of drivers (and especially stiff penalties) for
    intentionally moving their cars or trucks to block motorcycle traffic
    between lanes of stalled traffic must be mandatory, as drivers will
    (and have) move to block forward progress out of sheer spite. As I
    learned when I was pushed to the side by a Corvette driven by a driver
    angry about sitting in traffic (he was screaming at me out of his
    passenger window), a motorcycle offers little protection when that gap
    between vehicles is reduced to zero ( the corvette lost significant
    paint along the right side, my engine guards saved me from a broken
    leg).  –Ken

  • Lane splitting for motorcyclists saves energy and time for a nation in a repression. Roads in American cities are generally inefficient for the rush hour, cyclist change all that mess!  Martin
  • You are right, the only arguments against lane splitting are emotional, and childish, and based on jealousy. There is absolutely no harm done to anyone by lane splitting, and allowing it in California is one of the few rational traffic laws still on the books. The French have a very long history of erratic and emotion based legislation, so it would be good to see a hint of reason in their government.  Victor
  • I think it should be a federal law to allow lane splitting. California
    has shown that it is not that hazardous and it makes the motorcycle more
    efficient in traveling in heavy traffic. I lived in California and was
    actually surprised when I moved to Virginia that it was not allowed what a
    bummer and a waste of time plus slowing down the efficiency of my
    motorcycle.