Splitting Lanes

If you are afraid of lane splitting; don’t know how to read conditions when on a bike, then you are not required to split lanes.

Anything is possible. Laws are stretched everyday. The cops around here seem to be fairly lenient unless you’re doing something outrageous. Putting along in the breakdown lane at 5 mph is unlikely to warrant anything more than a glance. Some of the breakdown lanes are legal travel lanes at various times around here to alleviate heavy traffic. Regardless, unless you’re blasting past traffic creating a safety hazard, they aren’t likely to take the time to pull you over for such things.

I’ve been given nasty looks from the staties when they come up on my bumper in the fast lane and I’m doing 80 while passing someone. They just want me out of their way…

Lane splitting is legal only in California, I believe. I have no problem with it when the biker uses due caution.

Lane splitting when you are moving at even a slow pace (ie. 25 mph in heavy backed up freeway traffic) can be dangerous and isn’t legal even in CA. When traffic comes to a stop lane splitting is OK with me, again with some caution by the biker.

An overheated bike isn’t bogus. In hot weather an air cooled bike could overheat. Many bikes now are water cooled and even modern air cooled bikes over heat less often than old models, but it can happen.

On overheated air cooled motor should not be shut down, warping can occur therefore it is best cooled by moving air and when it has cooled back to normal operating temps it can be shut off without damage. Air cooled bike motors do not have cooling fans, so getting the bike moving is the only way to get the air moving.

Lane splitting is not illegal in California, but its not actually legal.

As for bikes overheating in traffic jams, that is entirely possible for a bike that is only aircooled. They need air to flow over the cooling fins on the cylinder heads in order to keep the engine oil temperatures low. If they are stationary, and the engine is running, eventually, the bike gets really, really hot.

Regardless of all this, its not a legitimate reason for allowing lane splitting.

What is a legitimate reason for allowing lane splitting is traffic flow.

In California, you have some pretty impressive traffic jams.
During these traffic jams, cars don’t go very far.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, can filter right between the cars, and get where they are going, without hurting you, themselves, or anyone else.

The worst thing that happens when a motorcyclist filters past you in your car, is that you become enraged that you’re stuck in traffic, while that guy on his motorcycle is able to continue alone, uninterrupted. This makes you feel inadequate to know that someone else on the road is more intelligent than you are, to know that changing his mode of transportation gets him to his destination while you are still fighting with traffic.

So, while you are stewing in your own juices about how that motorcyclist gets to do something that you can’t physically do with your huge car, maybe you should consider taking the MSF course, buying an inexpensive used motorcycle, and legally lane splitting through traffic on your own.

You will save money, fuel, resources, cause less pollution, and you will get where you are going, and be less stressed out because of your commute.

The only downfall with being a motorcyclist is having to deal with the jealous road raging stuck in traffic drivers in their cages, who can’t stand it when someone else is able to do something that they can’t do themselves.

So, take your rant, and stuff it.


(In case you can’t tell, I’m a motorcyclist. I’ve heard your rant many times before. Its pathetic.)

Perfectly stated, Blade!

Doesn’the intake combustion air and oil cool the cylinder heads enough?
I’ve never stood long idling, perhaps the longest is a long traffic signal.
(I wish we had count-down signals as they have in China.)

For trains, I shut off and start engine when I see thend coming.
But never cross until the signalstop operating. (One guy went around a train before the gates started up and was killed by a second train traveling in the opposite direction behind the first. Don’t knowhy he didn’t hear the second train’s horn blaring for the grade crossing.)
Thank you.

Doesn’t the intake combustion air and oil cool the cylinder heads enough?

Honestly, when you’re in a hot place, where the air temp is at 100, or higher, in say Phoenix, your gasoline is 100+, heat is rising off of the engine onto the gas tank to raise that temp even higher, and the combustion chamber on the engine is well over 500 degrees, I doubt that the cooling effect from the intake charge would help much over a long period of being stopped in traffic.

The oil that flows in the cylinder head has to lubricate the valve train, and then carry away the heat from the combustion down into the crank case. Large crank cases hold a gallon of oil, and can heat soak for a longer period, than say a small engine with only a 2 quart capacity.

To help, the bike manufacturers typically run the air cooled bikes really rich, so that they are pretty much spraying raw fuel into the combustion chamber, but that isn’t good for fuel economy, emissions, or engine longevity.

We have count down cross walk lights here in most places in the Denver area.
Helps me know how long I’m going to have to wait, and if I should keep holding onto my Ducati clutch-of-death.


Is it illegal in IN? I hope it is.

It`s dangerous because many drivers do NOT drive properly.

If I recall correctly, the justification for allowing this (wherever it is allowed) is to save fuel and reduce pollution. Since motorcycles typically use less fuel than cars, this would encourage more people to drive them, and fewer cars would mean less severe traffic jams.

However, the motorcycles are supposed to go between the cars at “bicycle speed”. The problem is, motorcycles zoom by cars at 50+mph mere inches from your side view mirrors. One small error, and WHAMO! Major accident!

Thanks. Years ago I wanted to measure temperatures at various places to learn what is really happening. Also wanted to painthe oil sump black so that it would radiate more heat away.

Yes, I love the new count-down pedestrian signals.
Wish they were bigger so I could seearlier to start coasting to what will be a red signal.
But I have learned to discern them from a distance and it has saved somExpedition fuel and pollution.

In China they have large LED count-down numerals which are.during the red signal phase and green during the green phase.

If you are afraid of lane splitting; don’t know how to read conditions when on a bike, then you are not required to split lanes.

Doesn’t matter how good of a driver you THINK you are…or how well you THINK you can read conditions…Splitting lanes means you are now driving withing inches (NOT FEET) from vehicles on either side of you…AND that most people don’t expect this…and if they decide to move over within their lane (THUS BLOCKING THE BIKER)…the biker had better be driving 5mph (which MOST don’t)…he/she could be killed …not to mention injury to the motorists…

As I said before…IT’S STUPID…I don’t see how anyone can think it can be done safely.

Most motorists (car drivers) would consider it a minor accident, not even worth stopping for…

They might use their cell-phone to report some debris in the center lane that needs to be cleaned up…

I bought a Harley XL this past spring. I’ve been nearly run off the road 2 times so far. In broad daylight. The cagers “see” you with their eyes but it doesn’t seem to register in the brain.

If you wanna ride a bike & survive, you have to drive defensively which is impossible when you’re splitting lanes. Mr Cheap & Mike In NH are right on the money, regarding, say, if 2 cars alongside of each other happen to move close to the line dividing them as a biker is about to bisect them.

The following is anecdotal, but if the shoe fits, wear it: my cousin is an orthopedic surgeon & he saves the lives of some of the bikers who do stuff on our local super highways like splitting lanes, etc. Often, though, he has to pronounce them dead in the middle of an operation.

The breakdown lane is for breakdowns, not for cruising, whether there’s a traffic jam or not. If someone has to pull over for a legitimate reason–flat, or overheating, etc, and they get hit in the rear by a bike & the biker’s killed, it’s the biker’s fault for taking that chance to begin with.

A friend of mine was down at Daytona Bike Week several years ago. Him and the flock of bikers he was with were getting a police escort out of the city for some benefit run they were doing. They were “accorddian-ing” through the city, sometimes sitting for several minutes, & barely topping 20 MPH. He had a Harley V-Rod, which is water cooled. His friends, though, had air cooled engines with performance cams & stuff, & more than one guy did major engine damage. Also it was like 95 F. Still, I’d rather cook my engine than die splitting lanes.

I wish I could ask this guy more about that trip, but he’s not with us anymore. He got snuffed cruising straight through a green light into a shopping center. A woman was coming out of the shopping center & made a left in front of him. I don’t think either vehicle was going over 20. He ended up under the undercarriage & apparently got his skull crushed.

If one can get killed under the above circumstances, then how can it be safe to split lanes?

Wait your turn in traffic. If your bike overheats in traffic, buy one that doesn’t.

Many vehicles overheat or get close to over heating. Are they allowed to drive on the shoulder of the road to reach their destination?

Why do some people see themselves as different or special?

So, you admit that you don’t like others being able to do something you aren’t allowed to do simply because of jealousy?

Thanks for admitting that.

So here’s my story:

I’ve been riding motorcycles for over 20 years now.
For quite a few years, it was my only/primary mode of transportation.

I have never lived in California, so I have never lived in a place that allows lane splitting, so I can count the number of times I have done it on 1 hand.

To me, its unnerving. So I prefer not to do it.
There have been a couple of times where I have done it out of spite in completely stopped traffic, just to get to the next intersection, exit ramp, whatever, and get out of traffic.
More often than not, I watch more motorcyclist pass me by, and I let them alone.

In California, the freeway lanes are much wider than they are in NYC, so its safer to lane split in California. Here in Colorado, its more of a mixed bag, and I don’t think I have lane split here at all.

Anyway, guess what?

If the motorcyclist hits your car, their insurance will pay for the repairs on your car, AS LONG AS you didn’t impede the motorcyclist’s right of way by seeing him, and swinging your car into the dividing line to block their path. That then gets you dragged off to the nearest jail cell, as you tried get booked for attempted vehicular homicide.

As for the motorcyclists that lane split at speed differences higher than 15 mph, we call them idiots. Feel free to blast all the idiots on motorcycles that you want.

The rest of us sane motorcyclists would appreciate it if you would stop trying to kill us just because you are pissed off at one of them, and we are the next one that you come across, and insist on taking out your revenge on us instead.


As far as I know, the only place it is legal is California. Those who split lanes only crash once. I only do it if traffic is standing still. If the cars are moving, I won’t go between them.

On the overheating issue, even some of the newest air cooled Harleys have a feature that disengages the rear cylinder while idling to prevent overheating. I think its a shame someone is still making air-cooled motorcycle engines that overheat like that. It’s a lazy way to address the issue. If you want an air-cooled American made V-twin cruiser that doesn’t overheat, you can get an Indian or a Victory. My air and oil-cooled Nighthawk 750 does fine in traffic jams. It doesn’t overheat.

Now that you have put that idea out there in the universe, it will happen. Why did you have to do that? :wink:

I do believe there is a jealousy factor involved with some cagers stuck in traffic and seeing a bike go by making progress when they cannot.

I think that is part of the issue, but some bikers do it when they shouldn’t. Some do it when traffic is moving, just not fast enough. I had one crazy biker pass me on an exit ramp with only one lane. I never saw him coming. He just blared past me. That kind of risk taking is just stupid.


Have you ever seen what is left of a biker after he gets taken down by a car changing lanes? I hope when you do it, you are carrying a supply of blood in your saddle bags, and riding slower than 100 MPH.

Splitting lanes is supposed to be done when traffic is at a standstill on the freeway. If cars are moving, there will be spaces for people driving them to jockey for position and switch lanes. Lane splitting is foolish when traffic is moving. People miss you on a big ole Sportster when they are looking for traffic. It’s unlikely they’ll see you when they aren’t expecting traffic. I had a number of inadvertent near-accidents when I rode. I stopped riding because it became too dangerous on the highways.