5 Tips for Bikers to Split Lanes Safely

Motorcycle riding at sunsetIn a recent post, we covered the topic of lane splitting, which occurs when a person on a motorcycle travels in between two lanes of traffic. As we discussed, California is one of the only places in the United States where lane splitting isn’t illegal.

With no enforceable lane-splitting guidelines from the California Highway Patrol, this practice can be extremely dangerous. However, safety experts agree that motorcyclists can take certain safety precautions to help everyone stay safe on the road.

  1. Keep your bike tuned up. Your brakes and tires should be in good working order before riding anywhere, particularly in between lanes of traffic
  2. Get comfortable with lane buttons. While lane splitting, you may have to ride over the raised buttons in between lanes. They can rattle your bike, but they shouldn’t, under most circumstances, tip you over. Practice riding over them when there are no cars around to get comfortable.
  3. Consider practicing without the engine. You’ve surely seen cyclists dart between lanes of traffic, changing directions on a dime and leaving cars in their dust. It may annoy some motorists, but it can be very helpful in developing comfort with lane splitting and identifying patterns in traffic, so long as it is done safely and legally.
  4. Use the right gear. While lane splitting may at times be safer than trying to occupy an entire lane on a motorcycle, there is still a substantial risk. When riding between two lanes of moving traffic, you’ll be much better off if you’re wearing a full-face helmet, boots with ankle protection and protective clothing.
  5. Stay focused. More than almost any other type of driving, lane splitting requires complete concentration and an enhanced awareness of what’s happening around you. If you’re tired, distracted or otherwise unable to concentrate, consider taking another route or staying off the bike altogether.
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