My time spent in California gave me an opportunity to witness lane splitting done by motorcycles. If you don’t know the traffic in California at any given time is horrendous to say the least. I know we have a lot of drivers, but I can’t understand how if all the cars are going the same speed (speed limit), then why are we sitting at a stop on the highway. The only explanation I can come up with is that those few incapable drivers that plague the east coast also exist on the west coast. The urge to tap or even slam on the brakes because either a turn in the road is approaching, or better yet because they see the brake lights of a car about a mile in front of them.

It is for that reason I believe that lane splitting is legal in California. The times that I witness the technique was while sitting in heavy congestion on the highway. This is where I find it make sense. Most motorcycles are air cooled and aren’t in favor of sitting behind some four wheeled vehicle sucking up the exhaust. It is at these times, and without hesitation, that a motorcyclist can “part the metal seas” by riding the lane dividers up until the traffic moves freely again. Personally, I would rather jump on the shoulder and ride that up past the point of the stoppage. Using this technique at this time is completely feasible and should be allowed in all states.

Now the other times that I’ve seen it in on an average road. There isn’t any congestion except while waiting for the traffic signal, and even in these cases, you will first hear then see a motorcycle moving up to the front of the line, just to sit and wait like the rest of us. I don’t understand this one, and I am hoping someone can explain it to me. If you will have to sit and wait, why don’t you sit and wait exactly where you entered the signal? What is the point of moving to the front of the line (we would all like to move to the front) and have to wait anyway? I don’t know, maybe I am uncomfortable with weaving my bike through the layers of car that will never be sitting in a nice clean straight line. My bike isn’t huge, but I don’t want to take it through some of the narrowing paths that separate two vehicles.

If you have a few minutes, watch this 14 minute video regarding lane splitting, and let me know what your take on it is.

Even after watching this video and viewing the technique in practice, I still can’t say I completely agree with what the guys are saying, but there are many good points in it and it should really be studied. Maybe because lane splitting has always been illegal since I began to ride, I don’t know what I am missing. Maybe one day, Maryland will jump on the band wagon with California and legalize lane splitting. That will probably happen just after we all legalize pot.