Let me preface this post by saying first and foremost – gather your own facts about lane splitting before actually doing it. This post is based solely on my Internet research, face-to-face conversations with CHP and observing CHP on the highway.
As the title suggests, I truly feel life is but a game and just like any other game when you level up and unlock achievements, the game gets just a little bit sweeter and a little bit tougher. Man do I savor a good level up.
When K and I decided to move to LA one of the first thoughts in my head was to get some 2-wheeled transportation so I could lane-split. This would hopefully cut down my travel time from gig to gig. I researched to make sure I could in fact bring a used motorcycle into the state of California and register it without hassle, and procured one of my dream bikes (more about LadyHawke in another post).
My first few days riding around LA and on her sidestreets and highways I never really hit any terrible traffic. I was getting a little sad, thinking that being able to lane split wasn’t going to be this awesome new achievement. A few more days and then it happened – bumper-to-bumper traffic. HA! Now to play around with this new found achievement! I went very slow, getting used to the idea of trusting humans in a motorized box to notice me amidst their texting/song picking/phone calling/ make-up applying/shaving/whatever else but driving distraction. I was amazed – people actually moved over a little, knowing that it was illegal to impede the movement of a motorcycle.
WOW, people actually MOVED OVER and let me through.
I could not fathom this, how, why, when did I get to deserve this?? Do not get me wrong, I was white knuckled the whole damn time - 2 fingers on the clutch, 2 on the brake (riders know EXACTLY what I mean here) But here I was – lane-splitting and cutting my commute time in half of what Google Maps said. HALF- you read that right, HALF THE TIME. It was awesome to say the least – remember the little bit sweeter, a little bit tougher? I have now successfully traveled over a months worth of rush hour commutes only to say my experiences lane-splitting are entirely positive. Do I come across a few people that think their Prius is as wide as a Semi trailer- you bet ya! Do I get people that clearly do not like the fact I am passing them and they DO NOT move to the side- every damn day. But over all, for me, lane splitting is fantastic!
In closing, I would like to thank the State of California for allowing me to lane split in their grand state.
One last thing – if anyone reading this has not moved past the thought that all motorcyclists are self-entitled assholes that expect the world to bow before them and say “cool bike” Please know I’m a commuter first and foremost, someone just trying to get to their job and make a buck. It’s not all a bed of roses, remember, we’re sitting on a hot engine – about 200 degrees hot. We do not have air conditioning or even a vent fan to cool us off. Being able to lane split not only cuts the time required to be sitting on your engine, but it also adds a nice breeze even if 15 or 20 miles an hours worth.
In closing, here is a quote from my lovely wife, Kimberly on her first experience lane splitting:
I also got to experience lane splitting on the 5 during rush hour traffic. Let's just say as a passenger with no control it was best to focus on the back of his helmet, hold on tight, and think skinny thoughts.