Lane splitting / filtering - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Lane splitting / filtering

While I realize that to some or most you this practice may be prohibited, I came across some interesting info and doesn't necessarily pertain solely to this. This can also be applied to passing other moving or stopped vehicles.


At +20mph over the slower lane--you are vulnerable out to 3 car-lengths. If a vehicle 3 car-lengths ahead begins to cross the corridor, you will not be able to avoid it. You're gonna crash. By slowing to +5 in that situation, you have a much better chance to avoid a collision in the event of a lane change--at 1 car-length you should be able to slow in time.

Learn to accurately estimate differential. And remember that the relevant speed is relative to the SLOWER of the two lanes. If one lane is faster and has a gap, the threat is from the slower lane. You will need to slow to that speed in the event of an incursion.

The easiest way to judge speed differential is to count out one second as you overtake a typical car (not a truck). Approaching an Accord or a Camry or whatever, begin counting as you pass the rear bumper: "One thousand one". If you reach the front bumper as you finish the last syllable, you're doing +10mph.

This video shows how speed differental looks: (I can't figure out how to embed Vimeo movies so I'll just provide the link) I found it cringe worth.


ETA: looks like it auto-magically embedded it...
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 08:39 PM
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Hey I recognize that bike. It's an FZ-09.

I bought one new in 2014 and put on 24k miles in 2 years.

Suspension needed work but that 3 cylinder motor is a gem.

Man that guy riding so close to those parked cars made my palms sweat.

Good info. Thanks for sharing.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Hey I recognize that bike. It's an FZ-09.

I bought one new in 2014 and put on 24k miles in 2 years.

Suspension needed work but that 3 cylinder motor is a gem.

Man that guy riding so close to those parked cars made my palms sweat.

Good info. Thanks for sharing.
Oh I was waiting / dreading for a car door to open I had trouble watching. I sure hope those were planted cars for the demo!
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 12:03 AM
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Oh I was waiting / dreading for a car door to open I had trouble watching. I sure hope those were planted cars for the demo!


What kind of idiot would open a door while you're splitting.....Oh wait here's one....
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 12:53 AM
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Lane splitting is always a calculated risk one takes- legal or illegal by law.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 06:16 AM
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People frequently ask me if I'm "one of those crazies who ride down the middle"

Sure, if I need to. It's one of the few benefits of riding in traffic.

If it weren't for lane splitting, if have to budget a lot more time for commuting.

Is it more dangerous? Maybe, maybe not. My bike is pretty wide, so I have to keep the speed down when things tighten up. I try to keep my speed differential down to around 15-20 mph, and generally won't split at over 35 mph.

But the ultimate fact is this: there is a HUGE difference between splitting in the bay area and splitting in the central valley. Partially due to lanes being wider here, but mostly due to the behavior of the drivers.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 10:54 AM
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But the ultimate fact is this: there is a HUGE difference between splitting in the bay area and splitting in the central valley. Partially due to lanes being wider here, but mostly due to the behavior of the drivers.
Man I don't know, I have encountered crazies in both areas.

California highways have become a Nascar race at best and a war zone at worst.

I work part time for the local Acura dealership doing dealer trades. Most of the time going from Fresno to the bay area and back.

The driver that really annoys me is the one who hogs the fast lane going slower than most everyone and refuses to move over to let faster traffic go by. Then when you attempt to go around in the lane to the right, the idiot speeds up so you cannot get around them.

A few times I have had to reach speeds near 100 to accomplish the pass.

What the hell are people thinking (or smoking) these days??????????????????????
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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I've had cars "squeeze me out" where they move over to the right side of the #1 lane to prevent me from passing. What I find tho' is that since I installed a headlight modulator is that mostly it the parting of sea as they see me and move over. Whether they think I'm CHP or not I don't care, it's legal (for both modulator and splitting) and they see me...
I'm fairly slow when splitting, 5-10mph delta as I've had other riders pass me and I'm happy to let them by. Sometimes traffic gets to surging and the max mph I'll move through is about 40mph.

Last edited by Heywood; 02-07-2019 at 11:13 AM.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 07:22 PM
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Man I don't know, I have encountered crazies in both areas.



California highways have become a Nascar race at best and a war zone at worst.



I work part time for the local Acura dealership doing dealer trades. Most of the time going from Fresno to the bay area and back.



The driver that really annoys me is the one who hogs the fast lane going slower than most everyone and refuses to move over to let faster traffic go by. Then when you attempt to go around in the lane to the right, the idiot speeds up so you cannot get around them.



A few times I have had to reach speeds near 100 to accomplish the pass.



What the hell are people thinking (or smoking) these days??????????????????????
It's funny... I'm pretty sure I look like a PO when I ride, and I get a much different reaction from people as a result. Between the color of the bike, the hard cases on the sides and the yellow vest... I used to get really similar reactions when I drove an actual police car.

I drive a truck all over northern California. While I agree California roads and traffic are, in general, a complete -show, the bay area from 680 on is the worst of the worst. The lanes are actually less wide than the rest of the state, traffic density is much higher, drivers are more stressed and less attentive... It's bad all over, but the bay area is the worst.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 08:35 AM
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I've never lane split with moving cars, but I have filtered through stopped traffic to get to the front of the queue, or take the next exit off the interstate. My risk was getting a citation but was worth it.

I filtered past a LEO stuck in traffic one day and I believe my HI-Viz vest and Police looking motorcycle kept him from considering that I was doing something illegal. LOL!

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 09:19 AM
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I find it interesting how your (US) experiences compare to mine.

In Poland, lane splitting is legal. Well, it's not explicitly forbidden, thus technically legal, but it's accepted by the Police.

We get traffic jams on highways relatively rarely. Partially because we don't have many highways People don't tend to work as far away from home and commute long distances, rush hours with all lanes of a highway barely crawl don't happen regularly. Of course, jams do form if there's an accident, but then it's usually full stop and you're not lane splitting as much as driving around stationary cars.

So lane splitting is mostly an inner city thing. Rush hours in our cities with those narrow old streets can be brutal and I can't imagine NOT filtering.

The first weeks of Spring are usually the dangerous ones, drivers need some time to come to terms that motorcycles are back on the road and start paying attention again. After that, I find it's relatively problem free. Usually either the traffic is crawling, so filtering is safer, or it's flowing and there's no need to filter in the first place.

I have a hypothesis that our drivers don't spend so much time in their phones because Euro cars tend to have manual transmissions more often. Harder to hold your phone if you need that hand for shifting.

I also have an unrelated hypothesis, that the riders that have lots of close calls and often complain about "cagers" are usually the ones that ride aggressively or are ego-driven. Some people just seem to enjoy feeling like the road is a battlefield and they're the action hero. Or maybe they can't ride defensively? I don't know, but I honestly can't relate with the "assume everyone's out to kill you" mentality, I get like maybe one close call per season? And maybe one or two drivers that I judge as actually spiteful or malicious, as opposed to inattentive? And I ride daily through the fourth-largest city in the country.

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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 09:37 AM
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I also have an unrelated hypothesis, that the riders that have lots of close calls and often complain about "cagers" are usually the ones that ride aggressively or are ego-driven. Some people just seem to enjoy feeling like the road is a battlefield and they're the action hero. Or maybe they can't ride defensively? I don't know, but I honestly can't relate with the "assume everyone's out to kill you" mentality, I get like maybe one close call per season? And maybe one or two drivers that I judge as actually spiteful or malicious, as opposed to inattentive? And I ride daily through the fourth-largest city in the country.
I rarely have a close call because I anticipate the actions of drivers based on many years and many more miles of riding. I will say though that assuming everyone's out to kill you is the prudent and defensive thing to do. I agree that most drivers are inattentive. But there is another category of "just don't care enough or too self absorbed" to realize that they have to accommodate others on the road. They are not spiteful or malicious, just think the world revolves around them.

They are the ones that back up in the lane of traffic because they missed their turn. Take left turns from the right lane. Cut across parking lots at faster than prudent speeds, change lanes without signaling, pull out and not speed up causing you to have to brake and swerve.

Better to assume the worst out of everyone and be pleasantly surprised, than to assume the best and be sorely disappointed when you are writhing in pain.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 10:23 AM
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It's funny... I'm pretty sure I look like a PO when I ride, and I get a much different reaction from people as a result.
I like the sound of that.

Wish I could look like these guys below. Imagine all the fun you could have...til the real POE showed up.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 12:26 PM
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I lane split quite a bit in SoCal on trips for work.

Honestly the most dangerous thing I see is people splitting construction tucks and trailers without giving them a good looking over. I routinely see wires and crap sticking 4 foot off the side of trucks and lawn care trailers. I almost got popped by a clothes hanger sticking 3 foot off the back of a trailer, saw it just at the last second. would have been my eye gone.





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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 02:41 PM
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Oh I was waiting / dreading for a car door to open I had trouble watching. I sure hope those were planted cars for the demo!
Riding a motorcycle that far over to the right of the lane bordering parked cars is asking for it. Anyone who has ridden bicycle in the city knows what thats called...Seeking the Door Prize!
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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 02:50 PM
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...I don't know, but I honestly can't relate with the "assume everyone's out to kill you" mentality, I get like maybe one close call per season? And maybe one or two drivers that I judge as actually spiteful or malicious, as opposed to inattentive? And I ride daily through the fourth-largest city in the country.
That is BECAUSE you're NOT riding here in North America. The BEST advice for new riders, here, is to assume that ALL drivers are actively trying to kill you!
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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 02:53 PM
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That is BECAUSE you're NOT riding here in North America. The BEST advice for new riders, here, is to assume that ALL drivers are actively trying to kill you!
Heck... I had 2 close calls on TUESDAY!

That's what we in California like to refer to as "a slow news day".
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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 04:32 PM
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Here we have a huge problem with California immigrants. They bring their "The 405" with them. I now hear "The 15" all the time. And their driving habits are just as bad.

20 years ago drivers would make room if you put on a turn signal to change lanes, now they speed up to make sure you don't get in front of them. The level of aggression is much much higher than it ever used to be.

The level of distraction is also much higher thanks to cell phones, gps, and a much different view of driving in general. Driving used to be an activity. A vehicle used to be a personal freedom machine and statement of who you are. Now driving is a background operation in the mind of the driver, and the vehicle is merely an appliance.

Nearly every time I ride the freeway in the city area somebody intentionally and aggressively invades my space. Many of my suburban rides involve an oblivious driver creating a threat to me of some sort along the way. Not a higher rate than when I'm driving my car though.
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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 04:58 PM
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assume that ALL drivers are actively trying to kill you!
Yes indeed cuz many of them are!

Case in point. The following is from a post I made last July.


"Took a lunch ride up to my favorite burger spot in the Sierra's. It's about 25 miles of delightful twisty roads in the foot hills. Normally during the week there is not much traffic. Tooling along at a moderate clip I come up upon a slow pickup towing a trailer with one compact car following close behind. Being very familiar with the road I knew all the good passing spots. On one of the short straits I hit the gas in 4th gear and proceeded to make a pass. As I got along side the car the driver layed on the horn and hit the gas. Now I am stuck just in front of the car and in the opposite lane. Here comes an opposite direction car and this idiot in the car won't let me back in the lane. I just managed to squeeze between the front fender of the idiot and the oncoming car. All the while the idiot is still on the horn. I finally got in behind the truck with the idiot glued to my back wheel until I got to the next strait to complete the pass. This is not the first time this has happened to me.

Fortunately I kept my cool, hit the gas and drove away from the idiot. 30 years ago it would have been a very different end to the story. Someone may have lost some teeth.

Would imagine many of you all have some stories like this?"

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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 05:50 PM
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So I tell all the new riders I chat with is that if you "assume that ALL drivers are actively trying to kill you!" you'll properly understand the increased amount of defensive driving and attention you must have when you ride a motorcycle.

Yes, I've had far too many cagers that feel that motorcycles should not be on the road and rage at you, but I've also had many car drivers who just are not paying attention, don't see you, eating food, and especially being on their #$%@ cell phones.

I'm now 71, when I started riding at 15 nobody told me about people turning left in front of you in intersections and had 2 left turn accidents in the first 6 months. My wife commented a while back on how carefully I handle intersections even in the car.
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