Misconceptions

Misconceptions about lanesharing

 

It’s institutional suicide’!! or “You’ve got to have a death wish to do such a crazy thing!!”

 

Granted, on the surface, the idea of traveling between two rows of vehicles sounds pretty sketchy, but remember these cars are stopped or slow-moving. The standard lane width is 12 feet while a car width is about 6.5 feet and a semi is 8 feet wide at a motorcycle‘s height. This leaves a theoretical net space of 4-5.5 feet between vehicles. While this is not a great amount, remember lane-sharing is accomplished at a low speed differential and a relatively low overall speed. Also, this spacing is dynamic, meaning that the net space is changing all the time. Most motorists will move to the far side of the lane to afford more space for the motorcyclist. They aren’t just being considerate to the motorcyclist, but it’s a self-serving one, too. Most motorists (and motorcyclists) want to avoid being in an altercation. Like motorcycling in general, lane-sharing is as risky as the individual motorcyclist makes it.
 
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They’ve been lane-sharing in California for years. Drivers in our community won’t tolerate it. It’ll be a bloodbath.

 

With several decades of lane-sharing, California motorists and motorcyclists have proven the practice is a viable one. Most Californians, especially in the more populated regions, expect to see the practice. Not so in other parts of the country. An effort to educate the motorcycling community, the law enforcement community and the general public at large is essential. But a community’s learning curve might surprise you. After all, a motorist doesn’t want to create trouble, especially in front of dozens of witnesses.
 
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We don’t need it: we’ve got HOV lanes!

 

While as motorcyclists, we are privileged to be able to use the HOV lane in all fifty states (federally mandated), not all multi-lane highways have HOV lanes and there’s no assurance that the HOV lane will be free flowing, either. In Washington State for example, there are 225 miles of HOV lanes but over 3000 miles of multi-lane interstates and highways. The cost of installing these 225 HOV lane-miles has cost $1.5 billion so far. The cost of creating a lane-sharing lane that appears and disappears as needed is, by contrast, negligible.
 
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Other road users will resent me and it will encourage road rage directed toward me.

 

While this is a real concern, road rage is also a fact of life in California and yet it doesn’t seem to be an issue for lane-sharing motorcyclists in that state. Again, most road users do not commit felonies in front of dozens of witnesses.
 
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Traffic here is different in Southern California than here in Washington State (and elsewhere).

 

Yes, Southern California is in many ways, different than most other regions in the country. But if you look at the Bay Area which more resembles the geography and climate of our area (Puget Sound region and the I-5 corridor), the practice of lane-sharing flourishes.
 
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The traffic here is too aggressive.

 

Please!! Californians invented aggressive driving. If they can handle lane-sharing, there’s no reason your community can’t adapt to the practice.
 
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What if another road user opens their door just in front of you.

 
This scenario is brought up often, but rarely happens. In fact, the only time you’ll likely see someone open their door wide enough to be a factor in congested traffic is in a jam that’s at a complete stand-still. It behooves the lane-sharing motorcyclist to adjust his/her speed differential downward in this case.
 
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1 Comment

  1. Bogage
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    There is no doubt that lanesharing should be adapted nationwide. I’ve been riding in Los Angeles for over 20 years and I have never had a problem. If you use common sense, watch everyone and everything, make sure that you are seen, and remember that you are on a bike and that you will not win if you battle with a cage. Be defensive as you are offensively moving forward through traffic. With people texting and driving it is even more critical that motorcyclists are not forced to remain prone between cars bumpers rather that next to the vehicles. People are not paying enough attention.

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