WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

When Splitting Lanes you gotta know who your friends are

By James - 3/24/2007

I have been splitting lanes now for more than 7 years now. Every day to and from work and on the weekends too. During that time I have learned some good lessons, most of which are written down in Tips for Splitting Lanes. But there are a few tips I left out. Mainly because they are overly broad, differ from person to person, and are frankly mean spirited. Since the article section of the website is meant for educational purposes, I stuck to the facts. The blog has more of an op-ed feel. So here I will spew my hate . . .

I don’t like broad generalizations. Judging a whole group of people based on the actions of a large minority of those people is dumb and closed minded. But after 7 years of splitting lanes I am seeing a pattern and it is letting me be proactive in my lane position, speed, and following distance. I hope you can learn from my observations.

Trucks are your friends
I don’t know why. By all accounts they should be hard to pass when splitting lanes. The are big vehicles with big mirrors right at decapitation level. But they seem to be more aware and more motorcycle friendly than the general cager. A lot of my motorcycle buddies have trucks, maybe this is them driving to work. They seem to move over for you and give you following room much more than I am used to. I would like to give a big two finger “what’s up” to all the trucks that are paying attention.

German cars are your enemies
Not so much with the higher end German cars, I am talking about the entry and mid level BMWs, Mercedes, just about all Audis and if you exclude their vans, Volkswagen. I have seen them signal so I know the cars come with that functionality, but why are they so reluctant to use their turn signals? Without fail, when a stretch of road opens up in front of me and I get up to speed, a Jetta decides they want to be in that faster lane and without looking or signaling, cuts me off. With all that protection they might feel invincible. With my loud pipes and high beam, I might as well be invisible.

Minivans, everybody’s favorite scapegoat
I don’t blame minivan drivers. Most are moms and we all know they have the hardest job in the world. And nowadays they have to drive further to do it. But what really gets me is when they have a “Baby on board” sign but insist in driving dangerously and endangering everybody else on the road.

I love to take the bus
They are big and hard to pass but you know that up front. They don’t lure you to pass then try to kill you. They are nice and predictable. They signal, they maintain their lane positioning and they see you coming. I want to say thanks to the bus drivers.

This might just be a California thing so let me know what patterns you have noticed in your area.


1 Comment »

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  1. I couldn’t agree more. Although I believe the German car owners do it more often, it happens to me at least once on every trip and is not limited to them. I also wish people understood the concept of the “fast” or “passing lane", eg: get out of the left lane if you are going to drive so slowly. It helps releive traffic and my blood pressure.

    -Illinois, USA

    Comment by CBR Rider 1 — 8/25/2008 @ 10:38 am

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