Risky Business

Have you ever heard of "lane splitting"? Some motorcyclists believe that their small size and agility makes driving in between cars on multi-lane highways an acceptable behavior, especially during traffic jams and slowdowns. In most states such action is illegal, and for good reason. In other states, however, it is perfectly legal. I think it's dangerous and stupid.

The risks are plentiful, any bicycle rider who has gotten "doored", any pedestrian who has been (or nearly been) hit by a driver who looked one way but not the other, any highway driver who has been nearly sideswiped by someone changing lanes can tell you that drivers, for the most part, don't pay attention to things unless they're right in front of them -- and there are a lot of drivers who don't even do that. Any motorcyclist who engages in this behavior is putting their very lives into the hands of other drivers.

Why is lane splitting dangerous? Because of this:

Granted, you can search YouTube and find all sorts of videos of people lane splitting successfully, but this one video is all I need to convince me that it's a stupid, risky behavior. If you engage in lane splitting and you get hit, you're asking for it, and I have no sympathy for you.

That goes for all kinds of risky behavior: play Russian roulette and lose? No sympathy. Use explosives as toys and lose some fingers or a limb? No sympathy. Throw blood in shark infested water, go swimming and get bit? No sympathy. Reach into a fire and then complain that you got burned? No sympathy.

Now, should my lack of sympathy be regarded as advocating the death, dismemberment or injury of motorcycle riders, gun enthusiasts, ocean biologists and campers? No. Not at all. Not even a little. My point is that if you engage recklessly in risky behavior you need to be prepared to accept the possible consequences of your action. The thing with lane splitting is that it's not only the rider who is effected, the driver has to live with it too.

The best thing for motorcyclists, in my opinion, is to stay off the freeways whenever possible. Drivers on the Interstates are idiots and you should minimize your exposure to them. Take back roads whenever you can, monitor your speed, keep your eyes open at all times and don't engage in the risky business of lane splitting. You'll still make it home in time to watch Surviving With The Dancing Stars Factor.


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