We’re pretty sure 99% of you have been exposed to it – doesn’t matter if you are the one doing it or watching motorcycles go by from the comfort of your own car. Yes, we’re talking about the act of lane splitting. More specifically, how one can go about lane splitting without endangering one’s own life as well as the lives of other motorists around you and maybe even the odd side mirror or two.
So, where do we begin? For a start, no matter how much of a rush you may be in, do not, well, rush. As cars get larger and larger, the margin for error when lane splitting becomes smaller and smaller. A rule of thumb to remember when lane splitting is to keep your speed at roughly 30-35 km/h faster than traffic around you.
What does that mean? If you’re caught in a traffic gridlock where the cars are stationary, try to maintain a speed of around 30-35 km/h. If traffic is moving along at roughly 10 km/h, try not to exceed 50 km/h whilst lane splitting.
Next up, always question rather than assume. Keep asking yourself this question, “What if that car on the left/right decides to suddenly swerve into my way?” If you constantly ask yourself this question, you will naturally resist speeding up way too fast while splitting lanes. Also, always be observant. Keep an eye out for cars that appear to be mildly swerving in and out of their lane.
More often than not, you will find an irresponsible driver wanting to merge lanes without indicating or worse, is doing so while messing about on their mobile phones. It sucks and you’d wish you could give them an earful but truth is, the fact that you’re on a motorcycle and they are not means you already are at a major disadvantage. Just accept that and always be observant. You’d be surprised at how good you’ll get at predicting careless drivers soon enough.
Moving on, always be mindful that traffic (especially in the heart of busy cities) will always find a way to fill up a newly-opened gap. When splitting lanes and a gap opens up, expect the car right next to it to dash across and occupy that space. Keep looking ahead and slow down. Toot your motorcycle’s horn if need be just to draw the attention of the driver and alert him/her of your incoming presence.
Pedestrians are another story. Be mindful, especially at major intersections and crossings. Certain individuals are known to dash out before even looking for oncoming traffic and the last thing you want is to hit a pedestrian with your motorcycle.
So remember, when lane splitting, always keep these few pointers in mind:-
1. Do NOT rush.
2. Always look ahead and pay attention to the direction of motorists around you.
3. Slow down a lot more than it is necessary at busy intersections and crossings.
4. Do NOT be afraid to use your horn to alert other motorists of your presence.