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Topic : Lane Splitting

Lane splitting refers to the process of a rider riding between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic, or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light.

In Southern Africa lane splitting is legal but this does not mean you can do it just any way or any time you please. If a traffic officer determines that you did it recklessly or dangerously, you'll get ticketed!

Lane splitting whilst on the move is always dicey, no matter how experienced you are. Even when cages are stationary at a robot and you are riding between them to get to the front, some idiot could suddenly pull in front of you (without checking their rear view mirror) if there is a gap and they decide to change lanes. You are at all times responsible to read the situation and ride accordingly.

Some cagers get uptight when bikers do lane splitting and many don't realize it's legal. Some have good reason to get uptight (rider doing it in a dangerous and irresponsible way) and some don't. Whatever, if a cager is intentionally blocking or impeding a rider in a way that could cause harm to that rider, they are committing an offence.

Riders must be competent and experienced to do lane splitting. If you are a rookie rider you should start lane splitting VERY carefully or even refrain from doing it it all until you have more experience. If you feel uncomfortable (you'll recognize the feeling immediately) in a lane splitting situation then listen to that guardian angel and back down. This is an important tip. Don't forget it.

Many things can happen in the time it takes to blink an eye. You need to realize this NOW. Don't wait until you have found out the hard way and then say "oh now I realize what they meant". Here are some general guidelines:
  • Travel at a speed that is no more than 15 kph faster than the going traffic
  • Danger increases at higher speed differentials
  • It is not advisable to lane split when traffic flow is at 60kph or faster
  • It is safer to split between the far-right and second from right lanes than between other lanes
  • Avoid splitting in lanes near freeway on-ramps and exits
  • Avoid splitting on unfamiliar roads unless plenty of forward road is visible
  • Be visible. Wear brightly colored protective gear and use high beams during daylight
  • Don't ride in cagers blind spot
  • Ride so that you are always ready to do emergency braking. Keep hand and foot over the brakes.
  • Assume all drivers are inattentive or distracted unless you see them seeing you
  • Don't rely on loud pipes to keep you safe
  • Weather, visibility, curves, blind rises and road conditions will determine how you ride
You should NOT lane split:
  • If you can't fit - pretty obvious hey!
  • At a toll gate - you'll piss off the cagers
  • If traffic is moving too fast or unpredictably.
  • If dangerous road conditions exist - loose stuff or lips in the surface etc.
  • If you cannot clearly see a way out of the space you want to go into
  • Between trucks, buses, RVs, and other wide vehicles
  • If you don't feel comfortable with the current situation (listen to that voice inside)
These guidelines are not guaranteed to keep you safe.
YOU must keep yourself safe by adhering to them and riding responsibly.


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