Look Twice Save a Life. Lane Sharing in California


PREFACE:

This is one of the most important blogs I have ever written.  You will find that at various times of the year I will amend parts of it and repost in an effort to get the word out to drivers to PLEASE LOOK TWICE SAVE A LIFE! And pass it along.

And I to my motorcycle 
Parked like the soul of the junkyard 
Restored, a bicycle fleshed 
With power, and tore off 
Up Highway 106, continually 
Drunk on the wind in my mouth, 
Wringing the handlebar for speed, 
Wild to be wreckage forever.

~James Dickey, “Cherrylog Road”

We love being in the wind, driver or rider. James Dickey said it best, “Drunk on the wind in my mouth.” But there are those who do not know the rules of the road here in California, or worse, they do not care. The concept of “Lane Sharing” here in California for many drivers is just something they would rather not have to do, it’s an an inconvenience when trying to apply makeup, text, eat and read emails via their smart phone and pay attention to the road.

While traveling down the 215 toward Temecula on a Sunday morning there was traffic due to a road crew cleaning up the shoulders. Traffic was very heavy and not typical of an early Sunday morning. On this day more drivers either refused to yield to us at all or moved closer to the inside of their lane than normal. Stupidity…? Absolutely.

On February 11th 2010 the CHP began its 2 year campaign “Look twice save a life” in an effort to educate the drivers of California to lane sharing. When the signs first came on, Cal Trans was flooded with phone calls, about 800. But in San Diego County, “None of the calls we’ve gotten have been positive,” said Edward Cartagena, spokesman for the San Diego Cal Trans office. “One call was a 20-minute rant.” About a dozen callers angrily complained that it wasn’t their job to watch out for motorcyclist who speed, double up in lanes with cars or otherwise ride aggressively. (According to an article from February 19th 2010 on Signon San Diego.)

I am not writing this for the rider, but for the driver and for you to pass it on to others that drive here in California. We have to be a part of the solution to educating all drivers, regardless if it is your Son, Daughter, Grandma, or out-of-state friend that visits here.

According to GHSA.org From January – September 2008 there were 454 motorcycle fatalities in California, and during the same period in 2009, there were 321. State wide fatalities are down about 10%. However, we still lead the nation in motorcycle related deaths, followed closely by Florida.

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Lane Sharing:

So for drivers, here is the skinny on Lane Sharing in the State of California.
The California Highway Patrol’s Web site says lane splitting “is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner,” However, it is not up to a driver to decide if a motorcyclist is being prudent or safe. Drivers should always yield to their own common sense and allow the rider to pass. In addition, the law is open to interpretation by the officer that may write a motorcyclist a ticket. The California Vehicle Codes used are not “specifically” written for motorcycles and therefore may be interpreted differently given speed and conditions of traffic, road conditions and weather.

Lane Sharing Laws In California

Motorcyclist who split lanes are sometimes cited under three sections of the state Vehicle Code:

Section 22350, the basic speed law 
Section 21658, which governs lane changes 
Section 21755 which allows passing on the right only under safe conditions.

When changing lanes, it’s simple, look twice and listen; you may hear a rider before you ever see him or her.

If you are sitting in stop and go traffic, pay attention to your mirrors, if you see an approaching motorcycle move to the outside edge of your lane, away from the rider. And remember there may be more than one… we sometimes travel in packs! The riders appreciate your courtesy more than you know!

It just takes 2 seconds to give another look around when making a lane change, those few seconds could save a life!

Watch the lights and stop signs! The worst collisions occur when a car has run a light or stop sign. Give some extra time and a double take.

Do not attempt to pass riders on a two way road. Any number of things can go wrong causing an accident, from an animal on the road to the glare of the sun.

Do not merge in to a group of bikes. Allow them to pass please.

Don’t follow a bike too closely, what is a minor rear end in a car could be catastrophic to a bike.

Also keep in mind. Bikers don’t need a reason to ride, but if there is one, we’re all over it. Bikers all across the United States donate millions of dollars to charities every year. They give of their time to put together and to promote these events. So the next time you see rolling thunder en mass. Instead of griping about the noise and the minute or two is takes for them to pass, give thanks that they do what others rarely consider and show some gratitude and respect.

Wounded Veterans
Love Ride
Bikers against Child Abuse
Desert Thunder, Benefiting Children In Ca and NV.
Remember911 Charity ride Orange County Ca.
RIPS Ride, (Riders against Diabetes)
Save a Stray
Wheels of Steel Benefiting Ronald McDonald House, Yucaipa
Lost Girls Breast Cancer Ride, Visailia

Upcoming Bike Events to Be Aware of:

Check the Events, Runs and Rallies Page

Every weekend in Old Town Temecula you will encounter many bikes on the road. Stop at the stop signs please and be careful when driving through wine country. If you are visiting Wine Country, please designate a driver! To see what’s going on in the Temecula area visit Taste of Temecula here.

From all of us that ride and those that love us, Thanks! And don’t forget LOOK TWICE SAVE A LIFE!

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5 responses to “Look Twice Save a Life. Lane Sharing in California

  1. Pingback: CHP: Return the Lane Splitting Guidelines! | stories lies & biker dives

  2. Beyond road-arrogance, I believe that there is a visual-perceptual phenomenon in play here too. First, people see what they anticipate seeing. I do not know what driver’s ed is teaching these days, but what we are trained to look for we are more likely to identify. Threats to us (e.g. vehicles our size or larger) are on our minds so we look for them. As you have stated, drivers do not look for two-wheeled modes of transportation. This type of post is a helpful cue to drivers to look for all risks in your lane, the other lanes and shoulders.

    Second, people who divide their attention are less likely to notice details. Drivers have a lot of stimuli, mostly visual, to keep track of. You have rightly pointed out that listening for the sound of motorcycles (i.e. auditory stimuli) is as important as seeing. Sound will catch up with us before we find the motorcycle in the mirror or check our blind spots. Yet, we continue to add competing visual and auditory stimuli… radios, MP3 player ear buds, conversations, cell phone calls, text messages… let’s not forget the cup of coffee, meal, make up, etc. The issue here is not whether a hand is off the wheel, but whether the brain is devoting its attention to directing the vehicle vs. attending to that other stimuli.

    The other day friends took us for a ride in their new SUV. They wanted to demonstrate the “hands free, voice activated cell phone” feature. I was sure that they were going to drive us into the creek while they were yelling at their steering wheel because it dialed wrong numbers. I was ready to offer to drive while they talked to their car. Hands-free, brain tied up.
    Oscar

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    • You are so right.They are considering making it a law here in California to ban all cell phone activity, hands free or not. I doubt it will pass. Cars are now equipped to sync via blue tooth with the car. So I think the manufactures of phones and cars will fight the pending legislation.

      Bikers will continue to bitch about cagers, and me, well I will keep on posting and doing my best to educate driver to please. For gods sake LOOK TWICE!. I have banged this into my kids heads and others I know who are just drivers and have no interest in motorcycles.

      Glad to hear you didn’t end up in the creek!

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  3. About 30 years ago, when I lived in N. CA I was riding a moped (sorry, practical college student). As I made a left hand turned, a car pulled out from the side street in front of me. I was probably only going about 15 mph, but put the moped and myself down on the pavement rather than end up going under the front end of the car. I got up, a little rattled, but drove on to my Sunday morning job. The car never stopped or even seemed to notice. I can image what could happen as freeway speeds.
    Oscar

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    • I hear the same things from even those who ride bicycles. It seems that most drivers just get irritated with anything on 2 wheels. It is a calculated risk we take when we saddle up and hit the road.

      Like

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