line of motorcyclists sport touring on rural highway

Motorcycling: Ride Respecting Others And Beware Of Those Who Don’t

Motorcycling Best Practices And Survival Tactics

Motorcycle riders are often thought of negatively no matter how positive their actions are. It is far too easy for the general public who already have bias against bikers to unfairly accuse all bikers from the actions of a few.  This story will cover lane splitting, illegal stunt riding on public roads, road rage and group rides.

Lane Splitting

In many states lane splitting is not illegal, but it is best done at low speeds. It is common to see it done during rush hour traffic. Some drivers don’t see bikers even when loud pipes can be heard. As children we are told to look out for cars. We are not told to look for motorcycles.


Bikers riding and lane splitting at high rate of speed is dangerous and unlawful. Recently I had a two bikers ride between me and another car that had to be going 80-90 mph.

Joy Medved, Founder of The Joy of Motorcycling: Most people say it is legal. I say it is not illegal, specifically to emphasize that there is no law. No one can get a ticket for lane-splitting. They can get a ticket for something else while lane-splitting. I also distinguish between lane sharing (doing it without breaking the law) and lane splitting (doing while breaking the law). My perspective and what I teach in my classes.

CHP – NEW TRAFFIC SAFETY LAWS TAKE EFFECT IN 2017Vehicle Motorcycles: Lane Splitting (AB 51, Quirk) Current law does not change; lane splitting by a motorcyclist remains legal if done safely. This bill defines lane splitting as driving a motorcycle, which has two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane. The bill permits the CHP to develop lane splitting educational safety guidelines in consultation with other state traffic safety agencies and at least one organization focused on motorcycle safety.

As you can see in the language of the lane splitting code, the question of whether the lane splitting is being “done safely” is in the sole judgment of the CHP officer.  

Stunt Riding

 Stunt riding which can be deadly does not belong on public roads, highways or freeways. It belongs on a track, closed courses or at supervised events.

Motorcyclist killed in freeway stunt gone bad on I-15 near Corona: California Highway Patrol Sgt. Nathan Baer told The Press-Enterprise that he seen increasing numbers of motorcyclists taking risks on the county’s highway in a trend he called “illegal, extremely dangerous and extremely inconsiderate.

Video: INSANE Illegal Motorcycle STUNTS On Highway LONG WHEELIES Street Bike TRICKS Middle Of The Map Ride

Video: Motorcycle Crash Compilation 2016 Stunt Bike Crashes Bikers Stunts Bad Wrecks Motorcycles Accident

Motorcycling and Road Rage

Road rage is never okay whether it’s from a biker or car driver. Bikers must remember between a car and motorcycle the car will win. Sometimes on back roads speeding cars and sports bike riders get very annoyed with bikers obeying speed limits. Instead of backing off cars tailgate. Sport bike riders often illegally pass putting everyone’s lives in jeopardy.

In 2013, a large group of sport bike riders shut down a freeway in West Covina, CA so one of them could propose to his girlfriend.

In 2015, bikers with road rage against a SUV in New York City ended in violence against the driver. The SUV fled in terror after a confrontation. In the SUV was the driver, his wife and two year old. In the process of fleeing the wife was speaking to a 9-11 operator pleading for help.

 In 2017, in San Diego, CA a woman pleads guilty to killing a Navy sailor during road rage. Her slap on the hand sentence was an insult.

In defense of motorists some bikers antagonize and harass them. Even when they come to an area where can get out of the way they prefer to block cars further angering them.

Ask the Lawyer: What’s the punishment in California for road rage?: Road rage typically involves intentional assault. CA Vehicle Code Section 13210 provides for suspension of the driving privilege of any operator of a motor vehicle who commits an assault as described under California Penal Code Section 245(a). The target of the road rage can be an operator or passenger of another vehicle, an operator of a bicycle or a pedestrian. For a first offense, the license suspension is six months; it is one year for second or a subsequent offense, at the court’s discretion. In addition to the suspension or as an alternative to it, the court also can, order the person to complete an anger management or road rage course.

As to Penal Code Section 245(a), it sets forth various punishments for assault (be it carried out with a deadly weapon, firearm or by any means likely to produce greatly bodily injury). These punishments range from state prison for two, three or four years, or in county jail for a maximum of one year and/or a fine up to $10,000.

“If we can put ourselves in the shoes of other drivers, we are more capable of understanding their behavior and staying calm. If we can’t appreciate their situation, then we are more likely to get offended, angry and even rageful if their driving bothers us.” Dr. Robert Nemerovski, psychologist specializing in anger and anxiety.

Group Rides

Group rides are great, but don’t ride like you own the road. Ride safely, responsibly and respectfully. If you ride with others, do it in a way that promotes safety, shows respect for cars and that doesn’t interfere with the flow of traffic. When riding in large groups break the group in groups of 5-6 bikes to allow space for other cars to change lanes and to enter and exit freeways.
For large charity rides get assistance from local law enforcement to help with traffic control and to provide escorts. I have been on numerous rides where assistance was happily given.
Photos from Sept 22, 2013 – Ride for Kids (30th Annual) is an example of an escorted ride. My photos were taken along the ride route showing hundreds of bikers and escorts protecting us. The final picture is of my friends and me at the staging area before the ride.

Even though the majority of bikers ride safely and respectful there will always be some who ride illegally. They have no respect for other bikers, car drivers or for the law.

It is those riders who give all bikers a bad name.  Be a good ambassador for all of us.

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