Lane Splitting – Motorcycle Madness?
Cars in early morning traffic seem to move slower than a herd of snails through kaya. In comparison, your motorcycle is a veritable cheetah. Quicker and way more adaptable. Which brings us back to kaya. Wait, what?
Well, being honest, the way the motorcycle wins the morning commute can be a bit of a sticky issue. It involves something that most car drivers loathe, but all bikers love. Lane splitting.
“Lane splitting is riding a bicycle or motorcycle between roadway lanes of vehicles driving in the same direction. More narrowly, it refers to overtaking slow or stopped vehicles by traveling between lanes. It is also sometimes called lane sharing, whitelining, filtering, or stripe-riding.”
Never one to back away from tough issues, DirectAsia tackles the 5 key questions. Read before you ride.
1. Is It Legal In Singapore?
Lane-splitting is not technically illegal in Singapore, but should never impact your safety, or that of other road users,
“There is no specific law permitting lane splitting, or rather, no law explicitly and clearly prohibits lane splitting, it has become the traditional policy of law enforcement, the courts, and the public to tolerate it when it is done safely. However, those engaged in unsafe behavior during lane splitting can still be summoned for other offences like inconsiderate driving.” www.singaporebikes.com/forums
2. How Dangerous Is It?
Lane splitting is always a risk. In essence you are placing yourself and your motorcycle into a confined space, often with bigger vehicles on either side. Says the notoriously sober American Motorcycle Association,
“Perhaps one of the most dangerous situations for any on-highway motorcyclist is being caught in congested traffic, where stop-and-go vehicles, distracted and inattentive vehicle operators pose an increased risk of physical contact with another vehicle or hazard…Even minor contact under such conditions can be disastrous for motorcyclists.”
3. How Can I Stay Safe?
Care and anticipation – always proceed with caution and be prepared to pull the brakes. Be alert for erratic and sudden driver behavior, and anticipate drivers who may change lanes without signaling.
Avoid lane splitting on roads with narrow lanes where cars are too near each other or start straddling lanes. And never squeeze between two large moving vehicles, no matter how fast you think you can go. Truck or bus drivers often cannot see you and you can be crushed, fast.
4. When Is It Necessary?
In slow traffic, if the cars are at a standstill or edging forward. Motorcycles don’t need to intensify the congestion or air pollution by waiting in line with the cars. Another reason why motorcyclists lane split is because of heat.
“If you’re just sitting there it get’s really hot, really quickly,” says Walter. He says that lane splitting was actually born out of this necessity. Early two stroke motorcycles could not sit idle without overheating, so motorcyclists had to keep moving.”
5. What is the worst abuse?
Bikers who lane split at high speed, it’s dangerous under any circumstances. Small-capacity bikes are especially vulnerable on the roads and no high-speed bike is designed to stop in time if a car swerves suddenly. If nothing else, this kind of riding gives motorbikes a bad name and should be avoided.
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