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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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Old 4 Jun 2008
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I don't know exacly how to call it , but I know it,s probably more popular in Europe, but in North america, where do you know it's " legal / or accepted " to pass between cars when they are stopped in the trafic??,

I have seen this around L.A. and nowhere else .... ,Is this legal here ?(Province of Quebec, Canada)


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Old 4 Jun 2008
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Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is legal in California. This has always surprised me because California has so many laws yet they allow lane splitting. I have been told that the original intention was twofold:

1) Allow motorcycles to move up in the line at stop lights for safety reason - so they do not get rear ended by other cars.

2) Allow the Motorcycle Police to legally get where they have go when they are not running Code 3 (Lights and Sirens).

Of course what happens is you get guys on sportbikes screaming pass you at 100mph on a curve.

I seldom split lines unless in a traffice jam.
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Old 4 Jun 2008
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Europe isn't as black and white as it seems. If the traffic is stationary and you filter through it's legal in the UK. If the traffic is moving you can be done for various offences that amount to illegal overtaking if you are a hazard. At 30 mph through 10 mph traffic you'd have to be insane to get pulled, doing 70 through 50 mph traffic you will be done if they ever get the coppers away from the speed cameras and out on the road. The law isn't clear, it's down to the copper to decide what's dangerous.

In France, Spain etc. filtering is illegal but is so widely ignored you'll never be pulled for the sort of safe filtering allowed in the UK. In Germany and Austria they obey the no filtering laws except in the city centres. The police are no hassle on this if you do filter and look safe, it's ignorant cagers who'll deliberately open doors, pull in from etc. that are the hazard. This compares to France etc. where drivers make the effort to help you get through.

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Old 4 Jun 2008
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This subject was discussed, mainly from a European point, a couple of years back -
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Old 4 Jun 2008
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Police will stop you and fine you in Denmark, for doing either...
Peter Kongsbak
South East Asia, USA, Central and South America and Scandinavia.
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Old 4 Jun 2008
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It is usually illegal in most of North America, but enforcement varies widely. I suggest you ask a local cop if it's something you would be ticketed for.

I know that where I live (Victoria, British Columbia) the cops tend to frown on it, and are likely to ticket you.
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
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Old 21 Jun 2008
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I nearly got fined in Germany but the coppers were too busy with a crash in the road works got a good bollocking
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Old 21 Jun 2008
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In Italy it is allowed. Everybody do it.


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Old 22 Jun 2008
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In the UK...

I did a 1 day course (almost like advanced riding, think it was called Bikesafe) with the London Metropolitan Police (in London of course) about 3 years ago.

You spend the day riding around with a cop right on your ass the whole day.

We did some lane splitting/filtering on that day with the police leading it. For those people who know London, where were coming in on the A40 to Hanger Lande, notorious spot for bad traffic.

We did ask the question after our training, and they did not want to say yes its legal or not. I just remember them saying that as long as you stay within the speed limit of where you are and its not 'reckless' riding, you should be ok.

During my riding days in London (I was a bike courier in London for almost 2 years, so lots of kms in city traffic), I never got pulled over once and was never told not to 'lane split'.
Jacques & Mandy with Pumbaa II
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Old 22 Jun 2008
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Several states are attempting to legalize lane splitting. Texas for one.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 18:07.
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Old 22 Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by Pumbaa View Post
We did ask the question after our training, and they did not want to say yes its legal or not. I just remember them saying that as long as you stay within the speed limit of where you are and its not 'reckless' riding, you should be ok.

Read your highway code and you'll find a reference calling on motorists to lookout for motorcycles filtering. If does not say illegally filtering and there is no other reference. The police riders handbook Roadcraft say's (P139) basically it's a good idea if careful. No HMSO publication would fail to point it out if it was illegal.

You can be sure it's legal in the UK, but the Dangerous or Inconsidertae Riding/Driving is the coppers fall back charge when pushed to do something about anything they see and don't like. They can't pull you for filtering alone.

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Old 23 Jun 2008
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Not Illegal

Filtering is quite widely done in the UK but I suspect it is rather more a case of not being illegal rather than approved of by any legislation.

Filtering is done by police and the IAM (you can fail a (voluntary) advanced test for not filtering where appropriate) and, I believe it is possible (primarily in london) to fail a DSA L test (the one you need to pass to get a bike licence) by not filtering where it is the appropriate thing to do.

That said the onus is very much on the filtering motorcyclist to get it right and if it goes pear shaped then the biker will probably get it in all senses.
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Old 1 Jul 2008
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as people say in the UK it isnt really covered by law but when you are involved in an accident when you are filtering through traffic you pretty much always assume 50% of the fault (and hence the costs).

My personal oppinion is that, as long as there are no cops around, you do exactly as the locals do which in my experience means ride like an asshole and only care for yourself. Who gives a sh*t if some cage gets delayed by a couple of seconds or if some pedestrian has to wait on the pavement for a bit longer. It is all about getting from A to B and personal survival!

Case in point is Rome. Legally you are supposed to let every pedestrian waiting at a crossing cross. In real life if you did this you honestly wouldnt move. You have to go through small gaps in pedestrians to keep moving and trust me, they know crossing roads is dangerous so they watch your every move. They wont jump infront of you!
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Old 3 Jul 2008
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In Australia,
Lane splitting is when the traffic is moving and you try to 'share' a lane with cars etc.
NOT legal in Aust, although in practice is done all the time in major cities.
Filtering is when the traffic is stopped, and us guys on bikes can gain an unfair advantage over the cars, and trickle between the cars to the front of the lights. LEGAL in Victoria, but only if you pass cars on the RHS (?). The way to do this when the cops are around seems to be to leave the rhs indicator flashing.
In practice, you just trickle up to the front of the line, and have a good look in your mirrors to see if there is another bike behind, and give them room at the front of the traffic. Anything up to 40kmh seems to be fine , have ben doing this for 35 yrs, and never been stopped by the cops for this.
Having said that, I ride a 1800 twin with straighht thru exhausts, and if there is a cop car in the traffic, I give them a wide berth!.
The loud exhaust seems to make people aware of my presence, and many will move over to ensure I dont scratch their precious car. cuts an easy 20 minutes off my morning commute!.
Because my bike is wide, I sometimes make a decision NOT to filter, and hang back, but generally the lanes are wide enough to allow easy access to the front.
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