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Old 05-21-2013, 05:47 AM   #1
Bob O
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more on lane splitting

http://www.insidebayarea.com/breakin...g-debate-rages

Roadshow: Lane-splitter launches a defense (and a well-aimed kick)

By Gary Richards grichards@mercurynews.com
Posted: 05/21/2013 12:01:00 AM PDT

Q Do you mind me chiming in and addressing the comments of Dennis Vires, who last week criticized motorcyclists who split lanes and specifically mentioned me? Surely I get to respond.
Phil Alfonso
San Jose

A Round and round we dance, and today Phil gets another chance.

Q In addition to have taken a Bob Bondurant defensive driving class as a new 16-year-old California driver (my mom made me or else I couldn't drive), I have taken the CHP safety class a couple of times over the 25 years I've been riding motorcycles. No at-fault accidents, no tickets! Guess that makes me a statistical anomaly? Knock on wood. But it also strongly suggests I know what I'm talking about.
Phil Alfonso

A Keep talking.

Q Almost all bikers like lane-splitting. That equates to hundreds of thousands of riders. Dennis, when you say, "No one is in favor" of lane-splitting, that is your unsubstantiated opinion. Lane-splitting often catches people by surprise. That is a problem! Anecdotal evidence exists from the saying, "Loud pipes save lives!" The loud noise surprises the hell out of many drivers. Why? Because drivers weren't paying enough attention before the motorcyclist got near them. Wouldn't lack of attention to the driver's external environment be included within the definition of poor driving skills? Drivers who do not pay enough attention are the primary reason lane-splitting is dangerous. Most bikers know this. While splitting lanes, I often stare into the side mirrors to make eye contact with the driver. Often that takes too long because they're doing something other than paying attention to their driving. Think cellphone calls, putting on makeup, tuning the radio, talking with passengers, eating, etc. In those circumstances, I often rev my engine a couple times while riding their bumper to wake them up and to get their attention, or increase my speed to get past them before they have a chance to react poorly and possibly injure me when they do wake up.
Phil Alfonso

A That's OK, but now Phil does something I cannot condone.

Q Sometimes, after passing them, I give them the single-finger salute to reinforce the fact they were surprised for a bad, bad reason.
Phil Alfonso

A Flipping the bird is a huge Roadshow no-no. It's only going to incite road rage.
But then ...

Q I've been known to kick a car's panel with my heavy boot when the driver intentionally attempted to squeeze me. My life is in the balance here, and I view that act, rare as it is, as similar to someone with bad intentions holding a loaded gun to my head.
Phil Alfonso

A Nooooo! This is way out of bounds. You need to cool it, Phil. No kicking.

Q If they move over and make room for me, I flash the two-fingered V peace sign thanking them for their courtesy.
Phil Alfonso

A Better, much better.

Q To motorists, please practice turning your head and looking around. Relying upon your mirrors, though somewhat useful and appreciated, is inadequate in the opinion of most professional driving teachers, the DMV and safety officials. It's one of the practices it takes to be a good driver. Dennis, try riding a motorcycle on the freeway and then tell us about your experience. Put the shoe on the other foot. I'll bet the farm your story changes dramatically.
Phil Alfonso

A Whew! Why do I think this is the not final word on lane-splitting? I'll have more in a few days, including comments from a 70-year-old great-grandmother and lane-splitting supporter.

Look for Gary atFacebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.

Last edited by Bob O; 05-21-2013 at 05:52 AM..
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:22 AM   #2
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I've been watching that "conversation" unfold and have been frustrated by both sides. I emailed Gary Richards this morning with some more information and an offer of a more informed opinion. He seems to be fair and balanced on this issue - hoping he'll continue to steer the conversation in a good way.

And seriously, to the small minority of riders who act like idiots while splitting or just riding - stop it. You're hurting us all. Some of the posts in the recent thread on "do I stop if I hit a mirror" were just sad, and writing a letter to Roadshow saying "Yeah, I flip people off and kick cars" just reinforces the image of motorcyclists as law-breaking hooligans. I absolutely hate to be worrying about the "image of motorcyclists" as the general public sees it, but this sort of thing is why we have lawmakers trying to take lane splitting away from us.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:06 AM   #3
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I realize that controversy is good for media circulation but why was this knucklehead selected as a spokesperson for splitting. He isn't helping even if he thinks "I know what I'm talking about."
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:16 AM   #4
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I realize that controversy is good for media circulation but why was this knucklehead selected as a spokesperson for splitting. He isn't helping even if he thinks "I know what I'm talking about."
He's just a guy who wrote in to Roadshow previously. Apparently Mr. Viers was really upset by Alfonso's original statements about looking before changing lanes and wrote in, calling lane splitting riders "morons," to which Alfonso responded with this most recent piece.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:00 AM   #5
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Good on you, Surj, for working to show the other end of the contiuum: the lane-sharers who do so respectfully, safely, and in a manner that benefits everyone on the road.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:08 AM   #6
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Darwinism is dead. Instead legislators have taken the route of making just about everything illegal in an effort to protect the brain dead. Maybe lane sharing will survive. Maybe not.

Some moron was on 880 yesterday, riding his cruiser at 80 mph, no hands, flapping his arms like wings, sitting sideways on the bike, and splitting lanes. People don't remember riders that quietly slip past with a wave of thanks. They remember morons like this cruiser rider. Gary may not condone the use of a one finger salute, but this rider definitely deserved one from anyone.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:35 AM   #7
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I'd like to see one week where all lane-splitting motorcyclists actively don't. Sit in your lanes. Watch traffic back up horribly. Make it a publicized campaign that the reason traffic became so much worse is because motorcyclists stopped splitting.

But that'll never happen...until it's too late and a law is passed making it happen.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DReg350 View Post
Darwinism is dead. Instead legislators have taken the route of making just about everything illegal in an effort to protect the brain dead. Maybe lane sharing will survive. Maybe not.

Some moron was on 880 yesterday, riding his cruiser at 80 mph, no hands, flapping his arms like wings, sitting sideways on the bike, and splitting lanes. People don't remember riders that quietly slip past with a wave of thanks. They remember morons like this cruiser rider. Gary may not condone the use of a one finger salute, but this rider definitely deserved one from anyone.
Very true. Human nature seems to be such that we remember the bad, even if it is 1% of the total. Yeah, that conversation in the OP was tough to read, way to "support" the cause.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:44 AM   #9
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That guy Phil Alfonso is an idiot and is doing us all a disservice.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #10
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wow, phill is a pin dick, choad smoker. way to paint a bad picture of the rest of us.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:50 AM   #11
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I absolutely hate to be worrying about the "image of motorcyclists" as the general public sees it
ive had people in cars swerve at me while not even lane sharing. i dont ride around thinking all car drivers are murderous douche bags. why someone would put all motorcyclists into one personality type is beyond me.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:03 PM   #12
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I've been watching that "conversation" unfold and have been frustrated by both sides. I emailed Gary Richards this morning with some more information and an offer of a more informed opinion. He seems to be fair and balanced on this issue - hoping he'll continue to steer the conversation in a good way.

And seriously, to the small minority of riders who act like idiots while splitting or just riding - stop it. You're hurting us all. Some of the posts in the recent thread on "do I stop if I hit a mirror" were just sad, and writing a letter to Roadshow saying "Yeah, I flip people off and kick cars" just reinforces the image of motorcyclists as law-breaking hooligans. I absolutely hate to be worrying about the "image of motorcyclists" as the general public sees it, but this sort of thing is why we have lawmakers trying to take lane splitting away from us.
I get asked all the time by people that find out I ride "do you go between cars?" which is usually followed by tales of "some idiot" or "those guys come out of nowhere".... etc.

Not defending cars (they have thier share of douches) but based on years of conversations with people overal I find lane splitters in general are really disliked by the general public . No this isn't some scientific study I did, just personal experience and feedback.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by thenewwazoo View Post
Good on you, Surj, for working to show the other end of the contiuum: the lane-sharers who do so respectfully, safely, and in a manner that benefits everyone on the road.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRiddler View Post
I'd like to see one week where all lane-splitting motorcyclists actively don't. Sit in your lanes. Watch traffic back up horribly. Make it a publicized campaign that the reason traffic became so much worse is because motorcyclists stopped splitting.

But that'll never happen...until it's too late and a law is passed making it happen.
Unless we could organize all the riders who commute each day to commute at the same time, the effect would be probably not be noticeable by most drivers. However, getting every available rider to not split lanes at the same time, say in the Bay Bridge toll plaza - that would be somethin'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant View Post
I get asked all the time by people that find out I ride "do you go between cars?" which is usually followed by tales of "some idiot" or "those guys come out of nowhere".... etc.

Not defending cars (they have thier share of douches) but based on years of conversations with people overal I find lane splitters in general are really disliked by the general public . No this isn't some scientific study I did, just personal experience and feedback.
I've had the same conversation many times over the year. We discussed how to address this very question on the LSIL Facebook page last Friday - it was a really good discussion. As DReg350 said here, and others have said before - drivers remember the asshats and this contributes to the overall lane splitter hate.

This over-representation of asshats in driver sentiment is especially hurtful when some lawmaker tries to ban/regulate lane splitting. Joe Voter: "Lane splitting? Oh yeah, I remember this one time on the way to band camp, this jerk came out of nowhere and his motorcycle was so loud, I dropped my phone. I hate those guys! Yeah, let's ban that!"
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:00 PM   #14
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Unless we could organize all the riders who commute each day to commute at the same time, the effect would be probably not be noticeable by most drivers. However, getting every available rider to not split lanes at the same time, say in the Bay Bridge toll plaza - that would be somethin'.



I've had the same conversation many times over the year. We discussed how to address this very question on the LSIL Facebook page last Friday - it was a really good discussion. As DReg350 said here, and others have said before - drivers remember the asshats and this contributes to the overall lane splitter hate.

This over-representation of asshats in driver sentiment is especially hurtful when some lawmaker tries to ban/regulate lane splitting. Joe Voter: "Lane splitting? Oh yeah, I remember this one time on the way to band camp, this jerk came out of nowhere and his motorcycle was so loud, I dropped my phone. I hate those guys! Yeah, let's ban that!"
Divide and conquer.

A lot of times being a polite rider and just listening to a drivers tale of encountering a douchie rider can help mend fences. And sometimes you don't even say "well it's legal to lane split you know" because that can piss them off even more so. Just let them vent and ease into the conversation some of the reasons you like to ride (anything but lane splitting)


Let them know that we (riders) aren't all twatwaffles. Now, hopefully, the driver has a positive experience with a rider to dwell on.
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:20 PM   #15
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Divide and conquer.

A lot of times being a polite rider and just listening to a drivers tale of encountering a douchie rider can help mend fences. And sometimes you don't even say "well it's legal to lane split you know" because that can piss them off even more so. Just let them vent and ease into the conversation some of the reasons you like to ride (anything but lane splitting)


Let them know that we (riders) aren't all twatwaffles. Now, hopefully, the driver has a positive experience with a rider to dwell on.
Oh yeah. There were some really good comments along these lines in the FB discussion - how to get drivers into the riders's boots, so to speak. I have lots of these conversations and do my part to change some minds, but I also hate to constantly be doing damage control because some folks just can't be cool. Part of riding a bike, oh well.
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