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Thread: Lane Splitting Debate

  1. #76
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    "Lane splitting, which is legal in California (if there ain't a law against it, it is legal by definition) used to tense me up. "

    Ouch!

    That's the 'slippery slope' rationalization that has probably given us half the laws we have on the books today.
    What's a slippery slope? Are you talking abou the if there ain't a law against it, it is legal by definition part? In the broadest terms he is correct. There is no law that says walking to the corner store is legal. There is no law that says wearing a hat when I take that walk is legal. There is no law that says 99% of the things I do every day are legal. Yet they are because there is no law saying otherwise.

    That doesn't mean you won't be hassled for doing something legal. Example: There is no law against taking pictures in public yet many cops and security guards will tell you otherwise, citing the "9/11 rules". There are no such general rules. There are explicit laws pertaining to some military bases and nuclear power plants. In one famous instance a motorcyclist was charged with wiretapping... because that was the closest thing they could find pertaining to the helmet cam video he posted to youtube. The video contained audio, you see... The charges were eventually tossed by a judge, but I wonder how much it cost the motorcyclist in legal fees to get that far.

    My favorite was the on film video of security guard telling a TV camera crew they could not set up in a transit station as they were getting ready to interview the transit spokesperson explain how it was not illegal to take pictures in the station.

  2. #77
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Talking

    Gosh! That much paranoia would keep me up at night.
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  3. #78
    larrysb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    "Lane splitting, which is legal in California (if there ain't a law against it, it is legal by definition) used to tense me up. "

    Ouch!

    That's the 'slippery slope' rationalization process that has probably given us half the laws we have on the books today.

    The old "If we can't trust citizens to exercise common sense (be it seatbelts, helmets, building codes, assisted suicide, etc.), we'll legislate them into submission."

    Wish it were not so, but there you have it.
    No, by definition, if there is no law against something, it is legal. This is a basic premise of law, at least in the USA.

    There are already laws against reckless driving. One can drive the posted speed limit and get busted for reckless driving, if the speed is not safe for the conditions, no?

    On the converse, if the law says one may not proceed through a red light, that makes even the reasonable case of passing through a malfunctioning signal against the law, unless an exception is made in the law.

  4. #79
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by larrysb View Post
    No, by definition, if there is no law against something, it is legal. This is a basic premise of law, at least in the USA.

    There are already laws against reckless driving. One can drive the posted speed limit and get busted for reckless driving, if the speed is not safe for the conditions, no?

    On the converse, if the law says one may not proceed through a red light, that makes even the reasonable case of passing through a malfunctioning signal against the law, unless an exception is made in the law.
    Well - something of a spirited debate here - well done.

    As for your first scenario, no - if "speed is not safe for conditions," one is cited for "Operating Too Fast For Conditions" - not Reckless Operation, which is usually a misdemeanor or even a lower-class felony in some states.

    As for your 'red light' scenario, you are correct - while the sensitivity of a traffic control signal can be adjusted by a municipality, how sensitive it is or how quickly such sensitivity is 'corrected' does not relieve an operator of the need to obey, and (as is often the debate here when discussing motorcycles), a signal simply not recognizing our presence does not, according to many Courts, make the 'leap of definition' to declaring it as malfunctioning, and therefore subject to citizen violation at will.

    But it was your opening salvo about "if there is not law, it is legal" that truly raised an eyebrow. The Law is a fluid document of civilized society, and here in the USA, our system of jurisprudence is supported by four basic pillars. The third of these pillars is Legal Realism, which states that the ongoing practice of law ultimately determines what is the law. That sort of supports what you stated, but not with the ironclad certainty that was implied.

    Behavior perceived to be 'outside of the law' is what leads to reams of new laws being added to the books annually across our nation.
    Last edited by Greenwald; 07-13-2011 at 12:52 PM.
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  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    What's a slippery slope? Are you talking abou the if there ain't a law against it, it is legal by definition part? In the broadest terms he is correct. There is no law that says walking to the corner store is legal. There is no law that says wearing a hat when I take that walk is legal. There is no law that says 99% of the things I do every day are legal. Yet they are because there is no law saying otherwise.

    That doesn't mean you won't be hassled for doing something legal. Example: There is no law against taking pictures in public yet many cops and security guards will tell you otherwise, citing the "9/11 rules". There are no such general rules. There are explicit laws pertaining to some military bases and nuclear power plants. In one famous instance a motorcyclist was charged with wiretapping... because that was the closest thing they could find pertaining to the helmet cam video he posted to youtube. The video contained audio, you see... The charges were eventually tossed by a judge, but I wonder how much it cost the motorcyclist in legal fees to get that far.

    My favorite was the on film video of security guard telling a TV camera crew they could not set up in a transit station as they were getting ready to interview the transit spokesperson explain how it was not illegal to take pictures in the station.
    Things simply start out as "legal". We can do anything and everything, until we hand over specific powers to the state under the Social Contract. Everything is permitted, unless it is specifically prohibited, within the jursdiction of those who actually have been given power to determine such things.
    But it seems we are getting to the slave state mentality, doesn't it? By this I mean, that which is not permitted is deemed to be prohibited, or requires permission. Currently some of the disguise for encroachment is "war on terror", "if it saves one life it's worth it", or my persional favorite, ' it is for the children". But historically there have been myriad rationalizations for a grab at expanded power.
    The slippery slope really comes from the legal profession, which is perhaps better understood as the legal industry. Money is made making laws with loopholes for special interests, superficial catering to the popular emotion of the day, and vagaries to be litigated. All with some slick rationalization which cannot take the light of day. Very lucrative! It is this industry which manufactures and helps fan the perceived need for the reams of laws on the books, which is their bread and butter. The following quote almost gets it, but "outside the law" should be replaced with "outside the legal industry comfort zone".
    Behavior perceived to be 'outside of the law' is what leads to reams of new laws being added to the books annually across our nation

  6. #81
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    I have two concerns with lane splitting.

    1. My bike is a hippopotamus, and is incapable of fitting between cars. If you ride a big bike, you're in the same boat.
    2. When a jurisdiction permits lane splitting/filtering, it had better engage in a massive outreach campaign to educate cage drivers that motorcycles are allowed to ride between cars under certain conditions - and to expect it when it happens.

    I cam imagine the curmudgeons in their cages dumping their cold coffee and cigarette butts on riders when they don't like/expect what they see.
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  7. #82
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    If I lived in crappy traffic hell-hole of LA/California I'd lane split for sure, but with a lot of brains about it, and not a lot of speed. No thanks, I'll stick to Wisconsin, don't have to worry about that kind of traffic or about 1/2 the state slipping off into the Pacific.

    I once asked a California Highway Patrol officer if lane-splitting was "legal". His response? He said, "it's not ILLEGAL, so it's tolerated. But, if I see a rider lane splitting stupid and too fast I will pull him over for aggressive riding. Beyond that, lane splitting is ok if done right."

  8. #83
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Gee Andy , how do you really feel about CA? I've heard the same description for certain WI areas as well At least they can ride their bikes in crappy traffic year round,eh?


    I spent a week in SoCal recently and used the carpool lanes to my advantage...my GSA looked like it would get stuck when I thought about following some sportbikes on one occasion. I eventually passed them in the carpool lanes anyway.

    TX had brought it up again this session as a possible law, but was dropped. It's hard enough to get two cagers to play nice on the freeways here anyways without trying to squeak a bike thru. I could go with the filtering part...even done it since there is no LAW against it on occasion. Took a chewing once about twenty years ago , but no ticket.
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  9. #84
    larrysb
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    I lane split in California. Honestly, I feel safer splitting on the freeway when it is bumper to bumper and everyone is at a standstill than I do sitting, waiting to be rear-ended at a standstill. I filter at lights, when there's room and the light hasn't been red for long. Not so much on the R12GS-Adv, it's huge and never if the cases are on it. My Burgman is a lot more suitable for doing this.

    In Italy, you'd freak out the drivers if you didn't lane split and filter at every light.

  10. #85
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    Guilty

    Ok, I confess I have and do on occasion lane split. This is usually when I'm in dead stopped traffic and the bike is over heating. Anyone that has ridden Rt 95 through Connecticut has experienced traffic backups that can go for miles.

    On one occasion I followed a GS rider through 14 miles of stopped traffic. We both got off at a rest stop and I met the other rider - Lawrence Fishburne He was on his way to the Cape from NYC.
    "Keep the rubber side down"

  11. #86
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    Recent Alabama lane splitter!

    Riding on I-20 E/B after picking up my new (to me) GS, I came upon V E R Y slow moving traffic ...stop and go at a walking pace. To keep things cool I motored down the left shoulder (maybe three feet wide), and was only "blocked" by one trucker who was determined to not let me pass. I guess he didn't realize that this old dirt rider was on a GS! A few cagers were vicibly upset that I was making time and moved over a little in an attempt to block ... I almost reverted to an old trick I used when riding motors on the PD in California, slapping their rearview morror out of whack! Since I was not on a black and white, and considering that everyone has a cellphone, I just passed them by VERY CLOSE.
    The blockage was road work related and went on for over ten miles! I guess I saved about an hour or two and an overheated motor.

  12. #87
    Registered User 88bmwjeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    22107. No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

    22108. Any signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
    Drivers in CA using their signals I don't see that happening. And the few that do tend to turn it on as they turn, not before.

    With regards to lane splitting, I don't do it. I don't ride enough to have the skills to do it. That's not to say that I would never do it, but I feel that I would have to sharpen my skills a bit more. Also, I drive for my job, and I've seen too many crazy drivers during rush hour, that in reality I try to avoid it in my car as much as possible.
    Last edited by 88bmwJeff; 07-13-2011 at 09:33 PM. Reason: spelling
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  13. #88
    larrysb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    But it was your opening salvo about "if there is not law, it is legal" that truly raised an eyebrow. The Law is a fluid document of civilized society, and here in the USA, our system of jurisprudence is supported by four basic pillars. The third of these pillars is Legal Realism, which states that the ongoing practice of law ultimately determines what is the law. That sort of supports what you stated, but not with the ironclad certainty that was implied.

    Behavior perceived to be 'outside of the law' is what leads to reams of new laws being added to the books annually across our nation.

    All the flowery language aside, if there ain't a law against, I can't be charged with a violation of the law.

    Judge: "Son, why are you here in my courtroom? All I got is a blank sheet of paper with your name on it."

    Defendant: "Something about legal realism. Can I go home now?"

    Again I say, it is legal unless someone wrote a law against it.

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