Here’s an on-board video of a guy filtering through some pretty dense traffic, with cars going all over the place. It’s clear that most of the cars don’t see him coming, which reminds me to be a little extra careful at the beginning of each riding season.

Because of the weather here in Denmark most people don’t ride motorcycles between December and March. Apparently cagers have to get attuned back in to looking out for motorcycles. It’s like the three months of motorcycle absence makes them totally forget that motorcycles even exist.

A good rule of thumb, the first month or so of riding, is to ride expecting that car drivers haven’t seen you. It might sound stupid, but several years of riding have taught me that there’s something to it.

Yes, maybe the rider in the video seems to be a bit on the aggressive riding side, but it still gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect. It’s your safety, ride as you feel comfortable, but ride as if you were invisible, and it could save you from some nasty surprises.

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12 Responses to “Safe riding in dense traffic”

  1. Nick  March 6th

    I assume this is in California. I have heard that lane splitting is legal there. I have only done it a couple times, as a relatively new rider. I am curious how common the practice is among my fellow readers.

  2. Jesper  March 6th

    Yes, Nick, the video is shot in L.A. Lane splitting is pretty common in Denmark, and as far as I know, in most other places whether or not it’s legal. The opinion of the safety and responsibility do vary among riders. Personally I think it’s fine, but usually only do it in situations like traffic jams on the freeway etc.

    But most important. It’s your safety, you decide if you think it’s safe, even if it’s legal in your area.

  3. Casper  March 10th

    A couple of points from the UK.

    We don’t have the 3 month break you have in Scandinavia, although there are less bikes on the road in the winter.
    I ride all year round. My experience is you should always assume the drivers have not seen you, as there are many who just don’t look first.

    What you call ‘lane splitting’, we call filtering, and it is legal here, provided you don’t break other laws.
    What I mean by that is shown in this video. Here, you can cross, overtake and filter, where the white lines are broken, but not when they are solid.
    In the video the bike is filtering even when the white lane lines are unbroken.

    And you must always expect the unexpected.

  4. dave  March 11th

    That’s the 405 & 101 in LA. I would not ride on either during rush hour, lane splitting or not. However, here in NY, where lane splitting is illegal, I’ve been known to do it, allegedly, in stopped traffic only.

  5. riding dirty chamillionaire » Safe riding in dense traffic  March 12th

    [...] Original post by Jesper   [...]

  6. Alicekk  April 10th

    Let those who ride, decide! My belief is that as long as the rider has insurance to cover his/her injuries should

    they be involved in an accident, the decision on helmets is the riders to make.

  7. Nighthawk  September 10th

    I always ride as if every other bastard on the road is out to kill me…

  8. Jesper  September 12th

    Yup, Nighthawk, me to. Keeps you on your toes, and you don’t “expect” people to behave in a certain way. When the driver you just had eye contact with pulls out in front of you anyways. You just think to yourself “I knew you’d do that you moron”.

  9. Girl Speed  July 3rd

    Motorcycle driving is very different from driving cars. When you drive a car, there’s always this notion that because you’re on a four-wheel vehicle, other motorists will see you. On the other hand, it is right for a motorcycle driver to think that riding as though he is invisible. He should not expect other drivers to look for him. He should always be more cautious and alert. Thus, I should say that motorcycle drivers are really expected to be more responsible when it comes to safety issues.

  10. phoenixar  March 12th

    IMO lane splitting CAN be safer than crawling with the cagers, because the risk and cost of becoming a rear-bumper-pancake-ornament is rather high in “bumper to bumper” traffic.

  11. Alex  April 30th

    I’m not riding a motorcycle (yet), but the “ride as if you were invisible” principle applies to the bicycle which I often use as well. Provided that bicycle brakes aren’t as good as motorcycle brakes and that most bicycle riders don’t wear all the protective clothing that motorcycle riders wear, I’m starting to feel really threatened :P

  12. Motorcycle Man  June 15th

    Ride like your invisible is THE way to ride. Don’t make the assumption that you can be seen. Motorcycle riding is a blast, but riding dangerously can be fatal. Ride safe!

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