It’s All About Safety Series: Lane Splitting in California

It’s All About Safety Series: Lane Splitting in California

Note: We understand there are some riders out there who strongly believe that lane splitting is unsafe no matter the situation and should receive a blanket ban. This post isn’t about arguing for or against their point of view or telling them they’re right or wrong. This article IS about changes in California law, how it affects us as riders and the insight we can glean from scholarly studies related to the subject. We encourage you to share your thoughts, but if you do, we ask that you please keep them constructive and informative.

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Last year our home state of California signed a bill into law officially allowing for lane splitting. While the practice has long been allowed and normalized in the state, nothing was “set in stone” or recorded in the law books until then.

If you don’t live in California you may initially think this doesn’t apply to you. But it does for a couple reasons. First, sooner or later your touring adventures will inevitably lead you to the Golden State, hopefully. Yosemite. Death Valley. Pacific Coast Highway. There are so many amazing roads and destinations. While you’re visiting, it will be important to know what is expected of you and what is the norm in terms of lane splitting. Second, oftentimes California serves as an indicator to other states of what’s to come. And in this case it is a trial run of sorts. So the codification of this practice may or may not eventually affect your home state as well.

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The California Highway Patrol (CHP) asked UC Berkeley to do a study on lane splitting a few years ago to try and find out its effect on driving safety. The result of over a year’s worth of research suggested that lane splitting doesn’t increase the risk of accidents as long as motorcyclists weren’t traveling too fast (more than 10 mph compared to the flow of traffic was considered too fast). In other words, if we ride at safe speeds and with caution, our risk of accident or serious injury doesn’t increase when splitting lanes. Some proponents contend that it helps ease overall congestion and prevents rear-end collisions in traffic conditions, which account for over a quarter of all motorcycle accidents, according to the Los Angeles Times. It’s also worth noting that one of the authors of the study, Tom Rice, considers training and rider education to be of vital importance.

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As always, it’s about safety first. If you don’t feel comfortable with splitting lanes on your Wing or consider it to be unsafe then you have every right to refrain from the practice. We have the freedom to make that choice. And after all, we ride our Wings for enjoyment, adventure, fun and many other reasons. We ride to make lasting memories and create unforgettable experiences with our fellow Wingers.

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Ride safe!

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You can check out the study here

8 Essentials You Might Forget To Bring On Your Next Trip

8 Essentials You Might Forget To Bring On Your Next Trip

Road-Trip-Essentials

The sun is out, the weather is warm and the road is clear. It’s time for your next big trip. If you’re anything like me, you’re so excited that you want to swing that leg over your Wing and ride. Let’s go already! But let’s take a minute and make sure we have everything packed and nothing’s missing. Isn’t it the worst when we realize we’ve forgotten to pack some minor yet essential item? That’s why we’ve compiled a short list (in no particular order) of some items we don’t want you to forget on your next trip.

GPS Navigation (OR at least a good ol’ fashioned map)

For some of us, there’s something about whipping that map out, unfolding it and spreading it across our Wing or some other surface as we chart the next leg of our trip. gps.pngNot to mention the rewarding challenge of folding it back up the way it originally was! On the other hand, a GPS Nav Unit like Garmin is way more convenient and can do a lot more than a map can.

There are so many different amazing roads along the way and a quality GPS unit will help make sure you don’t miss out on any of them.

Roadside Assistance Insurance

The Goldwing is a solid, reliable motorcycle but anything can happen out there on the road and it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? That’s why it’s so important that you are adequately prepared. If you do end up stranded on the side of the road, it’s always nice to have access to a Roadside rescue-plus-logo.pngAssistance program such as Road Riders Rescue (you can get a discounted rate if you’re a GWRRA member) or AAA.

Rain Gear

We’ve heard plenty of stories of riders who failed to bring along proper rain gear when packing for their next trip. It usually happens in the summertime when we kind of assume it will be hot and dry the whole time. Our owner, Rick, has been caught in a frogg-toggs.png
rainstorm once or twice without his Frogg Toggs and had to resort to a convenience store trash bag! You can watch the videos where he talks about it here and here.

Sunblock

Depending on how much gear you wear while riding, this may or may not seem like a crucial item to bring along.

Either way, sun-screen.pngtypically the rider’s neck is exposed to the sun for long stretches and needs to be protected. Plus, it’s not like we’re covered head to
toe in riding gear the entire time. When taking a break along the way – or even when we reach our destination – it feels good to shed some layers and what better time to have a bottle of sunblock handy!

Ear Plugs

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten ear plugs when packing for a trip and hearos.png
seriously regretted it. Some riders may not mind the continuous noise inside the helmet
on long trips, but subjecting your ears to it for hours on end can really wear on you over time and increase your rate of fatigue compared to when you have ear plugs.
Secondly, if you’re lodging with others you will definitely want a handful of these bad 
boys. Let’s be real, we all snore. And some louder than others. Much louder. So pop in a couple plugs at the end of a long day of riding and get the sleep you deserve!

Headlamp

Whether you’re camping or find yourself on the side of the road at night, it’s always extremely convenient to have a hands free light handy. Just make sure you pack some extra batteries as well.

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Extra Bags

At the very least, you will probably want a trash bag for your soiled clothes to separate them from the fresh ones. Another great idea is to throw a dryer sheet into your luggage to help freshen it up.

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Hopefully this stays put in your saddlebags or trunk, but if you or one of your riding buddies get hurt along the way you will be prepared and the hero of the trip.

What other essentials have you forgotten on a trip? Let everyone know in the comments below!