I went on a group ride today. We got started late, so it was short ride up Pacific Coast Highway. On the way back the traffic was terrible, barely moving. The ride leader looked to me and gave me the nod as if to say, 'we're going down the middle' so I gave him my nod of approval.
We rode the middle of the lane for a few miles, and the cars were actually moving out of the way to give us additional room. If I did not need both hands on the handlebars, I would have pinched myself. Just when I thought I had experienced all the freedoms that come with motorcycling, the motorcycle gods gave me legal lane splitting. I have always been very comfortable with lane splitting. Perhaps it is because I grew up riding in the city and am accustomed aggressive riding that requires constant maneuvering and absolute focus.
Also, I am certain my experience on the racetrack helps a lot. However, because it is illegal in Illinois, I refrain from doing it unless it is absolutely necessary.
I really cannot explain the joy I experienced today once I absorbed the fact that I was not doing anything wrong by lane splitting. All I needed to to be concerned with was the task.
So far California gets two thumbs up on having a mandatory helmet law and legal lane splitting.
I have heard a rumor that Illinois was considering allowing lane splitting for helmeted riders only. I am not sure what happened to that idea. I had mixed feelings about it anyway.
Lane splitting is not for everyone. It can be very stressful, and should only be done in ideal circumstances.
The traffic I was in today was very tight, so I did not need to worry that someone would cut over into the next lane abruptly. If traffic was moving a bit faster, I may have been a bit more cautious.
More stories to come as I navigate through Southern California on a Ducati Monster 696.
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