0:03JAMIE ROBINSON: We're here in Los Angeles with Wes and
0:04Harlan, and we're going to explain to you why splitting
0:07lanes on a motorcycle is a good thing to do.
0:10Welcome to RideApart.
0:58Wes, you're an experienced rider.
1:01You've ridden motorcycles all around the world.
1:04You've ridden here in America on different states where you
1:07can split lanes.
1:08Now you're in California, and you couldn't while
1:10you were in New York.
1:12What's your take on it?
1:13WES SILER: You know, the first time I ever split lanes was on
1:15my very first riding lesson in London when I was 16.
1:19Very first time I'd ever ridden a bike on the road.
1:21They threw us on these little 125s and were just
1:23like, here you go.
1:25This is central London.
1:26So we just went out, straight out of the car park, straight
1:30We did it.
1:30So I've never not split lanes.
1:33That's been a problem with legality sometimes, but it's
1:37just what motorcycles do.
1:38It's just how motorcycles operate.
1:39JAMIE ROBINSON: Now, you're talking about legality
1:40problems in America.
1:42I mean, all over Europe, we can split lanes.
1:45WES SILER: Everywhere in the world, lane splitting is legal
1:47and encouraged because it's a safe, economical thing to do.
1:50It's how motorcycles get around.
1:51But in 49 states outside of California, it's illegal, and
1:54the cops will come down on you hard.
1:57I've got a stack of reckless riding tickets like this from
1:59when I lived in New York.
2:01And none of it was reckless.
2:02All of it was stopped traffic, go to the front of the queue
2:06Just normal, common sense stuff to the rest of us, and
2:08for some reason, those 49 states just hate it.
2:12JAMIE ROBINSON: OK, Harlan, you've ridden in Philly, and
2:14now you're here in California.
2:16So you've actually experienced it also in the States.
2:19What's the change been like for you?
2:21HARLAN FLAGG: Yeah, well, riding in Philly, not
2:23splitting lanes, we took it for granted, you know?
2:27Don't split lanes.
2:28As soon as I moved back to LA, I see all these motorcyclists
2:33riding through traffic, and as soon as I caught on to it and
2:36I felt comfortable doing it, I wouldn't have it
2:39any other way now.
2:40It's really the only way to get around LA.
2:43JAMIE ROBINSON: Exactly.
2:44So I also had started riding motorcycles in London in a
2:47busy, busy city.
2:48And if I'd have been a part of traffic, of the car traffic, I
2:52wouldn't have gotten anywhere.
2:54Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists were just going
2:57through cars, stationary cars all of the time.
3:01It was a shock to the system to me.
3:03It looks dangerous, but like you've said, once you had a go
3:06and you experience it for yourself,
3:10it wasn't as daunting.
3:11It looks quite like you're doing something wrong.
3:14It looks quite aggressive.
3:16It looks like motorcyclists are trying to break the law.
3:18But actually, there's a lot of room out there, and we're just
3:20picking our way through.
3:21WES SILER: If you're sitting low in a car, sheltered from
3:24the environment around you, and a bike comes by 15 or 20
3:26miles an hour faster, it looks like warp speed, and it looks
3:30like this incredibly irresponsible,
3:31dangerous thing to do.
3:32And it couldn't be any more different.
3:37It's more responsible.
3:39On a motorcycle, we don't have crumple zones.
3:41We don't have this built-in safety, so we have to take
3:44charge of that ourselves.
3:46And part of that is splitting lanes, putting us in charge,
3:48allowing us to control our interaction with cars.
3:51Allowing us to control our environment.
3:53And it's that control that gives us safety when we don't
3:56have the whole cage around us.
3:59The width of our vehicle is as wide as our shoulders.
4:01That is the widest point, right?
4:03And so what's that--
4:03two feet, three feet?
4:05And so long as you've got a good four feet or five feet
4:06wide, which is what the gap is between most lanes, it's more
4:09than enough, and it's just fine.
4:10Just plenty safe.
4:11And then what we also do is we sit up so high on bikes, and
4:15our vision is so unobstructed that it's very easy to spot
4:17when a car is going to change lanes.
4:20So it's not out of control.
4:22It's not reckless, it's not dangerous.
4:24It's natural, and you're in control, and it's a very safe
4:28thing to do.
4:29JAMIE ROBINSON: At the end of the day, we're in control.
4:32If an accident happens because of an irresponsible car
4:35driver, we have to take some responsibility for that
4:38because we're on a motorcycle.
4:39I don't expect--
4:42there's some things that are out of our control, of course,
4:44but we have to be ready.
4:46WES SILER: When I get on a motorcycle, I'm taking my life
4:49into my own hands.
4:50That is a decision that I'm taking by riding a motorcycle,
4:53not operating a nice, big, safe SUV, right?
4:55So even if some cute girl is sexting her boyfriends and
4:59runs into me, I have to accept that's my fault because it's
5:01my life on the line, not hers.
5:03So it's my job to make sure that it
5:04doesn't happen, not hers.
5:06She can be a bad driver all she wants.
5:08It's my job not to let her run into me.
5:09I have to spot that ahead of time, take proper maneuvers to
5:13avoid it, and just not let it be an issue for me.
5:15JAMIE ROBINSON: And as a motorcycle rider, I've found
5:17as well-- which is sometimes quite hard-- but you have to
5:19let things go.
5:20WES SILER: Yeah.
5:21You can't get angry.
5:22JAMIE ROBINSON: If you get angry because something
5:23happens, unfortunately, your concentration is totally taken
5:27away, and you'll end up in an accident further down the
5:30road, because you're still reliving the one that you've
5:32just had behind.
5:33So we have all of these challenges, and that's part of
5:36the fun and enjoyment of riding a motorcycle.
5:40So let's get on the road.
5:42Let's go ahead and show some lane splitting.
5:45And let's show it sensibly, show how it's done, and have
5:50some fun on motorbikes.
5:51How about that?
5:52WES SILER: No crashing, Jamie.
5:54JAMIE ROBINSON: Wes, you're the one with injuries, man.
5:57What's he talking about?
5:59He's Mr. Crasher.
6:00WES SILER: Go, go.
6:50There was a study done in Belgium, and they determined
6:54that if only 10% of car drivers switched to
6:59motorcycles, all traffic, all congestion
7:01would drop 40% total.
7:03So you can imagine, we're riding here today
7:04in LA, if just 10%--
7:06because this is a motorcycle city, but here
7:08not even 10% ride--
7:10if 10% switched, 40% less traffic in LA?
7:13JAMIE ROBINSON: Amazing.
7:14WES SILER: It'd be night and day, you know?
7:15JAMIE ROBINSON: It'd be like going back to 1970.
7:17WES SILER: And it's really not dangerous.
7:19It's actually safer than sitting in traffic.
7:22The big motorcycle safety bible, the biggest study ever
7:25done on motorcycle safety was the 1981 Hurt Report.
7:28And it determined that 2/3 of all motorcycle car collisions
7:33were caused by the driver, not the bike.
7:35And the most common of those are rear enders, right?
7:38The one thing we don't have the ability to escape on a
7:40motorcycle is a rear ender.
7:41If we're set still, and a car comes up behind us--
7:44JAMIE ROBINSON: It's a very bad situation for
7:45motorcyclists, the rear ends.
7:46WES SILER: We can't see it coming, and it'll
7:47probably kill you.
7:48Because that's a big, two-ton vehicle coming
7:50up and hitting you.
7:52You've got a bit of leather on.
7:53It's going to hurt.
7:55And lane splitting completely removes rear
7:57enders from the equation.
7:59Puts you in charge.
8:01On motorcycles, your safety is up to you.
8:03And it's your skill and your awareness and how careful you
8:06are that equals your safety.
8:08And lane splitting allows us to build that safety back into
8:12JAMIE ROBINSON: Yeah, absolutely.
8:13You see, the road also opens up as you lane split.
8:17Opportunities open up.
8:19And it's not that I'm searching for them, but they
8:21just naturally happen.
8:22HARLAN FLAGG: It's like you have your own lane.
8:23JAMIE ROBINSON: Yeah, exactly.
8:24HARLAN FLAGG: The motorcyclist has his own lane.
8:26He's out of the car's way, the cars are out of his way.
8:29And it really just, it opens the road.
8:32You can actually just see how much more efficient it is,
8:35because you can fit motorcycles in
8:37between every lane.
8:39More cars on the road, I mean, the same amount of people that
8:41would be otherwise taking up all those cars.
8:43WES SILER: Every time one of us splits lanes, you get to
8:46We are helping you.
8:48This is a good thing.
8:49Don't hate us.
8:50The US Department of Transportation did a study.
8:52They looked at motorcycle accidents in California and
8:56then compared them to Texas and Florida, which, same
8:58year-round riding, same demographics ride, right?
9:00But in Texas and Florida, you don't have lane splitting.
9:02In those two states, deaths caused by rear end collisions
9:06to motorcyclists are 30% higher than in California.
9:09And that's not a statistical anomaly.
9:11That is a huge figure.
9:13So 30% less of us are dying because cars hit us in
9:16California because we have lane splitting.
9:18JAMIE ROBINSON: And also, you really can read the road
9:21that's happening ahead, and you can see the cars, and
9:23you're just aware of everything around you.
9:26And when I'm in an actual lane of a car, and I
9:28can't see the driver--
9:30WES SILER: And you're blocked because there's a van or
9:30something in front of you.
9:31JAMIE ROBINSON: --it's so much more difficult to see
9:33what's going on.
9:34And on a motorcycle, we don't have the comfort of a
9:36shell around us.
9:37If we crash, we're likely going to be hurt if we're
9:40involved with another vehicle.
9:42I've ridden in London, just like yourself.
9:44And lane splitting, like you said, straight out of the test
9:48bay, you're doing it straight away.
9:50It's how we're brought up.
9:51It's not that we feel that we're doing anything wrong,
9:53it's just that that's the way it is.
9:54And that's the same throughout Europe.
9:56I got to Asia, and it's exactly the same in Asia--
9:59in fact, probably more so.
10:00They ride bikes wherever there's a gap.
10:03And I don't see any motorcycle accidents
, and people are just
10:07getting on with it.
10:08WES SILER: But motorcycles make a great form of
10:11I'm riding the fastest bike here today, and I'm still
10:13probably getting 50 or 55 miles per gallon, which is
10:17roughly what a Toyota Prius gets, right?
10:19The big difference is, I'm moving.
10:21I'm never sitting still, except at a red light.
10:23That Toyota Prius is sitting in traffic
10:25for extended periods.
10:26And even a Toyota Prius, even in these hybrids, they get
10:31zero miles per gallon when they're sitting still.
10:33JAMIE ROBINSON: I mean, but motorcycles around any city,
10:35around any town, around any village, a
10:37great mode of transport.
10:38I mean, so many different bikes as well that's out there
10:43for whatever choice you make.
10:45If you're a commuter, I mean, you're on an electric
10:48HARLAN FLAGG: Yeah.
10:49I'm riding an electric bike, and I ride electric every day.
10:53That's how I get to and from work.
10:54That's how I go to my friend's house.
10:56I run my errands on it.
10:57WES SILER: When was the last time you bought a tank of gas?
11:03HARLAN FLAGG: You know, I--
11:05WES SILER: I like that you have to think about this.
11:06JAMIE ROBINSON: I'm annoyed by that.
11:07WES SILER: If you're watching this show, when was the last
11:09time you bought a tank of gas, and how much did you spend?
11:11And Harlan can't answer this question.
11:13JAMIE ROBINSON: Another good thing that we need to do as
11:15well, they don't teach this in the instructor classes for
11:20novices, but really about covering the brake.
11:23WES SILER: Yeah.
11:23So you're ready to react.
11:24JAMIE ROBINSON: Ready to react.
11:25WES SILER: In a split second.
11:26JAMIE ROBINSON: Absolutely.
11:26WES SILER: There's no time between taking your hand off
11:28the handlebar and going for the front brake.
11:31You can't always keep your fingers hovering over the
11:33brake lever, but two fingers, just keep resting on top of
11:35the brake lever.
11:36And if you need to use that front brake, you can go ahead
11:38and use it without having to go like that.
11:39JAMIE ROBINSON: Yeah, one finger, two
11:40fingers, whatever it is.
11:41WES SILER: I always keep my right foot over
11:42the back brake lever.
11:43I always have my left hand covering the clutch so I can
11:46whip the clutch in real fast if I need to.
11:48And that all of a sudden takes all the little maneuvers that
11:51we do-- not just slowing down, but changing direction real
11:54fast, or you're dodging something, whatever it might
11:56be-- it just helps you do that at low speed.
11:59You really need to have that really fine degree of control
12:02because you want to be smooth and you want to be careful.
12:04JAMIE ROBINSON: I mean, I've got a friend who goes to work
12:08every day, and he says he's got Netflix on at the first
12:11set of traffic lights.
12:12And he watches a movie on his way to work.
12:15Now, I was astonished about that.
12:18I was like, what?
12:19And he was like, well, traffic's bad.
12:22What else am I going to do?
12:24I get bored.
12:25And I'm just like, you need to get a motorcycle.
12:27That's what you need to do.
12:29But we have to take responsibility.
12:31When we're putting our helmets on, there's lots of people on
12:33the road that are not paying attention 100% of the time.
12:36WES SILER: Lane splitting is safer.
12:37That's statistically proven, right?
12:39Lane splitting reduces congestion for everybody,
12:42including car drivers.
12:44It is a common sense, practical, safe thing
12:47motorcyclists to do.
12:49More states of America should allow it.
12:51More riders should learn how to do it safely.
12:54HARLAN FLAGG: It's a way for them to avoid dangerous
12:58It puts them in control of the situation.
13:03It keeps them from being just a vulnerable target in a sea
13:09JAMIE ROBINSON: I totally agree.
13:09And having ridden, again, motorcycles around the world,
13:12and seeing how efficient people, motorcyclists are
13:15around the world, and how we're just getting through
13:17traffic, especially in congested cities, it just
13:21reduces that congestion so much.
13:23I mean, it's a no brainer, almost.
13:26And we've got great roads here in America.
13:29If we could allow it in some other states, I really see it
13:33as being a positive thing for us.
13:35And maybe they can actually, at that point, look upon the
13:37helmet law as actually--
13:39WES SILER: Maybe get a few more of those passed.
13:42JAMIE ROBINSON: It's just, that's where more lives can be
13:45saved, I'm sure.