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Lane Splitting: A Southern California Motorcycle Experience

Friday, November 19, 2010

One of the many great responses we got from the recent poll on filtering was a link from a SoCal reader by the name of Brian Leahy. Turns out he had previously done some research on the subject and then made a short documentary as a school project. I just got through watching it and was really impressed with what I saw. Not only is it beautifully shot but it goes into some really nice detail about lane splitting while also touching on safety, clubs, cops, and even retro bikes. There’s also some silly sweet footage of garages and workshops thrown in for good measure. See what you think… | Comments | Article

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Reader Comments (18)

Cool. I would definitely do it in slow moving traffic. I wish we had this in Ohio. Although our traffic is NOTHING like in California.

November 19, 2010 |

I wish they had this in the Seattle area. I think a lot more people would get on a bike and save gas.

November 19, 2010 |

Hey… So the documentary was done as a final project for a film class. Ended up shooting it over a 2 month period with two other students in the greater LA/OC area. Had some great interviews with CHP that ended up not having quality audio so they were not included as were a bunch of other shots. For the class we had to work within the 10 min time frame so we ended up cutting a lot of material. I hope it provides some entertainment value!

As for splitting, I have since moved back to the great pacific northwest and miss the ability to go to the front of stoplights and not get caught in rush hour traffic. Lane splitting is California’s redeeming quality.


November 19, 2010 | L.


November 19, 2010 |

Nice job Brian. Thanks for sharing.

November 19, 2010 |

Lane splitting is just the done thing in Bermuda, although “third-laning” as we call it is a little easier on a 150cc! (our size restriction).

November 19, 2010 |

The anti-biker crowd will focus on the references to drinking, other than that, nice work.

November 19, 2010 |

Very nice Brian. Cretins Los Angeles guys are great.

If any of you are in Seattle, Portland or Los Angeles, go to a Cretins MC thurs night or one of our rides. We are very welcoming to all motorcyclists, as long as you are.

Thanks to Pipeburn for featuring Brian’s vid.

November 20, 2010 | Cretin #9

Lane splitting saves time : parisian ring, 35 km in 11 minutes on a gex 1100 @ 190 kph +

November 20, 2010 | – Paris

Awesome! Considering the topic, it would have been a little better delivered if the very first guy up weren’t pretty obviously skunked and slurring…

November 20, 2010 |

Great job on the video. Think about putting together a longer version. I think you’d have an audience.

November 20, 2010 |

@Florian – Paris, it’s a car, but this is way better, also in Paris:

Nicely done project.

November 20, 2010 |

Some serious lane spliting in Sao Paulo, Brazil:

November 20, 2010 | Di Lascio

@Brian Leahy: I’m really curious about your view on this subject. I filter a LOT here in Portugal and it would be marvellous to share some light on this where I live (Lisbon, the original one^^). But unfortunately, I do not have the latest O.S. compatible with the flash player here and on vimeo, and I coudn’t find your piece on youtube/google either. Is there anywhere else you keep your doc online? Thanks in advance 🙂

November 20, 2010 |úl Vicente

@ Kumo,

Actually I knew this film “rendez-vous”, it was directed by a very famous frend director “Claude Lelouch” (, and just for the story, the movie was filmed from a mercedes benz and not from the ferrari you see at the end of the movie (because of the suspension), the sound of the ferrari engine was added afterwards. By the way, Lelouch loss his driving license after this movie that has been filmed in real conditions…!
But, to come back to the question of filtering, it is really curious to see that it’s an issue to American and Australian people, I think it is extremly common here in Europe, in Paris it is actually THE rule, I ride in Paris since years and I never hesitated to filter. To be honest, filtering on the parisian ring appears like being the first accident factor in the city with something like 60-70 % of the total of accidents in the french capital…

November 20, 2010 | – Paris

One day I was riding on a highway and I saw another biker, actually at the other side of the HW., splitting when, a car changed its line and hit him, he fall, tried to get up and ( I still have these images on my head) the oncoming traffic hit him like a ball in a Pinball and he never get up again. That day I really came home very slowly. But the craziest thing that I ever saw on the HW. was a guy trying to pass from a car window to a motorcycle, like in the movies, but after several tries he desisted when his brain, I guess, told him: today is not the righ day to finish at the hospital or worst.

November 20, 2010 | Isler

Funny.. Didnt know this was such a big deal.. As a born and bred Londoner this is the done thing. Filtering as we know it is what Ive been doing since first riding on the road. If you didnt you be stuck in the London traffic with all the other cage drivers.

Nicely made video though..

November 21, 2010 |

I ride a bike to work for this reason, so I can split up the freeway. flip the mirrors, short drag bars keep it slim lined also loud pipes so they know your coming. I’m never really sure if its illegal in sydney or if its just tolerated. But it would defeat the purpose of riding to work if they cracked down on it. Besides another bike on the road means less traffic, so let the fuckers through.

November 22, 2010 | Mc a New Comment

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