Recent deaths on EB roads highlight dangers of lane-splittin

For the purpose of teaching others how to avoid them.

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Recent deaths on EB roads highlight dangers of lane-splittin

#1 Post by MistrissKittie » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:11 am

Just an article I thought I'd share, just a reminder to ride safe when lane splitting.

HAYWARD — So-called "lane-splitting" on a motorcycle is perfectly legal, but Officer Cristina Tagle of the California Highway Patrol asks, "Is it really worth it?"

Bikers have an obvious advantage when it comes to the daily commute, but Tagle said splitting lanes — riding alongside other vehicles, between lanes — carries significant risk, as exemplified by three deaths this year in the Hayward-San Leandro area.

# Earlier this month, John McGuinness, 45, of Alameda, was killed while splitting lanes on Interstate 880 in San Leandro. He lost control of his motorcycle and collided with two vehicles, police said.

# In June, Jason Amaya, 29, of San Mateo, was killed on Interstate 238.

# In February, Jeremie Troub, 28, of Mountain House, was run over by a big rig, also on Interstate 238, in Castro Valley.

"California does not have a law that prohibits (lane-splitting)," CHP Sgt. Kevin Briggs said. "But you're still subject to all the laws in the Vehicle Code. Everything still applies."

That means if traffic is moving at 65 mph, a motorcyclist splitting lanes can be cited for speeding. "But catching them is a different matter," Briggs said.

Lane-splitters also can be cited for "unsafe speed," which Briggs said is "a judgment call."

Briggs, a motorcycle officer for 10 years, said he has encountered all manner of danger while on the job.

"You have people that don't use a blinker that pull out right in front of you, people that are angry and will block your way, people opening doors," he said. To avoid the dangers, "You have to use sound judgment."

Fernando Camilli, 35, is a motorcycle enthusiast who knows the risks. Camilli is president of the Hayward chapter of the Bay Area Delinquents — the motorcycle club that Troub previously led.

Camilli was friends with Troub. He said I-238, where Troub was killed, is a particularly notorious spot because of narrow lanes and the large number of trucks that leave little space between lanes for a motorcycle.

"When I drive through there, I think, Jeremie, man, why here?" Camilli said.

Camilli has been in two motorcycle accidents in the last four years, suffering road rash, bruises and a concussion. But splitting lanes on his Yamaha R6 is not something he is going to give up.

"We split lanes every day, commute time, night time," he said. "In 60,000 miles on a sport bike, I just don't think there's a class they could give that could teach an awareness while you're lane-splitting. You can't re-create that environment. It is something you learn from experience."

He said inexperienced motorcyclists can make unsafe decisions, but even for experienced riders, the danger is always there from drivers who are not paying attention.

"Everybody knows the risks. We know it every day, the minute we stick that leg over the bike. Everybody knows the consequences. You never hope it's going to be your time, but it can be any time."

Even so, he hopes no laws are passed to prohibit lane-splitting, as has been done in other states.

In these days of crowded freeways and heightened environmental awareness, Camilli asks that drivers see motorcycles not as a dangerous nuisance, but as a green, fuel-efficient alternative to cars.

Camilli says Troub's death affected him deeply, but he did not consider giving up his bike.

"It's a freedom," he said. "It's a lifestyle. It's a way of life that I've been accustomed to."

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Re: Recent deaths on EB roads highlight dangers of lane-splittin

#2 Post by NinjaMama » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:45 pm

It doesn't get much closer to home than that.
We all need to ride safe out there among those giant "liquid-dinosaur" gulping hulks. They can take your birthday away in the blink of an eye.
Thanks for posting this Mandy!

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Re: Recent deaths on EB roads highlight dangers of lane-splittin

#3 Post by Jessika » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:55 pm

Good article.
No regrets!

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Re: Recent deaths on EB roads highlight dangers of lane-splittin

#4 Post by brefly22 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:45 pm

Thanks for posting, as it does seem like this is something that our community has been touched by too much this year.
"Life's a journey, not a destination"

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