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Portable bike lane projector.
June 24, 2009 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Lightlane builds lasers that shoot out from your bike onto the road, displaying a bike lane wherever you ride. Written about here and here.
posted by erikvan (92 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've got an invention I call "MyHouse". It's a big projector that shines an image of my living room on the walls. You can bring it into a store or a bank, set it up and then basically just pocket whatever you want. "It's MyHouse!"

Dining Room Edition available soon.
posted by DU at 11:41 AM on June 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


This seems kind of brilliant, pun intended. I don't bike at night much, but if I did, I'd consider this. I hope it's easy to remove and take with you, though, because it's probably theft-bait.

Wonder if it's legal.
posted by gurple at 11:43 AM on June 24, 2009


Why bother following posted traffic signs when you can just create your own?
posted by HabeasCorpus at 11:43 AM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is this not quite literally the most dangerous "road safety" idea anyone has ever come up with? The cyclist gets lulled into thinking they're somehow protected by their arbitrary decision to declare that wherever they happen to be riding is a bike path, while the baffled motorist either ignores it (endangering the cyclist) or obeys it (endangering him or herself if they must drift further out into the center of the road).
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:44 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see it as more of a: "You should be at least this far away from me when you pass."
posted by Decimask at 11:45 AM on June 24, 2009 [16 favorites]


It's pretty neat but I don't see how it's legal. What's to stop me from having one that makes a crosswalk wherever I go?

As a way to alert cars, it's great, but it seems too much like it's trying to make some sort of statement.
posted by bondcliff at 11:46 AM on June 24, 2009


It does seems like this would become a big problem whenever the cyclist needs to move into traffic, e.g., to make a left turn. Would be a lot better, and more expensive, with an easy on-off control.
posted by gurple at 11:46 AM on June 24, 2009


It's like a little finish line cars will need to cross before they can hit you when you run a red light.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:47 AM on June 24, 2009 [11 favorites]


Can I get a version that projects Reserved for Jared into the parking space right in front of my apartment building? Because, after all, why should I "adapt [my] behavior to the existing infrastructure"? The limited parking in my neighborhood should adapt to me.
posted by JaredSeth at 11:47 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this not quite literally the most dangerous "road safety" idea anyone has ever come up with?

I once designed a prototype helmet with a badger strapped to the front. It hung down into the wearer's face, no that it could try to gnaw on your face as you ride. My thinking was basically, "A lot of people who get into bike accidents aren't having badgers trying to eat their faces while they're on the road. Maybe I could change that, and there would be fewer accidents." As it turns out, the cyclists just got lulled into a false sense of safety.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:49 AM on June 24, 2009 [29 favorites]


I agree Game Warden- this seems like it could turn into a huge biking FAIL. From my experience in NYC, I think the safest thing bikers can do is actually follow the traffic laws. Helmets, reflective gear and lights for night-time riding are obviously a great idea, but actually creating your own traffic signs seems problematic.
posted by HabeasCorpus at 11:49 AM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


What would be better is if it had a little can of spraypaint that automatically sprayed anything that crossed the line. Pass by me at a distance of six inches, will you, Mr. Hummer?
posted by gurple at 11:50 AM on June 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh and DU, I'd definitely take a Dining Room Edition (and then go hang out in the most expensive restaurants, picking the choicest bits off other diners' plates).
posted by JaredSeth at 11:50 AM on June 24, 2009


It's like the Critical Mass edition of moving to Montana and declaring yourself a sovereign nation. I can already hear these guys going on about the Sixteenth Amendment and the fringe on the flag.
posted by enn at 11:53 AM on June 24, 2009


Has anyone seriously suggested that these glowing green lines would be mistaken for a bike lane? If so, they are idiots. With that out of the way, the point is clearly a boundary of personal space, a projected line saying "I prefer that you not come any closer than this when passing me". This is reasonable, if a bit of a novelty, since any reasonable motorist should be giving a bike a little more space than I saw in the video anyway.
posted by idiopath at 11:53 AM on June 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


This'll just attract delivery vans looking for a place to park.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 11:54 AM on June 24, 2009 [15 favorites]


In beta it was called the Les Nessman.

I don't understand how anyone could think it was illegal. It's a light. It doesn't come with it's own laws.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:54 AM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


The video would be more compelling as a safety idea if the rider didn't make a left turn through a red light at one point. Otherwise, a neat idea if not the best idea.

I can't find the site, but there's one product which is essentially underbody lighting for you bike on the downtube or rear chainstay and man, that thing is BRIGHT. Putting yourself in the middle of a really bright circle of light that's not blinding drivers at the same time is a much better idea.
posted by GuyZero at 11:57 AM on June 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Lightlane builds lasers that shoot out from your bike ...

This had me very interested, until I read the rest of the sentence.
posted by memebake at 11:59 AM on June 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


"Is this not quite literally the most dangerous "road safety" idea..."

I think it's safe to assume that if you're safety conscious enough to use this then you're not swerving into traffic convinced that you're protected by LASER POWER. And if you are thinking that, then you'll be making idiot decisions on a bike with or without this device.

Giving drivers a visual cue seems like a fantastic idea. I live in a pretty damn bike-friendly town -- Portland, Ore. -- and I still want one.
posted by not_the_water at 11:59 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


the point is clearly a boundary of personal space, a projected line saying "I prefer that you not come any closer than this when passing me".

Reminds me of the geologically recent video of some person who'd built a personal space enforcement device that was basically a flexible pole attached to his/her waist that wiggled around to create a safe space in front of the walker.

This seems like those flashing headlamps some motorcyclists use...they do realize I, like Homer Simpson before me, suffer a moth-like compulsion towards blinking lights....
posted by nomisxid at 12:00 PM on June 24, 2009


Has anyone seriously suggested that these glowing green lines would be mistaken for a bike lane? If so, they are idiots. With that out of the way, the point is clearly a boundary of personal space,

It's not about whether anyone would seriously mistake this for a bike lane when they stopped to think rationally about it. It's to do with the hundreds of cues you rely on from your environment when doing something as complex-yet-second-nature as driving a car. People could easily react to these things as if they were bike lanes, it seems to me — with really, really bad consequences — without necessarily believing that they were bike lanes.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:00 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seems more like a cute statement than a genuine safety article. A reflective vest would be better for everyone involved if a flashing red light on the back isn't enough.
posted by echo target at 12:00 PM on June 24, 2009


Reminds me of the geologically recent video of some person who'd built a personal space enforcement device that was basically a flexible pole attached to his/her waist that wiggled around to create a safe space in front of the walker.

Also, for air travel: Knee Defender!

posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:01 PM on June 24, 2009


I see it as more of a: "You should be at least this far away from me when you pass."

The problem is, safe passing distance is a pretty complicated combination of bike speed, car speed, and road conditions.

Complicated to express, that is. Most people do a pretty good job of figuring it out on the fly. The people who fail are generally letting their emotional state take over from their common sense. Like "god damned bike in my way, I'm going to buzz him." Or "poor cyclist, so dangerous for you, I'll use the oncoming traffic lane because it will be safer."
posted by Chuckles at 12:07 PM on June 24, 2009


Neat idea. I have no idea why so many MeFites hate cyclists, though, and I'm sure glad that I live in a city that is cyclist friendly.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:10 PM on June 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Did anyone actually watch the video? There's not much to see there; it certainly doesn't look like "a bike lane whereever you ride". It just doesn't seem to work very well.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:11 PM on June 24, 2009


It just doesn't seem to work very well.

it's akin to an incadescent light powered by a couple of AAs in terms of intensity. It would be OK in pitch black but in a lit urban setting it doesn't do much. Besides, drivers never look at the spot where it puts the light. $25 at REI gets you 10x as much light on your seat post and for $100+ you can probably get 100x as much light in a headlight which you need anyway.

It looks neat though.
posted by GuyZero at 12:17 PM on June 24, 2009


You know, its like this: You should only get so close when passing a bike There is a line that you never ever pass. This device is about where that line should be, if not closer.

Always always wait until you can pass safely, never squeeze by.

So, if this device would change how you passed a bicyclist, you are currently passing them in an incorrect and unsafe fashion.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 12:21 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


This could be better used for fighting roommates, or perhaps children in backseats on a road trip. "Do not CROSS my line! This is MY side."
posted by resurrexit at 12:22 PM on June 24, 2009


I have no idea why so many MeFites hate cyclists

I'm pro-cyclist. I bike and I also drive a car. I still think this thing is a bad idea. I just see it as a big, bright, distracting light that would draw a driver's attention to the pavement, wondering what the hell that green blinky thing is, while they drive closer and closer and fail to see the cyclist it's supposed to be protecting.

Blinking lights on the bike and a safety vest draw the driver's eye towards the bike, where the eyes should be drawn. This thing would also give the cyclist a false sense of security, I think.
posted by bondcliff at 12:24 PM on June 24, 2009


It's all fun and games until you are overtaken by the Hummer with the HOV lane lasers.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:25 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have no idea why so many MeFites hate cyclists...

The only time I see cyclist hate here is when Critical Mass gets mentioned. Most of the comments so far have been pretty well-reasoned, unless I skimmed past the hatey parts. For myself, I spent five years with a bike as my primary mode of transport. So when I say that this is a cute idea but not really practical, and possibly even dangerous to the cyclist, it's not out of unreasoned cycle-rage, it's from personal experience.

I'm sure glad that I live in a city that is cyclist friendly.

I wish we could all say that.
posted by lekvar at 12:25 PM on June 24, 2009


This is an amazing idea.

I think the producers of this should get away from the "bike lane" idea and describe it as a boundary like Decimask said. This device helps defines a space around you that you would like respected.

For those who think that it's a dangerous idea - do you really believe that the rider will really think they have made a real bike lane for themselves? No - the biker can continue riding defensively and this device can offer an additional measure of protection or at least visibility.

My only concern is that its novelty would have the opposite effect of warding away vehicles. I wonder if car drivers would be unconsciously drawn towards the lines - much like drunk drivers are drawn towards the lines in the middle of roads.
posted by redteam at 12:26 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Monty Python What a stupid concept
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:27 PM on June 24, 2009


Why are we giving cars laser targetting?
posted by mazola at 12:30 PM on June 24, 2009


In Soviet Russia bike lane follows you
posted by jfrancis at 12:30 PM on June 24, 2009


I have no idea why so many MeFites hate cyclists

mathowie, who invented Metafilter and also the internet, hates bicycles and bicyclists a lot.
posted by everichon at 12:30 PM on June 24, 2009


I have no idea why so many MeFites hate cyclists

I like cyclists so much I don't want them to get killed using trendy but fundamentally lethal new contraptions like this.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:34 PM on June 24, 2009


The posted doodad is kinda silly, but it does make me think: there has to be some cool way to combine bikes and lasers.
posted by everichon at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2009


I can think of very little that would attract even more things thrown at me than having one of these on my bike.
posted by moonbiter at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rather than a useful safety device, it seems like a mobile electronic snark to me. (Not unlike posting to MeFi from your smartphone.)
posted by JeffK at 12:43 PM on June 24, 2009


The safest thing you can do, statistically speaking, is to stay out of bike lanes and stay in the middle of the lane you're in. Bike lanes are a gift given by cyclists to impatient drivers at their own expense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Brilliant. I need a lighter that throws a circle around me marked 'designated smoking area'.

For all you haters, just pretend I said 'free speech zone'.
posted by davelog at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


ACME built me a dark laser that shoots out from my car onto the sidewalk, displaying a bottomless hole. Many pedestrians assume it's just an illusion, until they hear the screams of those who fell in before them. This thread has convinced me that it might be fun to add a second laser for the bike lane.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2009


I don't understand how anyone could think it was illegal. It's a light. It doesn't come with it's own laws.

There are, in fact, laws about what lights you can affix to a vehicle. In Missouri, for example, if you have a blue light on your vehicle (no matter whether it's on top, on the license plate, or undercarriage) and you're not an emergency vehicle, you're getting a ticket. Have no idea whether there are rules about lights on bikes. (Missouri is vaguely aware that bikes exist, kinda sorta).
posted by Chanther at 12:54 PM on June 24, 2009


The idea is cute and the video does look impressive but the first time a cyclist using one of these causes an accident by riding by a discarded reflective object (tin can, crisp packet, metal bottle top etc) and blinding the driver/s behind them, surely that'll be that.
posted by motty at 12:54 PM on June 24, 2009


sure looks a deal more complex than the old standby of a garden cane across the rear carrier with an engineer's scriber epoxied in each end ...
posted by scruss at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2009


Won't this just encourage E and LSD users to follow you home?
posted by doctor_negative at 12:58 PM on June 24, 2009


I think this is what GuyZero was talking about:

DIY Ground Effects Bike Light.

Here's an LED version.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:07 PM on June 24, 2009


Youtube has no, I repeat, no video of Les Nessman's "walls". This is a) relevant to the current thread and b) a great tragedy!
posted by bonecrusher at 1:10 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Les Nessman's "walls" were invisible, bonecrusher. Of course there's no video of them!course
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:12 PM on June 24, 2009


Weird - that extra "course" just popped in there after I hit the "Post Comment" button. I swear! I guess mathowie has a laser, too.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:13 PM on June 24, 2009


Metafilter: What a stupid concept.
posted by modernnomad at 1:30 PM on June 24, 2009


This device would also be good for presentations at work, whenever you need to point to two different things at the same time.
posted by jeremy b at 1:42 PM on June 24, 2009


When you wrote "lasers", I thought cars and other objects were going to be vaporized when they got too close to the bike. This is a flashlight.
posted by silkyd at 1:45 PM on June 24, 2009


Y'all are really missing the point here. Lights or no, legally the cyclist already has a zone into which another vehicle may NOT legally encroach. Ya gotta pass 3 feet away.

Share the road, dudes.
posted by toastchee at 2:04 PM on June 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Have no idea whether there are rules about lights on bikes. (Missouri is vaguely aware that bikes exist, kinda sorta). - Chanther

Well, that's not entirely true as stated at the Missouri Bike Federation: Missouri Statutes for Bicyclists.

Missouri is aware there are bicycles mostly, but the drivers try to kill you anyway.

That being said. The DIY Ground Effects for the bike seem more effective than the bike lane anyway.
posted by lizarrd at 2:05 PM on June 24, 2009


Anything that makes bikes a bit more visible is a good thing. The bike-lane graphic is obviously contentious and seen as arbitrary, so why not a simple box?

Anyway, this is why I mounted a 2500 watt CO2 laser on my bike. The shower of sparks it makes when it slices an running engine block in half is highly visible.
posted by loquacious at 2:08 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


silkyd : This is a flashlight.

No. This is a flashlight.

And if used as a bike light, probably a weapon.
posted by quin at 2:22 PM on June 24, 2009


I found it - I was actually thinking of Down Low Glow but yeah, it's the same thing.
posted by GuyZero at 2:22 PM on June 24, 2009


What's to stop me from having one that makes a crosswalk wherever I go?

That's nothing.
posted by rodii at 2:32 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The posted doodad is kinda silly, but it does make me think: there has to be some cool way to combine bikes and lasers.

I always thought it'd be cool to have a laser-generated grid projected in front of the bike (on the ground) to provide the rider with an indication of the topography and other surface properties of the road at night-- sometimes it's hard to tell if a shadow is a pothole or an oil slick.
And it reminds me of Snow Crash
posted by psp200 at 2:39 PM on June 24, 2009


The "Down Low Glow"?


Twenty bucks, same as in town.
posted by darkstar at 2:56 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


This might seem like a stupid question, but don't you guys have these over there in America? They are cheap plastic thingies that attach to your carrier and keep cars from driving by too close; no electronics, no lasers, no probably-illegal expensive attachment...
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:57 PM on June 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


PontifexPrimus-- No, actually, I've never seen one of those before. They look really cool, though!
posted by Squid Voltaire at 3:07 PM on June 24, 2009


What Squid said. That is cool, and also impossibly dorky.
posted by everichon at 3:08 PM on June 24, 2009


If it could project animating stars or skulls onto the ground, it would increase both visibility and pimp factor.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:15 PM on June 24, 2009


At which point you might as well hang a disco ball off the back of your bike and get the light at the right angle to reflect onto the ground.
posted by GuyZero at 3:35 PM on June 24, 2009


If it could project animating stars or skulls onto the ground, it would increase both visibility and pimp factor.

This could probably be done on the cheap with a few of those cheap laser pointer toys that include various diffraction gratings that have graphics like a soccer ball, middle finger or such. It can't be that hard to etch your own diffraction gratings for projections considering you could probably do home holography with a sandbox and a 10+MW laser that cost less than 50-100 bucks for a high powered diode module.

I have no idea how much a "galvo scanner" costs these days but I hope it's cheaper than it used to be. Basically you need two computer controlled mirrors to give you X-Y scan control of the beam and a laser of sufficient brightness to bounce through it. There has to be a cheap way to rig one with scrap and a Basic Stamp or something. Used hard drive servos? Maybe a clever one-mirror solution?

If someone solves this scanner or diffraction grating problem cheaply you could even do laser diode "throwies" that broadcast a tag or image. Make 'em solar powered and light-aware so the broadcast at night. Put a mic on them so they shut off if humans-approaching sounds happen so it's harder to find them.

In one of our future timelines graffiti artists have hand-held laser etchers and cutters.
posted by loquacious at 3:46 PM on June 24, 2009


This might seem like a stupid question, but don't you guys have these over there in America?

Yeah, bingo. I googled for that earlier to throw in this thread and, not able to come up with something immediately, didn't have the time to pursue it. Haven't seen that particular make but see that kind of thing frequently. Nice idea, though wouldn't doubt that a few die-hard anti-bike asshats use it as a kind of goal post in their game of intimidate the cyclist.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:55 PM on June 24, 2009


GuyZero - a device that produces that disco ball effect is on the market. Saw tons of them at Burning Man last year. They create very many little green dots on the ground around the bicycle. Very pimpish but also disorienting and confusing. It might make cars around you swerve.
posted by redteam at 3:58 PM on June 24, 2009


OK guys - straw men are a viscious threat to all that is sacred and must be stopped. We should be wearing all black sweats and things that look like reflectors and lights, except that they are flat black and don't light up. Got it.

Seriously, if your a cyclist and you're out at night, anything you can do to be more visible is a good idea - the WTF factor really helps. And every time something bicycle related comes up here, I become more convinced that a 9mm pistol in a shoulder holster is a must have.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:08 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Youtube has no, I repeat, no video of Les Nessman's "walls".

It seems someone cares about rights infringement.

In regards to blinding or distracting motorists, did anyone watch the video? It's a pretty paltry steady light, especially when compared to the photos of the glowing bike frames. It's aimed at the ground, behind the bicyclist, where bicyclists usually aren't looking (except for those with little rear view mirrors). No flashing or blinking lights, and it's not even that functional under decent street lights (at least as seen in the video). The still photos don't seem to be representative of the real-world appearance.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:11 PM on June 24, 2009


I dig that extensible taillight. That seems like a pretty neat solution, as long as it could be folded back against the bike when it wasn't needed. For that matter, put one on each side, so the pair of taillights resembles a larger motor vehicle. That's the visual cue most drivers are trained to recognize, not to mention giving the drivers behind you the advantage of some depth perception enhancement.
posted by darkstar at 4:22 PM on June 24, 2009


I've recently started using some cheap (and squeaky, and rattly) foldable metal baskets on my rear rack to cart stuff around because I was tired of unhooking and rehooking fabric panniers when I was shopping. I had hoped that a bonus effect of wire baskets would be to encourage drivers who valued their finish to keep their distance, but the last couple of weeks have shown me that some idiots just don't care.

So I'll have to move on to Plan B, which involves a full grown raccoon and some duct tape, but I'll be damned if I can find that roll of tape.
posted by maudlin at 4:38 PM on June 24, 2009


Incidentally, I ran across this while looking for the side-post accessory. I don't know whether to believe it or not, but if so, it's disheartening. I have no intention of choosing between a helmet and even marginally more space from drivers.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:53 PM on June 24, 2009


I don't know whether to believe it or not, but if so, it's disheartening. I have no intention of choosing between a helmet and even marginally more space from drivers.

Well, going by that article, what you need is a helmet with a wig on it. The wig gave even more space than no helmet did, and if you got into an accident you'd still be protected. But this way drivers will simply think you're a large-headed woman.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:38 PM on June 24, 2009


/me runs off to patent the WigHelmet.

Now available in B-52s Beehive!
posted by darkstar at 5:54 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


WigHelmet.


Would that be like JD on scrubs Hairmet or bret's hair helmet on Flight of the conchords?
posted by djduckie at 6:44 PM on June 24, 2009


Maybe even "The Blago"?
posted by darkstar at 6:51 PM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's aimed at the ground, behind the bicyclist, where bicyclists usually aren't looking

It is when the bike is upright. What happens when the cyclist takes a turn at a very sharp angle or even has a minor fall and suddenly the angle of the laser is shooting into the eyeline of pedestrians or cars? Way to blind somebody. Seriously, all lasers are dangerous when aimed directly into human eyes and this seems like a horrifically unsafe way to mount a laser. At the very least it requires an orientation sensor that turns it off when the frame of the bike goes more than say 20 degrees from vertical.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:50 PM on June 24, 2009


What Squid said. That is cool, and also impossibly dorky.

Almost as dorky as bike lasers.
posted by Evilspork at 9:27 PM on June 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have no idea why so many MeFites hate cyclists, though

Me, neither. No idea.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:15 AM on June 25, 2009


This "passing too closely" problem needs to be addressed, I can't constantly keep spitting on cars or beating up the driver when they stop to complain.
posted by yoHighness at 7:10 AM on June 25, 2009


I don't react that way to anything else, just being nearly ran down...
posted by yoHighness at 7:13 AM on June 25, 2009


I am a pedestrian, a cyclist, a motorcycle rider and a driver and a lover and a fighter and all I can think to say is:

Instead of forcing cyclists to adapt their behavior to the existing infrastructure, the bike lane should adapt to the cyclist.

What
posted by davejay at 4:24 PM on June 25, 2009


Oh, and when I see a car coming up on me and have a feeling they're going to try to squeeze by me, I do this:

1. I weave a bit, drunkenly, and take up a bit more space. I try to look unpredictable.
2. I move over to the right (where I started) just as the car's about to pass me.

It's sort of exploiting that brief reaction that every driver (including myself) has when they think someone's going to do something unpredictable: oh shit, they're going to hit me. That, plus I have room to wider the distance between myself and them.

Oddly, when I started riding a motorcycle, I quickly found it feels a lot safer, because you take up a whole lane and can go their speed, so nobody gets angry (well, almost nobody) and nobody tries to squeeze you (well, almost nobody.) Based on my experience as a cyclist, the first time I rode my motorcycle I assumed cars would rush up on me and try to knock me over, but they are much more respectful (although still not nearly enough.)
posted by davejay at 4:29 PM on June 25, 2009


As a bicyclist, very little fills me with more burning hot pure hatred and contempt than when I am in a car driving in slow traffic, and folks on motorcycles pass me between lanes (and between me and the vehicle next to me), something which I never saw in the US.

It's strange, the things that set one off.
posted by moonbiter at 1:37 AM on June 29, 2009


That's legal in California. It's called "lane sharing", a euphemism if I ever heard one.
posted by GuyZero at 8:22 AM on June 29, 2009


It's legal in CA? I did not know that.

I now see there is even a Wikipedia article on it: Lane splitting.

As a bicyclist, I think it's a bad idea. As a motorist, I hate it.
posted by moonbiter at 2:15 AM on July 3, 2009


I lane split cautiously in stopped traffic. As soon as it is moving again I find a proper place. Some cars simply don't leave enough room at the curb for cyclists, and I'm not going to be stopped by that. Trying to do it in moving traffic would be somewhat more dangerous, but I can't think of many circumstances when that would even be possible for a cyclist--well, possible, but obviously extremely stupid.

The only dangerous parts are the possibility of a car darting after an empty spot ahead, or cars leaving gaps for left turning oncoming traffic. In fact, I find it easier to spot the left turning traffic while lane splitting, because I'm one lane closer to the action, and I'm moving slower anyway. Using bike lanes on streets with congested car traffic, where I could go 30+km/h, avoiding the left turning cars means I have to slow down anyway--and you think lane splitters are irritating!

Motorcycles lane splitting on highways, so that they can move at 30-50km/h where other traffic is moving under at say 20-40km/h, seems like it would be more dangerous. Not something in my direct experience though, so it is just wild speculation.

Actually, thinking about it.. When avoiding an unoccupied right turn lane on a larger road (because idiots would otherwise pass my ~30km/h at 60km/h and end up turning right directly in front of me), there is an entirely different circumstance that could be interpreted as lane splitting.
posted by Chuckles at 8:19 AM on July 3, 2009


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