8 Ball In The Wind

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Filtering Forward

  While virtually the rest of the developed nations in the world not only allow it, but expect motorcyclists to perform the technique to filter forward through congested traffic.  Decades of experience from around the world has shown this technique to be safe and effective.  It has also been shown to benefit motorists in recuing their commute times as well.  It is really a simple concept; the smaller motorcycle left in the mainstream of traffic flow takes up the space of a much larger full size vehicle, wasting the rest of the lane with empty space that could be filled by a larger vehicle if the motorcycle was allowed to filter forward through the slow congested traffic.  Now multiply that wasted space several hundred to a thousand times (or more) over for all the motorcycles traveling along that congested highway artery corridor.  Allowing motorcyclist to filter forward between the lanes of traffic now opens up all that space that each individual motorcycle had been occupying for the use of larger vehicles.  Studies in Europe have shown that lane filtering can reduce congestion and commute times by an average of nearly 25 minutes.  Studies done in California have shown that when motorcyclists participate in lane filtering, it also reduces commute times.  As well as reducing the risk and severity of injury to motorcyclists.  Those same studies, also show that those participating in lane filtering tend to be the more experienced, better equipped riders. Also, that when an accident does occur, it is of a greatly reduced speed difference and glancing force than occurs when a motorcyclist remains in the mainstream traffic flow.  That would explain the reduction in severity of injuries.
During the Senate Committee hearing for ABATEs lane filtering bill, SB5623, the bureaucrats from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission showed two YouTube videos of people splitting the lanes at high speed as part of their testimony against the bill.  They also showed a video taken by a rider that was performing the technique properly.  However it also showed a  motorcyclist on a bagger try to fit between two large trucks when there wasn’t enough room.  The clip ended when the rider crashed, and high-sided off the bike, out of camera view.  However, that was not the end of the original YouTube video.  It actually shows the bagger rider standing back up, and then later, with his bike parked on the hard shoulder, standing there (with no visible injuries) being given a ticket by a law enforcement officer.  That part of the video would have actually gone a long way to show how safe lane filtering actually is.  Here is the full YouTube video continuing with the rest of the commute, and showing how successful proper lane filtering techniques can be. 
But the bureaucracies weren’t quite ready to think outside of the box yet, and refused to look at the decades of evidence from California and around the world.  To them, it was a new idea, and new ideas are frightening things.  Perhaps, after seeing a more successful demonstration of proper lane filtering people who do not ride may be a little more understanding of the technique.  Will there be crashes?  Certainly there will be.  But there are crashes now; because drivers and riders don't pay attention and use common sense, that will never change completely.  With all riding/driving, each situation you encounter should be dealt with in a common sense manner.  If there appears to be a tight squeeze to complete your path, slow down and stop if need be to wait for room to open up and proceed again.  Safety is up to each individual.  Both drivers and riders.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

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