MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 41
Article views: 1157
Latest Badges:

View all Slash's badges.

Side-splitting, lane-splitting proposal

19 February 2013, 20:03
Western Cape transport and public works MEC, Robin Carlisle, is considering introducing legislation to prevent motorcyclists from "lane-splitting" (driving between the traffic during congested periods of high density traffic during rush-hour).I find this proposal side-splittingly hilarious.  I gather that you would deduce from my tone, that I too am a motorcyclist and I do not at all agree with this proposal.  There are several points as to why this is my view, which I shall attempt to detail below.
Unfortunately, because of the nature of my employment, I am required to use my car on many days of the week, as I am required to attend meetings at customers.  On the days however, which I have no meetings, I use my motorcycle to commute.  The difference in the time it takes me to travel to and from work is less than half on those days, and yes, I do go down the centre lane between the cars.  I have been riding motorcycles for 27 years now and in all that time, I have never had a serious accident (and the two smaller ones I had, had nothing to do with lane-splitting).  As an experienced motorcyclist, there are certain safety tips that are constantly in my mind and I am sure that all experienced motorcycle riders do the same. A few examples of these are as follows:  When I am travelling between the cars, I always try to be sure that I am never going any faster than 20Kmph above the speed that the cars are traveling.  That is to say, if the cars are stationary, I will travel at 20Kmph between them.  If the cars are travelling at 30 Kmph, I will do 50 Kmph between them. With a 20 Kmph difference between me and the vehicles surrounding me, it gives me plenty of time to react and avoid any potential collision, should the situation arise.  Another thing I (and I am sure, "we") do, is be constantly alert.  I am not only watching the cars in front of me, but also the car in front of that and the one in front of that, so I am always "scanning" the vehicles around me up to three cars ahead.  One becomes very aware of the body language of car drivers and I can quite safely anticipate subconscious intention by the driver to change direction.  There are many such (little) indicators - a brief glance in the mirror, a brief shift in body position in the car seat, a sudden increase or decrease in speed, etc.  The point is, one gets very used to picking up on these.  As a motorcyclist, you are VERY aware of your surroundings.  I also know areas of potential danger and areas where it is safer to pass.  When travelling through bumper to bumper congestion, it is fairly safe to do so (with the use of my two above points), as long as there are no gaps in the traffic.  If a spot ahead of me clears between two cars on either my left or right, I will decelerate and proceed with caution.  The reason for this, is that if a position open between two cars, the one lane is inevitably going to be moving slightly faster than the other and the potential exists that a motorist will try quickly switching lanes to take that position.  They often do this without indication, as it is a last minute decision.  I can go on and on, but I think you should be getting the point by now - those of us experienced enough, are quit capable of "Lane-splitting" safely.
Having said all of the above, I'll come to the crux of the matter.  I don't think our dear MEC has considered the repercussions on the traffic flow and congestion if he were to implement his proposed legislation.  The main reason I use my motorcycle when I can (as I mentioned at the beginning of this piece), is to save travelling time and avoid traffic congestion.  I f I was forced to sit behind cars day in and day out and endure the same congestion, it would take away the advantage of using my motorcycle in the first place, so I would revert to using my car.  I have spoken to many motorcyclists about this and they all say the same.  This would lead to there being thousands and thousands more cars in the traffic each and every morning which would further ad to our already very congested roads in the mornings and evenings.  I am not going to sit behind a row of cars sucking on exhaust fumes travelling at 10Kmph for an hour each day and night.  Unlike you (car drivers), we cannot close our windows and put on out air-conditioners.  Please keep this in mind the next time you see us out on our bikes in traffic in the sweltering heat, the wind, or the rain and cold.  We would like to get to our destination sooner if possible.
I will say that I do agree that there are a lot of idiot "bikers" out there who do travel between the cars at ridiculous and dangerous speed, but I can assure you that they are in the minority.  Why should we all be penalized for a small group of wrong-dowers, when there is already legislation in place that can deal with them?  They can be stopped and penalized for reckless driving, as it is a crime and there is legislation to deal with it.  It then becomes a policing issue again.  There is no reason to put "blanket legislation" over all of us to restrain a minority.Besides all of the above, motorcycles take up less space on our roads, take up less parking, use less fuel, are far more environmentally friendly than cars, do less damage to the road than cars, etc. etc.  Look around you this evening and tell me how many cars do you see travelling the same route to and from work each day with only ONE person in them?  And our MEC would like to ad to this?  It sound terribly counter-productive to me. 
In conclusion, Mr. Carlisle, I really don't think that you have given this much thought at all and you seriously need to reconsider.  Secondly, how about proving us with some facts?  Of all the reported motorcycle accidents, what percentage are due to "lane-splitting?
Yours in biking... 
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Peter King
On War

There was a time when those who declared war were actually present on the battlefield.  Read more...

0 comments 154 views
Submitted by
Ohna Bouwer
Ability to fly

I do not only have the ability to fly, but also the qualifications.  Read more...

0 comments 51 views
Submitted by
John Beadon
Residence confusion

I am a seaman, so I spend a lot of time outside SA, often returning by air. I hold a British passport, and have been a Permanent Resident in SA since 1967. Read more...

0 comments 973 views
Submitted by
Vincent Phillips
EFF Threat to Occupy ABSA banking...

Okay, so now the EFF suggests introspection before ABSA takes the decision of disassociating itself with rugby and by extension, sponsorship of the Springboks.  Read more...

0 comments 339 views
Submitted by
Ian Jarvis
Not in court?

Herschelle Gibbs knew nearly a year ago he had to be in court today but obviously had more important things to do. So a day in court wasted by how many?  Read more...

0 comments 81 views
Submitted by
Kdoggy dog
Miners shot down. Are the ANC art...

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Rehad Desai and his producers for winning the Emmy awards on the documentary Miners shot down. Read more...

0 comments 365 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2015 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.