Why Lane Splitting and Filtering is a Must-Learn

Lane Splitting or filtering through traffic on a motorcycle is an insanely effective riding technique that you should learn — even if you would never normally ride that way. Here are two videos about filtering; one is sort of serious, and the other is… well, you’ll see 🙂

This first video (the sort of serious one), “How I Filter or Lane Split in London,” is by Baron Von Grumble. He is one of my favorite Moto vloggers. That is partly because he is based in London England. I lived, worked, and commuted in London for many years before moving back to Canada. I also enjoy his sense of humor. He makes me laugh.

Watch the video and you’ll get what I’m saying about lane splitting and filtering being a must-have skill. Maybe you live in a city or town where lane splitting would be completely out of place. I live in a city like that. Here in Kelowna B.C. we have no need for filtering our motorcycles in and out of traffic congestion, because our roads are free and clear (mostly).

But what I get big-time from this video is the super-awareness benefit that comes from learning to filter through traffic where appropriate. When you are in the filtering mindset/skill-set, you are super-aware of yourself, your motorcycle, the lanes and spaces around you, and the other drivers/riders on the road. You have to be. There is zero room for complacency. The zen’d out riding that is so common in smaller centers would not make the cut in London or similar cities.

So what’s my point? Well, mainly I think that a rider would be well-advised to bear these skills in mind as they do their daily ride. Employ them or not; it’s your choice, but to develop the skills to sense traffic and control your bike in extreme situations, will aid you greatly in whatever riding you do. It may even save your life.

Dirt riding will advance your road skills similar to filtering and lane splitting

I ride a Honda CRF250L, so I ride on Forest Service Roads (FSR) quite a lot. And though my city riding cannot be compared to the Baron’s riding in London, I feel there is an affinity between filtering in London traffic, and navigating the terrain on rough dirt routes. On dirt, you have to be similarly super-aware of yourself, your bike, and your surroundings. Anything less could be deadly.

Danger: that’s the prime motivator then isn’t it?. Death is a huge incentive in the city or in the wilderness. The risk of being struck by a car while lane splitting and filtering through heavy traffic in London, or being thrown off a cliff by an unseen piece of terrain on dirt is much the same. Mistakes equal injury or death in either situation. So for those of you that own dual sport bikes, dirt riding will greatly improve your road skills in a manner akin to the Baron’s London lane splitting adventures.

And now for a bit of side-splitting, lane-splitting, filtering fun

Another of my favorite vloggers is Oli333. He’s also a London rider/videographer. Here’s his comical take on filtering through London traffic: “Video for Make Hole of Small Car Through Motorcycle.” This video is priceless. Watch it! You’ll have a good laugh, and maybe you’ll spot some awesome riding skills in the process — or not.

Tell me what you think of these videos in the comments section below. Even if you feel that such risky riding techniques are just downright dangerous, do you see the advantage of having this skill regardless? And do you agree with my thought that dirt riding develops similar skills that can translate to your road riding?

Over to you now…

2 thoughts on “Why Lane Splitting and Filtering is a Must-Learn

  1. Randy Stokoe

    Lanes sharing would be a progressive step for the movement of traffic in our area. However, Kelowna seems to be more of the “see us, we’re green” mentality without actually doing something to promote a more efficient system of letting people move about. There would definitely be an adjustment period for vehicle operators to get used to the action and not become angry because someone was getting ahead of them, but if it was the law then they would have to accept it eventually. Lane sharing will grow in North America beyond California and the states that support it now, but it may take some time. Time to start a movement and do some lobbying?

    1. J. R. Post author

      Hi Randy,

      From what I’ve seen in various places, the acceptance of cutting edge (I’ll call it) driving or riding habits is born of necessity. I always felt somewhat safe in London traffic because by and large drivers are alert and quick thinking. They have to be!

      Here in Kelowna we have our months of heavier traffic during tourist season, but for the most part, it’s fairly low traffic compared to large cities like London, and so we never feel the necessity to take it to another level. The irony is, I think it is less safe on our less congested, more orderly roads. A conundrum!

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