I was just in Australia (Sydney) for new year - lots of bikes about, lots of bike parking spaces (are you listening San Francisco?) but for some reason almost nobody was wearing gloves when riding (except for a couple of guys who had opted for shorts, T-shirt and gloves - bizarre).
Australia tends to have a much more of a "nanny government" than the US is used too - lots of safety regulations (eg can't get take out food unless the restaurant has a take out license). The lane splitting thing sounds like another government knows better idea - hopefully it won't pass.
My understanding of California law relative to lane splitting is that the law is "silent" on ths issue, but motorcycle operator manuals mention lane splitting with the admonition that it is not a recommended practice.
I've done it for thousands of miles and never been pulled over. The MSF also teaches you to put the bike upright and go straight if you're in a turn too hot, and to not cover your front brake lever while riding.
The day I can't lane split is the day I quit riding on the street!
I got pulled over two days ago down here in Huntington Beach. Not for lane splitting(which I was doing) or for speeding(which everyone else was doing as well), but for having a modulating headlight, which according to the AMA website, is legal in CA.
Hmmm...I'm a NYC-boy soon moving down to Charlotte, NC. I've lived in Manhattan for 6-1/2 years and have ridden in the metro NYC area for almost 11. I've lane-split through most of this time and certaintly while I lived in the city and I've never had an incident like you described (I have to admidt I feel like knocking on wood when I say this). The most was maybe a comment here and there. I wonder if people in Charlotte would react in the way you describe? Unfortunately, my instinct leans toward yes. Maybe because they are not used to it, that sort of thing. It's stupid of course- some kind of wierd territorial thing (kind of mean like you said). I'm going to have a hard time not doing it when/if traffic is heavy (the only time I basically do it here). Anyone from the area who can enlighten?