Already I'm looking out for cars and trucks cutting me off, shortstopping, cell-talk weaving, coffee-dumping and gun-loading. Now I have to add a new peril to my commute: An SV with a Kansas plate wobbling and snorting up the imaginary lane of the freeway. The burden of my vigilance grows heavier yet.
Timmy, sorry for the bad luck, bud. And bad luck is all it is. Everybody has to learn the rhythm when they get out here, and until they do, they're living on grace. If you learn to ride it like you write it, you'll catch up.
In the meantime, get in touch with the Discovery Channel. Relate your experiences so far to pitch DC a show where a couple of cameras follow you around, interning, left-turning, gaining competence on the slabs and in the canyons, taking crap on Internet boards. Is sounds at LEAST as good as AMERICAN CHOPPER!
I agree with Try2fly. It's bad luck, mostly. However, you might be see someone splitting lanes at ungodly speeds here in LA and think that that's the way it's done, but chances are that person has done it for a long time, and has gotten used to rule number 1 of lane splitting: you MUST look way ahead to catch idiots beginning to do things that might result in a crash for you. Go slowly, especially at first! It's not so bad here, really, but you do have to ride like everyone is out to kill you (and everyone is, trust me). For example, for many LA drivers, a yellow light means: "Floor it", even from half a block away. I have been riding here for a while and I have never had a traffic accident in LA. PLenty of sphincter-clenching moments, but never down.
Timmy goes splat again, and you know you have too!
Get Timmy a sidecar! That way he won't be lane splitting anymore and if he locks up the front brake, again, it won't really matter!
Of course all the smart asses that are posting have never done anything stupid causing themselves to go splat, now have they. If anyone knows any of the above folks, PLEASE relate how they did when they first rode in the big city. That should make a good read!
BigJames, who in 34 years of riding, has crashed before and will again (and if you think you won't, just stay away from me 'cause when it happens it will be ugly!)
This one time, when I was in fifth grade, there was extra credit on the big science test. I got like 110% on the test. If anybody has any questions about anything having to do with anything science, I'm the man to ask! I am a "Science Expert". Go ahead, ask me!!! One time I also got a really good math test score, so I'm pretty much an expert there too!
Tim, just a couple of positive words to counter all of the *****-taking (not that I didn't have a chuckle when I read the story - seeing as you're OK and all). Don't fret it too much. LA is some killer traffic. I commute 30 miles each way in the SF Bay Area, lane splitting the whole way, and I'm a very comfortable and confident rider. On a trip through the LA basin over the weekend, on my way home from San Diego, I had 4 separate cars try to move into my lane on me without looking, signaling, or otherwise telegraphing the move. I was ready for it, and came out unscathed, but it made it clear that LA drivers are unf*cking believably bad drivers. 3 of the 4 culprits were on cellphones, of course.
Getting back to my point... You've been thrown in at the deep end, lad, and don't forget it. Take it easy and work your way into more aggressive riding on the freeways and streets of LA slowly. You'll only need a couple of weeks, but until then, I'd suggest you only lane split in stopped or barely moving traffic, and keep your speeds low to begin with and increase them gradually. As you get used to the mayhem, it will be harder and harder for things to surprise you.
One last thing, and this one bites a lot of newbies, I suspect. You are far safer lanesplitting BETWEEN two cars than you are with an empty space on one side. No one in CA signals a move into an empty spot in traffic, since anyone who did would immediately suffer the loss of the spot as the driver behind speeds up to fill it. Practiced drivers make a point of not telegraphing their moves, watching the gap move into position next to them in a mirror before slamming the wheel to the side and gunning it. Slow down and cover your brake whenever you are lanesplittting past a gap. In fact, I prefer to use a throttle rocker type device (plastic doohickey that lets you activate the throttle with the base of your hand) in order to allow me to keep the brake covered at all times.
On a trip through the LA basin over the weekend, on my way home from San Diego, I had 4 separate cars try to move into my lane on me without looking, signaling, or otherwise telegraphing the move.
This is SOP in LA traffic. I haul a boat through LA a couple of times a year, and I've had LA "drivers" try to merge _between_ my truck and my boat! If they can't recognize that a 20-foot-long, brightly-colored boat on a trailer is attached to the truck ahead of it, what are the odds of them even recognizing the existence of a motorcycle?
And for a real challenge, try to maintain a safe following distance on an LA freeway, while still traveling somewhere near the average traffic speed. Angelenos fill the gaps so fast it'll make your head spin.
Poor Timmy. A boy from Kansas hasn't got a chance. He ought to come and train in San Diego for a year or so before he tackles LA.
I absolutely agree. Any empty space on a freeway is an invitation for someone to switch lanes and fill it. I get more nervous when I see some empty space than if I have to go between two cars, since my experience is that there is a better chance for the cars to recognize that the lane next to them is taken. In defense of the drivers, I must say that when a bike is lanesplitting it comes by quite quickly. Unless you are constantly checking your side mirror for bikers, you will not see them. I check, BTW, when I am in cage, but most drivers are totally unaware of bikes.
Two accidents in a few days...one from racing the green without looking for cagers running a red, and now one from overcooking the front brake while lanesplitting.
It's got nothing to do with bad luck or riding in LA...it's got everything to do with being careless and clueless.
Sorry Timmy, but stupid is as stupid does.
A bunch of well-meaning people above have told you that you're good enough, you're smart enough and doggonit, people like you. But the truth is that you obviously don't have the necessary coordination/reaction time/situational awareness to ride a motorbike. You're in over your head just sitting on the seat.
Forget about getting back on the horse; stay off and sell the horse. Some people aren't meant to ride motorbikes, no matter how much they want to.
Yeah Betamax, you, on the other hand, showed perfect skill and coordination the first time you set @$$ upon a motorcycle. Not to mention your completely crash-free, mistake-free motorcycling history. Oh and did I mention your five MotoGP World Championships?????