The motorcycling community in the United States rejoices a bit every time another state legalizes lane splitting, or lane sharing, or even that wacky “shoulder surfing” you can do in Hawaii these days. Car drivers, however, are not always on board.
It’s going to take a bunch of public education to get the general driving public (especially the super ragey lot around Boston) to accept that motorcyclists’ lane splitting doesn’t have anything to do with “fair” and, in fact, eases traffic congestion on the whole as fewer cars are on the road taking up all that space they do.
Unfortunately, some drivers remain ragey and will take any opportunity to crowd a motorcycle off the road. Heck, I’ve even had a driver tell me to my face, at a party, solo cup in hand, that if he saw me lane-splitting he’d door me. What a charmer.
In this case, it is disappointing that we do not have more footage of what lead up to this particular interaction. The car was in autopilot mode and some suggest it might not have detected the upcoming rider—something the Tesla technology has been a little inconsistent with. This might have prompted the rider to reach out to the car, seemingly waving at the camera, or maybe readjusting the mirror. That the Tesla driver called this an “attack” is… something, but from my perspective, I would say that perhaps the car's side mirror was readjusted, at worst. No damage, and no one-finger salute.
Having lane-split in places where it’s legal, I’m staunchly on the pro-splitting side of things. I can imagine that it can startle car drivers and when humans are startled they sometimes get angry. I understand that some people are afraid of lane-splitting and of lane-splitters, and that’s normal, mostly because they have no exposure to it and humans tend to fear the unknown. This is why the car driver called this an “attack.”
That all said, whew, that is the wrong bike to lane-split on. Navigating the dotted line is so much easier and safer on a thin bike with a top box instead of a wide bagger. Crowding isn’t an issue when your bike can sneak through the tiniest of spaces.
Friends, don’t reach out and touch moving cars while you’re splitting. It’s super dangerous, and besides, that’s what your armored riding boots are for!
I'm kidding!! Jeez, don't kick anybody either.