- This topic has 12 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 5 months ago by Alex.
Tapping mirrors while lane splitting
December 7, 2009 at 6:58 am #3607
Has anyone hit a car mirror while splitting lanes? It happened to me on Friday, and I really didn’t see it coming. I like to think of myself as being pretty careful when I do it. In fact, I’ll stop if I don’t think I can make it through with room to spare.
However, on this run, I was almost to the front of a really long line when I clicked a Toyota SUV on my right. It really took me by surprise because it seemed like I had plenty of room. The driver honked right after I did it, but I was already past the car in front of them. I looked back while they were giving me the finger wave, and their mirror was pushed forward. My mirror didn’t even budge, and I didn’t have a mark on mine. It was pretty awkward, because I couldn’t really back up to see if they had any bad damage (I was about 4 cars forward at that point), but I felt bad about it and should have done something to check it out.
I watched them push their mirror back in place, and didn’t see them motioning to me anymore, so I took off as the light changed. They turned right after the intersection, but I still feel pretty bad about not making sure it was okay. Of course, now I’m even more careful when I split, but if it happens again I’m going to try to back up as best I can. That was pretty low of me not to try something more. I know I would have been pissed if I were them. I’m going to be staying well away from white Toyota SUV’s for awhile.
The only other time I did something like this was when I hit an 18-wheeler when another SUV squeezed me. My mirror got knocked out of place and I got two scratches on it that time. But this time it was the other driver that got it. Other than those two times, it’s been quite uneventful. Guess that goes to show that you can’t be too careful.December 7, 2009 at 2:38 pm #23633AParticipant
At what speed are you lane splitting?
Even though it is illegal to lane split in my state, I have always done so at speed below 25 mph when traffic is at near standstill speed. I have lane splitted passed my State Police Cruisers a few times on the busy highway that’s bumper to bumper traffic, never once they’ve turned on their lights and come after me. I’d like to think that’s be cause I lane split at speed well below speed limit and do so in a safe fashion.
At my lane splitting speed, I have never clipped any mirrors. Seems to me that once you clipped someone, you should stop or at least agknowledge the impact with the drive face to face; if not, you just might be giving motorists reasons to hate motorcyclists.December 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm #23636Gary856Participant
Lane splitting is legal in California and I do it at traffic lights (split to the front) and in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I haven’t tapped any car’s mirror yet, and like you, I’d stop and wait if I thought I’d come close to tapping a car’s mirror. Nevertheless, I agree that often the margin of error is pretty small and surprises can happen.
Tapping a car’s mirror during lane splitting would be extremely embarassing to me, because that shows a lack of control and judgment. I always imagined if I ever did that, I’d stop to give the car driver a chance to catch up, but as you pointed out, it’s hard to stop in heavy traffic. If you didn’t stop, could that be considered hit-and-run? If I was driving and a motorcyclist hits my mirror, I would expect him to at least pull over, apologize for it, and go from there.December 8, 2009 at 12:04 am #23637RabParticipant
I lane-split a good part of the way to and from work (have to to make any progress), and have been doing so for years now.
On a few occasions, I’ve knocked a car’s wing mirror and only once did any damage occur. The glass fell out of the truck’s wing mirror, but as it was a really shitty, rusty old pick-up truck, it was probably about due anyway and may well have been cracked already.
Usually, it just pushes their mirror out a little if it does anything.
Okay, so they get a bit of a fright and might have to pull their spring-loaded wing mirror back-in. BIG DEAL!
There’s every chance it wasn’t your fault anyway as they might have been slowly veering into your path (not exactly unheard of).
You’re best to ignore it and carry-on. If you go back you’ll probably get an earful or a punch in the mouth.December 8, 2009 at 12:19 am #23638SantaCruzRiderParticipant
I’ve done it a couple of times over the years. I lane share practically every commute and sometimes it gets pretty tight.
The times I’ve done it, the contact was really light but sounds like much more. One adjusted my mirror back a bit but left no mark and the second slightly tweaked the driver’s small mirror out. In the last case, I stopped, apologized and we both glanced a his mirror (both of us still in traffic at a light.) He was cool with it and I was on my way.
As a car driver, I’ve also had my mirror tapped by riders squeezing by. It always sounds like something should be smashed, but has never left a mark. None of the riders have stopped, and frankly, I wouldn’t expect anything more than a look back to be sure I wasn’t flagging them down.
Mirror tapping is a sign that you’re margin of safety has gone down to just about nothing. I try to leave at least 2″ between my mirror and any car mirror. That means we probably have closer to 8″ gap between hard parts that can be expensive and/or cause me to lose control.
As for the 18-wheeler tap — I NEVER get that close to those guys. Only time I share with them is when they are stopped (or nearly so), are on a straightaway and I’m sure they see me. Otherwise, I’m worried my mirror tap will result in tire treads on me and my gear.December 8, 2009 at 1:17 am #23639davidmdahlParticipant
How could two inches be a margin of safety? I would think that two feet would be more like it.
DavidDecember 8, 2009 at 6:46 am #23641RabParticipant
He said at least two inches, and when it’s that tight on both sides, you’d probably have stopped and evaluated the situation before proceeding (or not) through the gap; possibly power walking the bike through the gap.
The mirrors on a bike are like whiskers on a cat. If they can get through, then the rest of the bike can get through (unless you have bags/cases).December 8, 2009 at 2:17 pm #23644AParticipant
I have lane splitted with less than enough clearance between the handlebars and still have never hit a car mirror.. 2 feet of clearance on each side is like moving through regular traffic flow..December 9, 2009 at 5:45 am #23651
I don’t go over 30 mph, and now I watch mirrors very closely, so I’m probably much slower at this time. Once I don’t see any more brake lights, I will line back up. When it slows down to the point where I think I’m going to have to put my feet down, I’ll split off again.December 9, 2009 at 5:54 am #23652
When I hit the 18-wheeler, it was stopped. The SUV just started moving over while I was next to it. Not much I could do at that point except try to squeeze through as best I could. I couldn’t tell if they were doing it on purpose or not, and I didn’t want to stick around to find out. I try to stay away from those big ones as best I can, and pass them quickly when I have to.
I’ve never had my mirror tapped, but now I probably won’t hold it against them too much if it does happen. Just one of those things.December 10, 2009 at 6:35 am #23670SantaCruzRiderParticipant
Lunatics — that’s what most non-believers say about riding in general.
Don’t hate us just because we chose to ride than than duckwalk through trafficDecember 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm #23748Random101Participant
Over here we just ride the line in two-lane traffic or stick to the right (heading to the other side of the road in England, not the shoulder) and breeze on past. Cops don’t even give it a second lookJune 4, 2015 at 1:19 pm #29729AlexGuest
Bikers will just damage cars and ride on.
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