[Elist] Fw: Life in the Fast Lane

John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 29 16:29:36 PET 2011


A collection of lane-related information 
                                             by John Del Santo 
If our bike is equipped with working electric directional signals the law requires that we use them when changing lanes. (CVC 22110).  The State handbook also suggests that during times of heavy traffic, or poor visibility, that we also  use hand signals so that cars are better able to see what our intentions are. 
SIGNAL LANE CHANGES             Before each lane change….Check your mirrors……Signal your intentions……Check your blind spot…..Make your move. 
The CA Drivers Handbook suggests that at freeway speeds we signal for at least five seconds  before a lane change. 
Traffic lanes are often referred to by number. The left, or “fast” lane is called the “Number 1 Lane”.  The lane to the right of the “number 1 lane” is called “The Number 2 Lane”  ,then the “Number 3 Lane” etc.   
If you are pulling a little camping trailer behind your motorcycle or car you now come under the same 3-axle category as a tractor trailer.  You are restricted to the two right lanes of the freeway,  restricted to 55 MPH,  and not allowed to use the HOV lane.  (P-35 CA Drivers Handbook) 
FOLLOWING DISTANCE   California Vehicle Code 21704 (a)   States that ) “ The driver of any motor vehicle that is operated outside of a business or residence district, shall keep the vehicle he is driving at a distance of not less than 300 feet to the rear of any other motor vehicle”.  That’s a space that would fit about five tractor-trailers, or is almost a football field long. 
Miles per Hour...Times 1 1/2 …Equals  Feet-Per-Second traveled. At 65 MPH  a vehicle is traveling  about 100 feet  Every Second.
 Many motorcyclists prefer traveling on the freeway in the Number 1 lane (far left).  This leaves the rider able to only worry about bad moves from the vehicle to the right,  and the vehicle behind.  Riding in the number 1 lane also leaves the shoulder on the left as an escape route to avoid dangerous moves from other drivers. 
  Unlike many other states,  If you are traveling in the left lane….the number 1 lane…and you are maintaining the the posted speed limit….There is no legal reason for you to move out of that lane unless an emergency vehicle comes up behind you showing lights and/or siren.
The California Motorcycle Handbook (p-13)  tells us “There is no “best lane position” for riders in which to be seen and to maintain a space cushion around the motorcycle.  Position yourself in the lane that allows the most visibility and space around you”. 
Generally speaking, I have been told by highway police that their attention is most drawn to vehicles that are jumping around from lane to lane, not to those that stay mostly in one lane. 
the drivers handbook suggests that at freeway speeds we signal for at least five seconds  before a lane change. 
“If you ride with others, do it in a way that promotes safety and doesn’t interfere with the flow of traffic” If the group is more than four or five riders, divide it into two or more smaller groups.  Use a staggered formation and keep a  2-second following distance from the rider directly in front of you. (P-32  CA DMV motorcycle handbook). 
When we are riding in a group on the freeway with five or ten other vehicles, WE ARE NOT AN EXCLUSIVE GROUP……..to the law and to the rest of the world, we are just ……five or ten individual vehicles.  If other vehicles want to, or need to, make a lane change into our lane,  they have every right to do so,  and we have no right to try to stop them from doing so. Even convoys of army trucks or funeral processions lose their right to exclusivity when they are on a freeway. 
No vehicle may cross double yellow lines into or out of an HOV LANE . 
  In some areas, such as near Los Angeles ,   the double-yellow lines are about 18 inches apart.   These are still  double-yellow lines which no one may cross into or out of an HOV lane……..Contrary to some popular belief,  these are NOT teeny little HOV lanes for motorcycles. 
 ONE OR TWO PERSONS ON A MOTORCYCLE OR TRIKE (3-wheeled motorcycle)   ARE ALLOWED TO USE AN HOV LANE, unless otherwise posted. (P-34  CA Drivers Handbook). 
No vehicle pulling a trailer may use an HOV Lane . 
CVC-21809.  (a) A person driving a vehicle on a freeway approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, a stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or a stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, 
shall approach with due caution and, before passing in a lane immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle, absent other direction by a peace officer, proceed to do one of the following: 
(1) Make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, if practicable and not prohibited by law. 
 (2) If the maneuver described in paragraph (1) would be unsafe or impracticable, slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions. 
CENTER LEFT-TURN LANES  A set of yellow solid lines with dotted yellow lines just inside them.  These are to be use to start or complete left turns or to start u-turns.  We may not stay in them for more than 200 feet (three tractor trailer lengths).  
DOUBLE-DOUBLE YELLOWS    SETS OF double-double yellow lines are considered a barrier or island.  We may never cross those even to get into or out of our own driveway Or to make a u-turn. 
NARROW STREETS   When riding in parts of town with small, narrow streets…..where there is not a centerline painted in the street,   A CA Driver Handbook suggests that we ride out near the middle  of the street, when no traffic is approaching us from the opposite direction.  This reduces the chances of someone in a parked car making a move that would surprise or endanger you.  Naturally, near an intersection we would be back towards the right side of the roadway. 
TURNOUT AREAS AND LANES  Special “turnout” areas are sometimes marked on two-lane roads.  Drive into these areas to allow traffic behind you to pass.  If you are driving slowly, you are required to pull in if there are five or more vehicles behind you that want to go faster.  (p-35  CA Drivers Manual). 
PEDESTRIAN SAFETY ZONE   A "safety zone" is the area or space lawfully set apart within a roadway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and which is protected, or which is marked or indicated by vertical signs, raised markers or raised buttons, in order to make such area or space plainly visible at all times while the same is set apart as a safety zone. CA Vehicle Code 540.
   CROSSING BICYCLE LANES    As long as there are no bicycles using the bicycle lane anywhere near enough you to be a hazard,  you may cross a bicycle lane to turn into or out of a driveway.  If there is a bicycle lane, and no bicycles are using it, and you plan on turning right at the next corner, you should check your mirror, signal,  check your blind spot,  and move into the bicycle lane  NO MORE THAN 200 feet from the corner (three tractor-trailer lengths)  to approach your right turn.    You may park in a bicycle lane, as long as there is no sign that proclaims “ Bike Lane  No Parking”.
Motorists Passing Bicyclists  Be patient when passing a bicyclist. Slow down and pass only when it is safe. Do not squeeze the bicyclist off the road. If road conditions and space permit, allow clearance of at least three feet when passing a bicyclist.
Would you like to check out any vehicle laws or rules ?  go to  http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/vc.htm  Ca Vehicle Code    OR    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/driver_handbook_toc.htm  CA Driver Handbook. 
                    --------------------------------------  DISCLAIMER AND WARNING :This guide is to provide accurate and authoritative information on this subject. If expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought

   John Del Santo
    ( 619 ) 223 - 0421
 At Intersections,  and 
  In Your Blind Spots,
 "Check Twice for Motorcycles".  
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