Legal lane-splitting? California moves in that direction

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After years of being a motorcycle gray area, splitting lanes might soon be regulated

For years, riding a motorcycle between two designated traffic lanes — an act commonly known as “lane-splitting” — has been a legal gray area in California. As long as you were “safe and prudent,” you wouldn’t catch a ticket from the California Highway Patrol for filtering through the sea of Los Angeles rush hour traffic. Now, in a unanimous decision by the state assembly, California is making moves to codify lane-splitting regulations, effectively making it legal.

According to the LA times, this bill is a response to the public outcry against CHiP’s prior attempt to set lane-splitting guidelines. The outcry was justified — after all, the only people who can create laws are the lawmakers. If this bill becomes a law, it shouldn’t change the average California motorcycle enthusiast’s day to day much, if at all. 

The original draft of the bill had a stipulation that motorcyclists couldn’t travel 15 mph faster than the flow of traffic, but that rule was kiboshed by motorcycle enthusiast groups. As a result, the bill has become a bare-bones guideline still based on being safe and prudent in the eyes of traffic enforcers.

Riding between cars might seem dangerous, but this University of Californiastudy shows it actually reduces the risks motorcyclists face on the road. The combination of research and an official law passing might push other states over the lane-splitting edge.

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Gutierrez surprised by Ricciardo criticisms

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Esteban Gutierrez said he was surprised that Daniel Ricciardo hit out at him for ignoring blue flags at the German Grand Prix – and has vowed to speak to the Australian about it.

Ricciardo accused Gutierrez of being the worst-behaving driver regarding blue flags, after losing time while trying to lap him at Hockenheim.

The Red Bull driver had said: “Everyone is doing an okay job and it seems like he’s doing a less good job than the others.”

Gutierrez was taken aback by what Ricciardo had said, however, as he insisted that he had been aware of the Australian and moved over for him as quickly as he could.

“Daniel was not happy? Really? Okay? I will speak to him,” explained the Haas driver. “I am surprised because I saw he was behind, of course, but he was pretty far away at that time.

“At some point I lifted and I lost about two seconds. Usually I do my best. It was not my intention to block or anything, but if he is not comfortable with it, I am going to speak to him and try to get it better because it is not my intention to do anything bad to anyone.”

Balancing act

Gutierrez also pointed out that he has often been told by his team that he is too soft on the leaders when they come through because he loses too much time.

And the Ricciardo situation was particularly difficult because they were on different tyre compounds.

“I was actually very often told by the team that I was too easy, so I said okay, I am going to try to do my best and lose the least time possible,” he said.

“It is part of the race, you are fighting, and you are doing your best. I was on supersoft tyres at that moment. He was catching me very slowly and when I saw he was one second behind or something like that, I really backed off and let him by in Turn 2.

“It is confusing but, like I said, I am going to speak to him. But you have to understand they have to put themselves into my position.

“I am doing my best and it is not that I didn’t let him by. I was just waiting for him to be a bit closer, and I lifted completely and let him by in Turn 2.”

The XR1R – it’s one hot BOTT

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This is the BOTT XR1R. Nice, isn’t it? The thought of this, some sunshine and a twisty track have got us in a right flutter.

The bike is a track version of the XR1, and while the firm have released an array of beautiful shots, they insist that this is still a work in progress. BOTT describe it as “a radical supermoto, which feels at home on twisty tracks.”

This XR1R unit is currently a Bottpower test bike, which the firm is using to test and develop new solutions for their production bikes and customer requests.

The most important differences between the XR1 and the XR1R are the titanium frame and racing electronics with an EFI Euro4 ECU that facilitates adjustable traction control, launch control, 3 different engine maps and a pitlane speed limiter.