Sunday, 22 July 2012

Motorcycle filtering

My advanced driving test examiner's day job was Metropolitan Police armed response motorcycle officer and he was unimpressed by my skill at filtering - good enough to pass the test but ...

Filtering, also known as lane splitting or lane sharing, is sometimes (unfairly) seen by non-motorcyclists as "queue jumping" and "dangerous" but is regarded as a key skill by advanced riders, especially for its contributions to improved rider safety and improved traffic flow. The examiner spent some while after the test was over improving my understanding of the opportunities and tactics to be employed.

A few days later and at irregular intervals ever since, including today, I made a point of riding across  London specifically to practise and improve my filtering expertise. On my way into the city today I was a car driver who happened to be riding a motorcycle, almost no filtering at all but then the city started to work its magic, helped greatly by the regulars: pizza delivery boys, couriers, etc. After a few miles I was pretty much staying with some of them and by the time I'd clocked up around 25 miles of serious central London traffic, becoming attuned to the traffic with its sudden lane changes, taxis who own the entire road, rocketing emergency vehicles and suicidal cyclists and pedestrians, I had become that armed response officer, on my way to a 'shout'.


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