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Old 04-22-2004, 07:18 PM   #1
lost1 OP
Joined: Dec 2003
Oddometer: 57
Lane Splitting in Ontario

Ok, so I have moved to Toronto from BC and can't believe the traffic, so in my wisdom I thought that maybe there is an easier way. Remembering my good rides throughout the rest of the world I thought I would ask the police if it is ok to share lanes with other traffic. Commonly known (everywhere else) as lane splitting. I looked in the Riders Handbook and it was mentioned that they don't recommend it or something like that. I wanted to know if it was legal, so I contacted the Ontario Police Traffic Patrol by phone and was told that it was not illegal, as long as there are 2 clearly defined lanes. He also mentioned that if I caused an accident doing so, I would be held responsible.
I wanted this in writing, so I wrote to Traffic Safety Programs OPP:

I hope that this can answer your questions, for information purchase a Highway Traffic Act so you can read in detail the sections and the regulations that applies.

1. Can a Motorcycle ride between two traffic lanes?
- section 130 HTA Careless Driving, without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other drivers.
- section 154(1)(a) HTA Fail to Drive in Marked Lane. a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as may be practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety.

2- Is there a minimum space between vehicles?
-section 158(1) HTA Follow Too Closely, not follow more closely than is reasonable and prudent for having due regard for the speed of the vehicle and the traffic on and the conditions of the highway.
- Have you seen the painted chevrons on the 401 in Pickering? That is designed to give you a minimum 2 second following distance at the set speed limit.

3. Speed limit?
- section 128 HTA sets out the speed limits. driver training can tell you that a safe passing speed of another motor vehicle is about 20km/h and a parked vehicle is 40km/h.

4. Danger zones?
- section 148 HTA, numerous subsections discuss passing meeting vehicles and overtaking vehicles.
- unsafe areas, curves, uphill, railway crossing, bridges.

Another good source of info would be to go the MTO and get the new drivers hand book. The rules of the road are clearly outlined. Also try Young Drivers of Canada or any other driving school they might have more information

I hope this has been useful, any other questions please contact me.

MR J Bloggs
Traffic Safety Programs

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Old 04-23-2004, 05:27 AM   #2
Studly Adventurer
Shazam*'s Avatar
Joined: Mar 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
Oddometer: 774
I have asked a few cops, and the answer has always been no.
So I think the best you can hope for is pissed off cops.
Where do you live and where are you riding? (I assume you are talking commutes?)
I live down on King West and ride to Unionville/Markham daily for work.
Spend a lot of time on the Don Valley Parkway.
Personally, I would not trust the drivers around here enough to split.
Too many random lane changes.

p.s. What sort of bike are you on?
If life was easy, everybody would have one...
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Old 04-23-2004, 07:58 AM   #3
lost1 OP
Joined: Dec 2003
Oddometer: 57
splitting peas

Funny, I did contact the Officer Resp for Traffic safety and he clearly stated that it was not illegal. I even gave him specific examples and he said it was ok. I live downtown, but find myself on occasion on the Don Valley Parkinglot. Really, I just don't want to boilover during the summer months when I am trying to get out of this city for a ride in the country. Getting stuck in the Cottage Country traffic is painful. I have been experimenting with lane splitting downtown, and haven't been stopped yet...
I should try and get my hands on the Motor Vehicle Act or whatever that legal gibberish is.
I think the police are trying to protect us from other idiot drivers, and that is why the said no to you, as the potential for an accident or altercation (think road rage) is there.
BTW I ride a 2001 KTM Adventure 640
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:15 AM   #4
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Joined: Jan 2002
Location: Oakville, Ontario.
Oddometer: 53
When I moved to Toronto, this was the first thing I checked and the answer I got was its illegal to lane-split. I commute from Oakville to Markham twice a week - lane spliting would save me a lot of time! I believe the motorcycle riders handbook clearly states its illegal.
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Old 04-23-2004, 01:13 PM   #5
lost1 OP
Joined: Dec 2003
Oddometer: 57
Funny, I really don't remember reading anywhere in the MC handbook suggesting that Lane Splitting was illegal. I am telling you contact the OPP and lets do a survey. I need to know.

Lost 1
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Old 04-24-2004, 06:38 AM   #6
no title needed
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Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Metter, GA
Oddometer: 1,027
simple, just dont do it in front of a cop,
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Old 04-24-2004, 11:11 AM   #7
Studly Adventurer
Shazam*'s Avatar
Joined: Mar 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
Oddometer: 774
oddly, I just found a copy of the Ont Motorcycle Handbook
Page 48 goes on for some length as to why it is a bad idea.
Doesn't specifically say it is illegal, but then it doesn't specifically say running reds is illegal either.
If life was easy, everybody would have one...
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Old 04-26-2004, 10:33 PM   #8
Commuter Boy
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Burnaby, BC
Oddometer: 2,750
He said it's not illegal, because there's no one has bothered to put
a law in the book that says "motorcycles can't lane split."

This thoughful civil servant, however, has provided you with a list of
several of the many ways "the Man" can use his discretion to
charge you with.

Given that his discretion can include the fact he didn't get laid last
night or that he feels you need to be taught a lesson for your
own safety, I'd be damn careful about choosing where and when.

I've never got a ticket for lane splitting in BC, but I've got lots of
warnings. Every time, once the officer ascertained I was a
sensible sort of person, and experienced in doing it in Cali and
Europe they told me "Ok, it's not you I'm worried about, it's the
Canadian driver who either doesn't expect you there or gets
pissed and decides to take you out."
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