Scan Left-to-Right Before You Leave the Light

Safety tips for intersections.

One of the things that make the Golden State great for motorcyclists is the ability to split lanes. And one of my favorite aspects of lane splitting is filtering to the front of the line at stoplights. When the light turns green you’re the first to go, leaving that clot of cars you just squeezed past in your dust.

Even in states where late splitting isn’t legal, you will occasionally find yourself at the front of the line waiting for the light to go green. But before you drop the clutch and launch off the line it’s important to scan for cars that may be about to run the red light, because as surely as green means “go” to everyone, yellow means “floor it before it turns red!” to a lot of motorists.

That being the case, you should always glance left and then right before you holeshot into the intersection to make sure that opposing traffic is stopped. Left first since a car coming from that direction is the most immediate threat, then forward and to the right to see than no vehicles are barreling through from that side.

What do you do if you really want to minimize your risk of getting T-boned? Let a few cars run interference for you. Rather than filtering all the way to the front, leave a vehicle or two ahead of you so they roll into the intersection first.