California Lane-Splitting Rules Clearly Established

lanespilittingWhile California is the only state in the country that allows lane-splitting, there had not been written guidelines on how to safely execute the polarizing practice that often pits motorcycles against cars and trucks,

The California Highway Patrol and other statewide traffic safety groups have created a set of written guidelines on motorcycle “lane-splitting,” the at-times hair-splitting maneuver that allows riders to legally pass vehicles in adjacent lanes by driving between them.

The guidelines say that motorcyclists can ride between two cars if there is room, but only at speeds no more than 10 miles-per-hour faster than the vehicles they’re passing. The motorcyclists should not attempt the move at full freeway speeds or in any traffic going faster than 30 mph.

“There is a need to acknowledge lane-splitting is being done in California, and a need to help people understand what is reasonable,” California Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Pope said. “Until now, no one in authority has said how to do it safely.”

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9 Responses to “California Lane-Splitting Rules Clearly Established”


  1. 1 Ray Shaft Feb 15th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    The way it is explained, it should legal in every state.

  2. 2 domino Feb 15th, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Here are the official “guidelines”, which are not laws but “suggestions.” As we have talked about before, it is not legal to split here in Ca, but rather it is not illegal…

    http://www.chp.ca.gov/programs/lanesplitguide.html

    I am glad this is coming up out here so as to educate the many cagers who do not understand that we are not breaking the law when we split…
    p.s. I already pretty much follow the guidelines when I do split… most of the time…

  3. 3 Toby Feb 15th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Not breaking the law in CA, but when a bike gets “squeezed” between two vehicles and crashes, the rider will have little if any recourse against those drivers, and indeed he/she may be held liable for instigating the accident. And a biker can still be cited for reckless riding if the cop thinks you aren’t being reasonable.

    Lane splitting is completely inconsistent with current CA traffic laws re rights and liability. Quite a few of the biker attorneys have been warning riders about the legal consequences.

    I equate it with riding without a helmet. Personal choice, do it safely, but just make sure you have the financial resources to cover the potential consequences.

  4. 4 spaz Feb 15th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Maybe if today’s average driver didn’t suck at it so badly, bikers would be less inclined to get around your stupid ass…

  5. 5 Boomer Feb 18th, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I too would like this legal in all 50 states. Air-cooled motors don’t do well in stopped traffic.

  6. 6 Reyn Mansson Feb 18th, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I used to live in California and often split lane for 20 or 30 miles each way from Los Gatos to SF and back daily. It’s a great way to commute. Drivers in CA have learned that it’s acceptable. When I first moved there in 1980 it was less common than it is today and you got a few offended drivers that tried to squeeze you but I think that negative reaction is way less common now.

    I moved to Texas and kept doing it and around Austin and now during rush hour it’s common to see sport bikes slipping through the traffic jams on I35. About 5 years ago the legislature in TX was close to allowing it but some of the “Biker” Rights groups told the legislators that riders didn’t want it. The law required helmets to lane share and the anti-helmet folks would not budge on that and helped kill the bill. I still do it occasionally in Louisiana but anymore I seldom ride in freeway traffic anyway.

  7. 7 Chopper John Feb 18th, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I’ve been splitting lanes in Southern California forever it seems like. I’m very careful and prudent when doing so. I don’t go faster than 25 mph and when traffic moves at 35 mph or faster, I merge in with the traffic. If I’m splitting lanes and another bike comes up behind me, I temporarily merge with the traffic and let the faster bike go by. Then I resume lane splitting again.

    Ride on

  8. 8 Johnny O Feb 18th, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Yeah, thats what I want to do , maybe if I’m real lucky I ‘ll be able to do a little eaves dropping on those idiots on their cell phones.

  9. 9 Carlo Feb 19th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Good to know. Just moved to Cali and getting ready to take the written bike test. I could see them throwing in a question on something like this

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